5 candidates who could lead the Bengals in rushing yards in 2023

  • Could a newcomer lead the Bengals in rushing yards?
  • Will Joe Mixon be the leading rusher?
  • Could rookie Chase Brown hold the title by the end of the season?
Cincinnati Bengals v Detroit Lions
Cincinnati Bengals v Detroit Lions / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages
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Running backs are a hot-button subject in the NFL these days. That issue landed on the doorstep of the Cincinnati Bengals this offseason. The team lost a critical contributor at the position, retained a free agent, selected a running back in the draft, and asked the star running back to restructure his contract. 

Now that the running back room is closed, for the moment, we can turn our focus to the field. The Bengals have a lot of talent at the position. We know what Joe Mixon brings to the table. How things will play out behind him remains a mystery.

Predicting who will lead the team in rushing should be an easy task. But as the French would say, “Nothing is guaranteed.” Or something like that.

There are young and hungry players on Cincinnati’s roster who are looking forward to making their mark on the offense and would love to put themselves in a position to dethrone the rushing king of the jungle.

While we have a strong suspicion about who will lead the team in rushing, there are scenarios where that could change. So just in case anything is possible, here are five candidates who could lead the Bengals in rushing yards in 2023. 

5. Stranger Danger

There are running backs on the outside looking in at teams to see what situation is best for them, waiting for the best contract or situation before deciding where to sign.

The Bengals appear to be happy with their running back room thus far. However, if that were to change for any reason before the regular season starts, there is the possibility that the team’s rushing leader is not yet on the roster. 

If catastrophic events occur during the preseason, the Bengals could look for outside help. There are several accomplished free-agent running backs who are looking for a favorable landing spot. 

When Dalvin Cook signs with a team, it will be a big deal, figuratively and literally. It may be too big for the Bengals, who recently restructured Joe Mixon’s contract. But if the team were put in a position where signing Cook could salvage their season, they could approach him with a significant one-year offer. 

Other free-agent running backs with success in the past are Kareem Hunt, Leonard Fournette, and Ezekiel Elliott. J.D. McKissic and Darrell Henderson are other veteran backs who could add value to a team in the right situation.  

Those running backs remain unsigned today, but they are making their rounds, meeting with teams. 

While none of these names inspire Bengals fans today, we do not know what the roster will look like after the preseason games end. We also don’t exactly know how good the coaches feel about their backups if the staff has to count on one of them to be the main guy for an extended period. 

So while this is the most unlikely and most undesirable scenario, there exists a possibility, albeit minuscule, that the leading rusher for this season is not yet on the roster.