The running back position has become a rare commodity in the NFL in recent years. All the big-name backs like Ezekiel Elliott and David Johnson are wrapped up by multi-year deals. But, there are some hidden gems in free agency that could boost team's backfields. Here are five running back free agents flying under the radar this offseason.
5. Tim Hightower
Tim Hightower proved he's still got it at 31. He had a renaissance season with the Saints, rushing for 548 yards and four touchdowns. The running back also added 200 yards and a touchdown through the air. This is impressive, considering Hightower was the second option behind Mark Ingram in New Orleans's high-powered offense. Teams in the market for a veteran presence in the backfield, who can handle a heavy workload, should give Hightower a look.
4. DeAngelo Williams
With $2 million in the bank in 2016, DeAngelo Williams is making a very nice living as Le'Veon Bell's backup. But as Williams hits the free agency market, Pittsburgh also needs all the salary cap space they can muster to re-sign Bell. If that hinders the Steelers from bringing Williams back, then other teams should certainly give him a look. The 34-year-old veteran excelled in the starting role, rushing for 343 yards and four touchdowns while Bell was sidelined during the year with an injury.
3. Knile Davis
Knile Davis just needs a chance! The longtime backup in Kansas City has shown flashes of greatness in his four years there, notably while filling in for the oft-injured Jamaal Charles. Davis's stats are not jaw-dropping, just 800 rushing yards and 11 running touchdowns over four seasons. Overall, Davis has high reward because he's only 25 and can be signed to a cheap, short-term deal.
2. Darren McFadden
Darren McFadden is the classic example of a huge talent, whose potential has been limited by injury throughout his career. He's missed 41 games over nine seasons in the NFL. The 29-year-old speedster showcased what he could do while healthy in 2015 when he rushed for 1,089 yards and three touchdowns. If teams are willing to take the gamble, McFadden could pay off big.
1. Danny Woodhead
Danny Woodhead might be the scrappiest back in the NFL. At 5-foot-9, 200 pounds, the speedster wreaks havoc on screen passes and occasionally in the slot. Teams looking into him will need to be cautious of his recovery from a torn ACL, which caused the Chargers to lose him for the 2016 season. Assuming he'll be healthy, Woodhead could make an immediate impact in any backfield with his workhorse mentality and quickness.
There are tons of great backs available for teams to take a look at. However, the five listed above could come in right away and really help a competitor out. Where will they end up next season? We could find out soon.