Of all the running backs in the NFC South, my favorite to watch by far is Devonta Freeman. I’m a bit biased perhaps after watching all of Freeman’s collegiate career at Florida State, but he is a genuinely good kid and also a fantastic runner of the football.
Much like the Saints, the Atlanta Falcons have managed to supply their quarterback with a pair of dynamic running backs. Though they don’t complement each other’s skillsets the way Kamara and Ingram do, the pair of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman is a weekly threat to punish your defense.
After a quiet rookie season, Freeman became the foundation of the Falcon running game in 2015. He delivered 1056 rushing yards, eleven touchdowns, and 73 catches, establishing himself as one of the premier dual-threat running backs in the league. Freeman’s natural hands, ability to run multiple routes, and absurd acceleration make him a truly lethal receiving threat for the Falcons, and his development is what the Saints hope to get from Alvin Kamara.
Despite his smallish stature – 5’9, 209 lbs. – Freeman has a knack for finding the end zone. Over his last three seasons he’s scored an astounding 35 total touchdowns on the ground and through the air.
The second aspect of the Atlanta backfield is not too unlike the first.
Tevin Coleman is a bit leaner than Freeman, but the two of them share many qualities as players. Both can start and stop quickly, and both have that special propensity to make explosive plays. If the Saints are “thunder and lightning”, the Falcons are “lightning and lightning”. This keeps defenses from getting any type of break – even when Freeman gets some rest, the defense is still forced to chase down another uber-athletic player. Coleman’s statistics aren’t particularly impressive – just 628 yards rushing last season – but he’s an impact player regardless.