How Much Do NFL Running Backs Weigh?

The average NFL running back weighs 215 lbs. The average NFL running back is 6 ft 0.

Running backs tend to be lean and muscular but are not as heavy or tall as other NFL positions. Running backs have similar frames to NFL safeties. 

Why Are NFL Running Backs Lighter Than Other NFL Positions?

The average NFL player is 6 ft 3 and weighs 245 pounds. While the average NFL running back is 6 ft 0 and weighs 215 pounds.

NFL running backs are much lighter than the average NFL weight because their position prioritizes speed and explosiveness. The main role of an NFL running back is to take the ball from the quarterback and sprint down the field and dart around tacklers.

However, to handle the contact and bump off tacklers running backs also have to be heavily muscle bound. The result is the perfect NFL running back looks like a bulked up sprinter.

The ideal NFL running should also not be too tall. The taller a player is, the less mobile they are. Players that are 6 ft 6 tend to be slower than shorter players in terms of straight line speed and making cuts. 6 ft 0 appears to be the perfect height for a NFL running back where they are extremely fast and mobile but at the same time big enough to deal with giant linebackers and linemen tackling them.

Average Weight of NFL Players Based on Position

The heaviest players in the NFL are unsurprisingly offensive linemen (314 pounds), linebackers (245 pounds) are right around the NFL average and running backs are slightly below (214 pounds)

NFL lbs
Offensive Line 314
Linebacker 245
Quarterback 225
Running Back 214
Wide Receiver 200
Defensive Back 200

Are NFL Running Backs Bigger Than College Football Running Backs?

NFL running backs are on average 10 to 15 pounds heavier than college running backs (214 vs 202 pounds). NFL running backs are slightly taller and more muscular.

The average college running back is 5 ft 10 while the average NFL running back is 6 ft 0. Once college running backs get to the NFL they are put through a rigorous strength and conditioning program and often put on some considerable muscle mass.

Another reason why NFL running backs are a little bigger than college football running backs is because the NFL only selects the most elite college players. NFL players tend to be genetic freaks and much closer to the optimum physique than college players.

Are Running Backs Bigger Than The Average American Man?

Surprisingly the average American male weighs 196 lbs which is less than 20 pounds lighter than the average NFL running back (214 pounds). However, the average American man is 5 ft 9 while the average running back is 6 ft 0.

NFL running backs are much leaner, taller and far more muscular than the average American man. The average NFL running back is ripped at 12% body fat with an FFMI of 25. While the average American man has a body fat percentage of 30 with limited muscle mass.

To achieve the same FFMI as a NFL running back the average American man would have to weigh 195 pounds at a body fat percentage of 12 rather than 30! 

Are NFL Running Backs Getting Bigger?

NFL running backs are significantly more muscular and heavier than in the past. The average NFL running back in the 1960s and 1970s weighed 200 pounds while the current average is 214 pounds.

There has been a trend in the NFL for small and compact running backs such as Maurice Jones-Drew who is 5 ft 7 and weighs 207 pounds. At the same time massive bruiser running backs are also popular such as Brandon Jacobs who is 6 ft 4 and weighs 264 pounds.

NFL running backs have added a lot of bulk to their frame but at the end of the day coaches are looking for players that can consistently gain yards. There are NFL running backs with a variety of physiques but the ideal range appears to be between 5 ft 9 and 6 ft 1 and 200 to 240 pounds. The best current running back in the NFL, Jonathan Taylor has the ideal frame at 5 ft 10 and 226 pounds.

Wrapping Things Up

The average NFL running back stands at 6 ft 0 and weighs 214 pounds. NFL running backs are known for their powerful muscular builds and their lightning quick speed and ridiculous explosiveness. Despite the averages NFL running backs come in all different shapes and sizes. Maurice Jones-Drew is 5 ft 7 and Brandon Jacobs is 6 ft 4. One thing all NFL running backs have in common is they are fast!


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