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ESPN: Jeremy Hill ranked 5th-best RB in the NFL

ESPN ranked the top running backs in the NFL heading into 2015 and Jeremy Hill made a surprising entry in the top-five.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

NFL players and position groups are being ranked and re-ranked as the offseason months drag on. We've already seen rankings ranging from entire defensive units to specialists to traditional position rankings.

This week, ESPN's Field Yates ranked the top running backs in the NFL and despite listing Adrian Peterson as No. 1 (which shouldn't be a surprise), Bengals running back Jeremy Hill was ranked fifth-best.

Perhaps a surprising name this high on the list, but consider this: From Nov. 1 through the end of the 2014 regular season, no back accumulated more yards on the ground than Hill. He scorched opposing defenses during the season's final eight weeks, posting 929 yards (105 more than any other player) and 5.4 per carry (also the highest during that stretch). That included three runs of at least 60 yards. He's 22, close to 240 pounds and just scratching the surface.

Hill, who compiled four games of 140 yards rushing or more, led the Bengals in yards rushing (1,124), yards from scrimmage (1,339) and touchdowns (9). The second-year player joined Paul Robinson as the only Bengals players to record multiple 150-yard rushing performances as a rookies, and Hill also is the first Bengals rookie to reach 1,000 yards rushing since Corey Dillon.

ESPN's ranking goes:

  1. Adrian Peterson
  2. Le'Veon Bell
  3. Eddie Lacy
  4. Jamaal Charles
  5. Jeremy Hill
  6. Marshawn Lynch
  7. Todd Gurley
  8. DeMarco Murray
  9. LeSean McCoy
  10. Matt Forte