Is Zach Zenner Actually The NFL’s Best White Runner?

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Michael Bennett had some thoughts on Lions players and the importance of a home playoff game as he talked to the press before this Saturday’s playoff game.

On Golden Tate:

“He got the weirdest-looking body, but he can always make plays. I always think he looks like a bird. I can never understand how that body does what it does.”

On Home-Field Advantage:

“I think being at home is always good. Traveling in the NFL sucks because a lot of times you stay in cheap hotels, which I don’t understand because the NFL makes so much money and the accommodations are terrible.”

On Zach Zenner:

“There’s not many white running backs in the NFL, but he has to be the best right now. He’s doing such a great job of cutbacks and hitting the hole. He’s a really good back.”

Known for being outspoken, Bennett’s personality really hit the mainstream when ESPN published a tell-all of sorts with the Bennett brothers, Michael and Martellus. However, this isn’t the first time Bennett has said something a little bizarre about Lions players.

In case you don’t remember, after the Lions lost to Seattle last year, (on some bulls—, if I may add), Bennett said he didn’t like Matthew Stafford. The reason? He’s from Dallas, and that’s where JFK died. Seriously.

So, to the real debate at hand here –  is Zach Zenner the best white running back in the NFL?

According to my research, there are four active white running backs in the NFL. There are a lot of white full backs, but they don’t count. The four are:

  1. Chase Reynolds, LA Rams
  2. Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers
  3. Rex Burkhead, Cincinatti Bengals
  4. Zach Zenner, Detroit Lions
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So, we start with Mr. Reynolds. In four career seasons, all with the Rams, he has one reception for four yards. That catch came this season in week 17 against the Arizona Cardinals. At least he’s improving.

Now to look at Danny Woodhead. If this was 2015, he’d clearly be better than Zenner. Woodhead was quietly a very good player last year, amassing 1,091 total yards. Unfortunately, Woodhead tore his ACL in week three, and his season ended. Danny Woodhead is the best white running back in the NFL, but Bennett’s quote says “the best right now”, so Woodhead can’t quite compete.

This brings us to Zenner’s best competition, Rex Burkhead. The Kentucky native and former Cornhusker is in a situation in Cincy much like Zenner’s in Detroit. He’s the #3 runner behind two talented guys; Jeremy Hill and Giovanni Bernard. Unlike Abdullah and Riddick, those two stayed healthy the majority of the season and Burkhead didn’t get many touches because of it. More than 50% of Burkheads rushing attempts came in week 17, when the Bengals were beyond mathematically eliminated.

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Congratulations Zach, you are in fact the best white running back in the NFL. Enjoy it while it lasts, because following the 2017 draft this award will likely be Christian McCaffrey’s next year, and for many years after that!

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About the Author

Chris
Chris is the founder of everything you see here. A former radio presenter and Detroit native, he now resides in sunny California – and like so many of us, he found himself marooned on an island devoid of other Lions fans. After spending a few years in the Detroit Lions Reddit community he decided to start the Detroit Lions Podcast. Its become the #1 Detroit Lions podcast, and regularly ranks with the top podcasts in Detroit. With a mixture of pre-recorded shows, live & recorded phone-ins, and live post-game broadcasts - this is his slice of Honolulu Blue heaven.