Edge

With all the Edge nostalgia flowing in the comments of the last story I think it's time to look at his place in history.

Edgerrin James burst onto the stage leading the league in rushing and topping 2,000 yards from scrimmage in both of his first two seasons in the NFL. Those high totals came at a high cost when in his third season Edge buckled under the punishment of over 950 carries in 2 1/2 years.

He was never the same explosive back after the knee injury, but his great blocking and receiving skills along with a pounding running style allowed him to remain elite. Even after leaving Indy Edge continued to turn out 1,100+ yard seasons on the ground and contribute in the passing game.

 

Edge is the active leader in both rushing yards and yards from scrimmage. I'll use his average in two seasons with the Cardinals to estimate how fast he moves up. The Cardinals might get better, helping James, but Edge's skills will start to decline soon if they haven't started to already.

Rank/Player/Career Rushing Yards/Lead/Years to pass

1.

Emmitt Smith 18,355       6748       6
2. Walter Payton 16,726  5119  5
3. Barry Sanders+ 15,269 3662 4
4. Curtis Martin 14,101 2494 3
5. Jerome Bettis 13,662 2055 2
6. Eric Dickerson+ 13,259 1652 2
7. Tony Dorsett+ 12,739 1132 1
8. Jim Brown+ 12,312 705 1
9. Marshall Faulk 12,279 672 1
10. Marcus Allen+ 12,243 636 1
11. Franco Harris+ 12,120 513 1
12. Thurman Thomas+ 12,074 467 1
13. Edgerrin James (29) 11,607 -----
14. John Riggins+ 11,352

15. Corey Dillon 11,241

16. O.J. Simpson+ 11,236

17. Fred Taylor (31) 10,715 -892
N/A
18. LaDainian Tomlinson (28) 10,650  -957 -3
19. Ricky Watters 10,643

20. Tiki Barber 10,449

(Stats from and Tables modified from Pro Football Reference)

Rank/Player/Yards from scrimmage/Lead/Years to pass

1.

Jerry Rice 23,540  8673 7
2. Emmitt Smith 21,579 6712 5
3. Walter Payton+ 21,264 6397 5
4. Marshall Faulk 19,154

 4287

3
5. Barry Sanders+ 18,190 3323 3
6. Marcus Allen+ 17,654 2787 2
7. Curtis Martin 17,430 2563 2
8. Thurman Thomas+ 16,532 1665 2
9. Tony Dorsett+ 16,293 1426 2
10. Tiki Barber 15,632 765 1
11. Eric Dickerson+ 15,396 529 1
12. Tim Brown 15,124 257 1
13. Jerome Bettis 15,111 244 1
14. Ricky Watters 14,891 24 1
15. Edgerrin James (29) 14,867 ----- ----
16. Jim Brown+ 14,811

17. Franco Harris+ 14,407

18. Isaac Bruce (35) 14,259 -608 N/A
19. James Lofton+ 14,250

20. Warrick Dunn (32) 14,190 -677 N/A
21. LaDainian Tomlinson (28) 14,025 -842 -2
22. Marvin Harrison (35) 13,972 -895 N/A

Edge is currently 4th among active players in rushing touchdowns.

Rank/Player/Rushing Touchdowns/Lead/Years to pass

1 Emmitt Smith 164 87 14
2 Marcus Allen 123 46 7
3 LaDainian Tomlinson(28) 115 38 6+
4 Walter Payton 110 33 6
5

Jim Brown

106 29 5
6 John Riggins 104 27 5
7 Shaun Alexander(30) 100 23 4+
Marshall Faulk 100 23 4
9 Barry Sanders 99 22 4
10 Jerome Bettis 91 14 3
Franco Harris 91 14 3
12 Eric Dickerson 90 13 2
Curtis Martin 90 13 2
14 Priest Holmes 86 9 2
15 Jim Taylor 83 6 1
16 Corey Dillon 82 5 1
17 Ottis Anderson 81 4 1
18 Ricky Watters 78 1 1
19 Tony Dorsett 77 0 1
Edgerrin James 77 --- --

Edge is currently 13th in rushing yards, 15th in rushing plus receiving and 19th in TDs. He is 7th in the history of the league in rushing yards per game and despite having the most carries of any active player, Edge ranks 19th among active players in fumbles.

Just continuing the level of production he's had while with Cardinals for another 2 years will put him in or just outside the top 5 in both yardages and top 10 in TDs. James has surpassed the career production of multiple HOF backs before his 30th birthday. His continued production after leaving Indy proves he was more than just a production of the talent around him. Edgerrin is a Hall of Fame back and one of the best ever to play in Indy.

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