I have long been of the belief that when a rookie running back comes out and shreds it in his first game, that means he’s going to be good. I remember seeing it way back when with guys like Earl Campbell, Ottis Anderson, Billy Sims and Curt Warner. With running backs, if they can do it, it’s often apparent in that very first game.

So count me among those on board with Leonard Fournette, Kareem Hunt and Dalvin Cook. They will make their mark on the NFL landscape.

Fournette is slightly different than the other two, in that he’s coming in with huge expectations. He was a No. 4 overall pick – expected to be a difference maker. The others were chosen in the second and third rounds, where there’s more a hope of good play. That’s the difference with being a top-10 pick.

So far, so good.

In the last 25 years, 25 running backs have been chosen with top-10 picks. Of the ones that ran for 100-plus yards in their first game, all but one went on to put together Hall of Fame type careers – Marshall Faulk, Edgerrin James, LaDainian Tomlinson and Adrian Peterson all were megastars. Only expectation in the group is Cadillac Williams, who had a brilliant opener in his debut at the Metrodome but was never quite the same after a knee injury.

1993Garrison Hearst, Ariz.at Phi.3030
1993Jerome Bettis, Ramsat G.B.246300
1994Marshall Faulk, Ind.Hou.143311743
1995Ki-Jana Carter, Cin.*at St.L.1422360
1996Lawrence Phillips, St.L.Cin.460462
1996Tim Biakabutuka, Car.Atl.690690
1998Curtis Enis, Chi.Jac.777840
1998Fred Taylor, Jac.at Chi.2020
1999Edgerrin James, Ind.Buff.112141261
1999Ricky Williams, N.O.Car.400400
2000Jamal Lewis, Balt.at Pit.160160
2000Thomas Jones, Ariz.at NYG1618340
2001LaDainian Tomlinson, S.D.Wash.113121252
2005Ronnie Brown, Mia.Den.574610
2005Cedric Benson, Chi.at Was.100100
2005Cadillac Williams, T.B.at Min.14801481
2006Reggie Bush, N.O.at Cle.67521190
2007Adrian Peterson, Minn.Atl.103601631
2008Darren McFadden, Oak.Den.4611570
2010C.J. Spiller, Buff.Mia.68140
2012Trent Richardson, Clev.Phil.395440
2015Todd Gurley, St.L.Pitt.95140
2016Ezekiel Elliott, Dall.NYG511521
2017Leonard Fournette, Jac.at Hou.100241241
2017Christian McCaffrey, Car.at S.F.4738850

—Ian Allan