Value of Running Backs...Reviewing The Stats

tynimiller

Cheesehead
Joined
May 2, 2012
Messages
13,910
Reaction score
4,865
So the discussions of Dillon, Jonathan Taylor and even how we see Zeke's move and others....how easy has it really been the last three years to find a RB2 if not RB1 later in the draft? Here is a list below of guys that essentially have averaged 500 yards on the ground since being drafted (this year does factor into this a touch but go with me).

2023 - no way of knowing for sure but Achane (3rd round) and Roschon Johnson (4th) both appear to likely do it while Tyjae Spears (3rd) may as well.

2022 Draft Class
5th Tyler Allgeier - 1170 total yards
4th Dameon Pierce - 1039
3rd Brian Robinson Jr - 1013
7th Isiah Pacheco - 985
3rd Rachaad White - 631

2021 Draft Class (divide by two for rough average)
4th Rhamondre Stevenson - 1780
6th Elijah Mitchell - 1294
6th Khalil Herbert - 1257
4th Chuba Hubbard - 1156
4th Michael Carter - 1055

2020 Draft Class (divide by three for rough avg)
3rd Antonio Gibson - 2413
3rd Zack Moss - 1492 (misses by slimmest margins but left in)

2019 Draft Class ( / by 4 for rough avg)
3rd David Montgomery - 3750
3rd Devin Singletary - 3221
4th Tony Pollard - 2880
3rd Damien Harris - 2145
3rd Alexander Mattison - 1825 (barely misses)

Here is a list from the Top 30 yard getters last year in the 2022 NFL Season here are some 3rd round or later guys on the list that aren't also above:

4th Jamaal Williams - 1066 yards
UDFA - Austin Ekeler - 915 yards (722 receiving)
3rd D'Onta Foreman - 914 yards
UDFA Jeff Wilson - 860 yards
UDFA Raheem Mostert - 891 yards (200 yards receiving)
3rd James Conner - 782 yards (300 yards receiving)
5th Aaron Jones - 1121 yards (395 yards receiving)
3rd Alvin Kamara - 897 (490 yards receiving)



All that is merely to illustrate how low positional value there is with running backs drafted...end of Day 2 and into Day 3 LOTS of good backs have come out. So when folks ask me sometimes why I don't advocate for RBs early...there is no other skill position in my opinion that you can literally find starters on Day 3 every year of the draft IMO.
 

El Guapo

Cheesehead
Joined
Dec 7, 2011
Messages
6,145
Reaction score
1,606
Location
Land 'O Lakes
Good analysis as usual. IMO it's a simple conclusion. Being a QB and creating an effective passing offense is really hard to do in most high schools. Therefore running the ball dominates. In college it starts to even out a bit but you still have many schools where running the ball truly is the main offensive component. Then when you get to the pros, the elite QBs and WRs are highly sought and you have all of these RBs that were great but of little use in a league where the best QBs are just so much more important to an offense than running the ball.

The numbers above tell the story. Most teams should be able to have an effective one-two punch at RB without wasting draft picks at unreasonably high positions.
 
Joined
Aug 16, 2014
Messages
14,305
Reaction score
5,691
So the discussions of Dillon, Jonathan Taylor and even how we see Zeke's move and others....how easy has it really been the last three years to find a RB2 if not RB1 later in the draft? Here is a list below of guys that essentially have averaged 500 yards on the ground since being drafted (this year does factor into this a touch but go with me).

2023 - no way of knowing for sure but Achane (3rd round) and Roschon Johnson (4th) both appear to likely do it while Tyjae Spears (3rd) may as well.

2022 Draft Class
5th Tyler Allgeier - 1170 total yards
4th Dameon Pierce - 1039
3rd Brian Robinson Jr - 1013
7th Isiah Pacheco - 985
3rd Rachaad White - 631

2021 Draft Class (divide by two for rough average)
4th Rhamondre Stevenson - 1780
6th Elijah Mitchell - 1294
6th Khalil Herbert - 1257
4th Chuba Hubbard - 1156
4th Michael Carter - 1055

2020 Draft Class (divide by three for rough avg)
3rd Antonio Gibson - 2413
3rd Zack Moss - 1492 (misses by slimmest margins but left in)

2019 Draft Class ( / by 4 for rough avg)
3rd David Montgomery - 3750
3rd Devin Singletary - 3221
4th Tony Pollard - 2880
3rd Damien Harris - 2145
3rd Alexander Mattison - 1825 (barely misses)

Here is a list from the Top 30 yard getters last year in the 2022 NFL Season here are some 3rd round or later guys on the list that aren't also above:

4th Jamaal Williams - 1066 yards
UDFA - Austin Ekeler - 915 yards (722 receiving)
3rd D'Onta Foreman - 914 yards
UDFA Jeff Wilson - 860 yards
UDFA Raheem Mostert - 891 yards (200 yards receiving)
3rd James Conner - 782 yards (300 yards receiving)
5th Aaron Jones - 1121 yards (395 yards receiving)
3rd Alvin Kamara - 897 (490 yards receiving)



All that is merely to illustrate how low positional value there is with running backs drafted...end of Day 2 and into Day 3 LOTS of good backs have come out. So when folks ask me sometimes why I don't advocate for RBs early...there is no other skill position in my opinion that you can literally find starters on Day 3 every year of the draft IMO.
Especially true for us. We grabbed 2 in 1 draft (Williams and Jones) and here we are like 7 seasons later and they are both starting level RB’s. Like you said both chosen on Day 3.

I really like the 3-5th round RB. That’s an area you can get a very good player.
 

Dantés

Gute Loot
Joined
Jan 21, 2017
Messages
12,026
Reaction score
2,957
This is good research.

The only thing I'd answer back to it is that not all players have the same impact even if they're in the same role. You can certainly find viable running backs round 3 and later-- there's no doubt about it.

But what's attractive about a guy like Jonathan Taylor is the explosive big-play element he would uniquely bring. Taylor is at 5.1 YPC as a runner and 7.7 YPR as a receiver for his career. Before last year's offensive disaster in Indianapolis, he was at 5.3 and 8.7, which are phenomenal numbers for his position. One of the reasons why his averages are so high is because he creates explosive plays, which is what all offenses covet and all defenses seek to limit.

The NFL is in a phase of the offense/defense cycle right now in which defenses are going to extraordinary lengths to limit explosive plays via the downfield passing game. Thus, a runner who can create those plays on the ground is exceptionally valuable right now. If you can attack 2 high shells with a ground game that breaks off 20, 30, 40, or 50+ yard gains, you can wreck opposing defenses OR force them out of their shell, making the vertical passing attack more viable again.

There are a few players like that on the lists above (e.g. Jones, Pollard), but not many. It's easy to find guys who can play, generally, but not guys who would impact the game like Taylor. He isn't the same type of weapon in the passing game, but as a parallel I would point to SF and how much Christian McCaffrey unlocks their offense.
 
OP
OP
tynimiller

tynimiller

Cheesehead
Joined
May 2, 2012
Messages
13,910
Reaction score
4,865
This is good research.

The only thing I'd answer back to it is that not all players have the same impact even if they're in the same role. You can certainly find viable running backs round 3 and later-- there's no doubt about it.

But what's attractive about a guy like Jonathan Taylor is the explosive big-play element he would uniquely bring. Taylor is at 5.1 YPC as a runner and 7.7 YPR as a receiver for his career. Before last year's offensive disaster in Indianapolis, he was at 5.3 and 8.7, which are phenomenal numbers for his position. One of the reasons why his averages are so high is because he creates explosive plays, which is what all offenses covet and all defenses seek to limit.

The NFL is in a phase of the offense/defense cycle right now in which defenses are going to extraordinary lengths to limit explosive plays via the downfield passing game. Thus, a runner who can create those plays on the ground is exceptionally valuable right now. If you can attack 2 high shells with a ground game that breaks off 20, 30, 40, or 50+ yard gains, you can wreck opposing defenses OR force them out of their shell, making the vertical passing attack more viable again.

There are a few players like that on the lists above (e.g. Jones, Pollard), but not many. It's easy to find guys who can play, generally, but not guys who would impact the game like Taylor. He isn't the same type of weapon in the passing game, but as a parallel I would point to SF and how much Christian McCaffrey unlocks their offense.

For sure man! This wasn't to downplay Taylor - I think at this stage in his career I'd take him over Jones truthfully and try and draft that less ground bellcow type RB2 with receiving chops like a Kenneth Gainwell for a recent type.

Bijan is a good example of a guy that was SPECIAL...but in order to justify for me a Day1 pick, you as a GM have to be so sure that you're getting a day one elite level RB or else you might as well just burn the pick up in the trash IMO wasting it that early on a RB
 

Members online

Latest posts

Top