The Duel

5 Best NFL Running Backs to Ever Come Out of LSU

By David Hayes
Joseph Addai played running back for the LSU Tigers from 2001-05.
Joseph Addai played running back for the LSU Tigers from 2001-05. / Jim Rogash/Getty Images
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The LSU Tigers are one of the nation's blue-blood college football programs, playing in the toughest conference in the country. For decades on end, they have sent some outstanding players to the NFL year in and year out.

To have that top of success, you must have great players. LSU has seen some of the nation's best running backs come through Baton Rouge. Keeping in mind the following are ranked based on achievement at the professional level, let's take a look at five of the best LSU RBs to play in the NFL.

5. Dalton Hilliard (1986-93)

Dalton Hilliard is a Louisiana great through and through, playing his entire NFL career for the New Orleans Saints after his time in Baton Rouge. He is a member of the New Orleans and Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, with one Pro Bowl appearance (1989) and one Second-team All-Pro (1989) recognition. Hilliard's 6,397 yards from scrimmage rank eighth all-time among former LSU players and he is also tied with Joseph Addai for the third-most rushing touchdowns among all former LSU running backs, with 39.

4. Joseph Addai (2006-11)

The fourth and fifth spots on this list came with a tough decision, but Joseph Addai ultimately got the nod thanks to his Super Bowl XLI ring and slight edge over Hilliard in NFL career yards per carry (4.07). While Addai rushed for more than 1,000 yards only twice in his brief, six-season NFL tenure, he was a key part of the Colts' 2006-07 Super Bowl champion team, leading the entire roster in rushing yards as a rookie that season. Addai would go on to make the Pro Bowl in 2007, and finished his NFL career with the third-most rushing yards among all former LSU players.

3. Kevin Faulk (1999-2011)

Kevin Faulk played running back for the LSU Tigers from 1995-98.
Kevin Faulk played running back for the LSU Tigers from 1995-98. / Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Even though Kevin Faulk doesn't outrank either Addai or Hilliard in total NFL rushing yards, his 7,308 yards from scrimmage are the fourth-most by any former Tiger in NFL history. Faulk really made his mark as a pass-catch back, and his 431 receptions are the most by any LSU RB and the sixth-most among all LSU players. Faulk is also the second-most decorated name on this list when it comes to championship pedigree, winning three Super Bowls (2001, 2002-03) during his impressively lengthy 13-season NFL career. Faulk is a member of both the Louisiana and New England Patriots Hall of Fame.

2. Jim Taylor (1958-67)

Jim Taylor leads all former LSU players in both career yards from scrimmage (10,353) and rushing yards (8,597) by quite the margin too. He was certainly no stranger to winning either, with one Super Bowl (1967) and four NFL Championships to his name. As for his personal achievements, he was a five-time Pro Bowler (196-064), three-time First-team All-Pro (1960-62), three-time Second-team All-Pro (1963-64, 1966), NFL MVP (1962), NFL rushing yards leader (1962), two-time NFL rushing TDs leader (1961-62) and a member of the NFL 1960s All-Decade Team, and both the Green Bay Packers and Pro Hall of Fame.

1. Steve Van Buren (1944-51)

Choosing between Taylor and Steve Van Buren is practically the definition of a toss-up here, but we're giving Van Buren the nod thanks to all-time NFL recognition and efficiency. Van Buren played only seven NFL seasons, but finished them as a two-time NFL Champion (1948-49), six-time First-team All-Pro (1944-49), Second-team All-Pro (1950), four-time NFL rushing yards leader (1945, 1947-49), four-time NFL rushing TDs leader (1945, 1947-49). By now you've probably also guessed that, yes, he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but he is also a member of the two NFL Anniversary All-Time Teams (75th, 100th) and the 1940s NFL All-Decade Team.


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David Hayes is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, David Hayes also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username DavidWHayes. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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