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The Myth of Finding a RB Late in the Draft
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theJ


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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 6:13 am    Post subject: The Myth of Finding a RB Late in the Draft Reply with quote

I saw Kenny's post in the grade thread, but i wanted to dedicate a slightly longer post that would catch more eyes. His post is below.

After the selection of Hill in round 2, i saw a lot of people suggest that it was a wasted pick because you could find the same or similar player later in the draft (presumably rounds 5-7?). My first thought was "that's ridiculous", but i wanted to take a longer look.

I did a little searching, and here's all the late round RB picks that have translated to success in the last 10 years.

Arian Foster (UDFA)
Lagarrette Blount (UDFA)
Pierre Thomas (UDFA)
Danny Woodhead (UDFA)
Alfred Morris (6th rnd)
Zac Stacy (5th rnd)
Andre Ellington (6th rnd)
Ahmad Bradshaw (7th rnd)
Vick Ballard (5th rnd)
Michael Turner (5th rnd)
James Starks (6th rnd)
Ryan Torain (6th rnd)
Fred Jackson (UDFA)
Daryl Richardson (UDFA)

Not exactly a long list. 14 players in 10 years. 1-2 per draft that you can find late. Compare that to a list of players drafted in rounds 1 and 2 from the last 10 years (2003 to 2013).

Larry Johnson
Willis McGahee
Steven Jackson
Cadillac Williams
Ronnie Brown
MJD
Joseph Addai
Deangelo Williams
Reggie Bush
Marshawn Lynch
Adrian Peterson
Ray Rice
Matt Forte
Chris Johnson
Darren McFadden
LeSean McCoy
Knowshon Moreno
Ben Tate
Toby Gerhart (take him or leave him, included because he's going to be a starter this year)
CJ Spiller
Shane Vereen
Doug Martin
Eddie Lacy
Montee Ball (jury still out)
Le'Veon Bell
Giovani Bernard

That's 26 backs in 2 rounds. And this list contains much better players than the first too (example - the lowlight of the second list is probably Shane Vereen, who is loads better than guys like Vick Ballard and James Starks). If i included the third round i bet i'd find more. So yes, the assessment that you can find a RB in the later rounds is true. It's just not true that it's easy. Leaving out kicker and punter, this assessment works for every position: you can find players late in the draft, but it's always easier to find good ones early.

Put another way - it's not that RBs are devalued because now you can find them late in the draft. That hasn't changed: it's still hard to find them late. RBs are devalued and going a bit later because offenses aren't leaning them on anymore. The 1st round receiver is more valuable to a team than the 1st round RB because he provides more value.

I would actually argue that the Bengals are doing something smart here by being the first to draft RB's the last two years. They're working against the grain. The teams that follow the lead of the great teams are usually too late to the party. By doing something a little bit different, the Bengals are trying to get the party first (though you could argue that the last two super bowl winners, Seahawks and Ravens, are built similar to the Bengals).

I sort of like the approach. It's a little non-conventional, a little more boom/bust.

KennyBania wrote:
"Power" backs drafted in the last 5 years:
- Zac Stacy ('13, 5th)
- Latavius Murray ('13, 6th)
- Rex Burkhead ('13, 6th)
- Robert Turbin ('12, 3rd)
- Jawan Jamison ('12, 6th)
- Vick Ballard ('12, 5th)
- Alfred Morris ('12, 6th)
- Dan Herron ('12, 6th)
- Terrence Ganaway ('12, 6th)
- Bryce Brown ('12, 7th)
- Demarco Murray ('11, 3rd)
- Alex Green ('11, 3rd)
- Jamie Harper ('11, 4th)
- Delone Carter ('11, 4th)
- Da'Rel Scott ('11, 7th)
- Anthony Allen ('11, 7th)
- Anthony Dixon ('10, 6th)
- Johnathan Dwyer ('10, 6th)
- Charles Scott ('10, 6th)
- Shonn Greene ('09, 3rd)
- Gartrell Johnson ('09, 4th)
- Chris Ogbannaya ('09, 7th)
- Rashad Jennings ('09, 7th)


Of all these mid to late round RB's, how many have found exceptional NFL success? 4? 5? Power backs are not "easy to find". Runningbacks have shorter shelf lives than other positions, due to the physicality of the position. You could make an argument that the lack of longevity for the position is not worth a high draft pick. But history shows the best backs are found in the first and second rounds (Top 20 rushers this past year (in order):
- Lesean McCoy (2nd)
- Adrian Peterson (1st)
- Jamaal Charles (2nd)
- Matt Forte (2nd)
- Demarco Murray (3rd)
- Alfred Morris (6th)
- Marshawn Lynch (1st)
- Eddie Lacy (2nd)
- Ryan Mathews (1st)
- Doug Martin (1st)
- Reggie Bush (1st)
- Frank Gore (3rd)
- Zac Stacy (5th)
- Arian Foster (UDFA)
- Chris Johnson (1st)
- Le'Veon Bell (2nd)
- Knowshon Moreno (1st)
- Vick Ballard (5th)
- CJ Spiller (1st)


Not sure where you came up with that assessment.

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johndeere1707


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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 7:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't have time right now but I'd be interested what the list looks like with rounds 3 and 4. That's what I personally meant when I stated drafting a back later on.
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ochocinco4pres


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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 7:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like Hill as a pick. I think he will be a strong back for us and means the end of BJGE, but I would have preferred to wait to get someone later in the draft and help the O line more in the 2nd or 3rd
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theJ


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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

johndeere1707 wrote:
I don't have time right now but I'd be interested what the list looks like with rounds 3 and 4. That's what I personally meant when I stated drafting a back later on.

Rounds 3 and 4.

Darren Sproles
Brandon Jacobs
Marion Barber
Frank Gore
Le'Ron McClain
Michael Bush
Tashard Choice
Jamaal Charles
Andre Brown
Kendall Hunter
Stevan Ridley
Demarco Murray

I left off a few guys that are currently backups, but haven't amounted to much.

I'll separate this into a few different categories, a little subjectively. This is the list of "good" players. Out of those, 5 i would label "difference makers" (Murray, Ridley, Charles, Gore, Sproles). Difference maker defined as a long term starter or electric backup and not a 2-3 year stop gap. This is all a little subjective, but the numbers aren't even close enough to argue one or two players.

Here are the other rounds if i do the same thing.

Rounds 1-2: Total 57 drafted, 11 "good" players (19%), 15 "difference makers" (26%) - TOTAL 45%
Rounds 3-4: Total 59 drafted, 7 "good" players (12%), 5 "difference makers" (8%) - TOTAL 20%
Rounds 5-7: Total 107 drafted (not counting UDFA's), 8 "good" players (7%), 6 "difference makers" (6%) - TOTAL 13%

So in terms of percentages, you're much more likely to find that good or great player in round 1-2 than any round after that. Your chance of finding at least a stop gap player in rounds 1-2 are 45%, 20% in rounds 3-4, and <13% in rounds 5-7 (hard to count bc i don't have a good count of UDFA's, and i'm including guys like Foster and Fred Jackson).
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theJ


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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ochocinco4pres wrote:
I like Hill as a pick. I think he will be a strong back for us and means the end of BJGE, but I would have preferred to wait to get someone later in the draft and help the O line more in the 2nd or 3rd

Well that's fine, but you're half as likely to find a good back at that point. Even less likely if you wait until rounds 5-7.

But the same can be said of any position really. So in this case, the Bengals have about a 50% chance that their RB position is shored up, but probably like a 15% chance that Bodine fills the C/OG spot (assuming those %'s in my last post can be applied across positions, which probably isn't completely true).
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ochocinco4pres


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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 8:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

theJ wrote:
ochocinco4pres wrote:
I like Hill as a pick. I think he will be a strong back for us and means the end of BJGE, but I would have preferred to wait to get someone later in the draft and help the O line more in the 2nd or 3rd

Well that's fine, but you're half as likely to find a good back at that point. Even less likely if you wait until rounds 5-7.

But the same can be said of any position really. So in this case, the Bengals have about a 50% chance that their RB position is shored up, but probably like a 15% chance that Bodine fills the C/OG spot (assuming those %'s in my last post can be applied across positions, which probably isn't completely true).


Which I understand. I still think that a big part of our run game issue is the lack of blocking in front of them. While BJGE was awful last year, i am not sure the O line helped him a ton. Gio was so successful because he was able to run circles around defenses because a lot of the time there were not holes to run through.
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MrCincinnati


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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 9:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Drafting a RB early in the Draft isn't a bad idea, but unless its a guy with rare talent like Adrian Peterson, the RB will not succeed if his OL sucks. Even Chris Johnson who had some excellent years could not overcome the Titans OL issues.

Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard will not be bad RB's, but they will continue to struggle if this OL doesn't improve, and so far I am concerned.
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HangOnSloopy


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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 9:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Still sad we passed on El Guapo.
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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

HangOnSloopy wrote:
Still sad we passed on El Guapo.


Coming from another Buckeye fan, I prefer Hill.
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theJ


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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MrCincinnati wrote:
Drafting a RB early in the Draft isn't a bad idea, but unless its a guy with rare talent like Adrian Peterson, the RB will not succeed if his OL sucks. Even Chris Johnson who had some excellent years could not overcome the Titans OL issues.

Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard will not be bad RB's, but they will continue to struggle if this OL doesn't improve, and so far I am concerned.

Ok but the offensive line had some issues last year that could be corrected by just an offseason of rest. Injuries to Boling and Zeitler, Pollack new to the team, Whit moving from LT to LG. An OL, more than any other group, needs continuity to succeed.

I can almost guarantee that if the line starts the same five guys all year, it won't hamper the offense like it did at times last year.

And honestly i know all this, and i know you know all this. I posted this thread because i kept hearing and seeing people post that there's no reason to draft a RB early because you can easily find one later in the draft. That's just simply not true.
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johndeere1707


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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes but you also have to add in the fact that the running back position is continuing to be pushed back later and later in the draft. This is going to push back talent that in previous drafts would be selected higher. This is going to throw off your argument quite a bit
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theJ


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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

johndeere1707 wrote:
Yes but you also have to add in the fact that the running back position is continuing to be pushed back later and later in the draft. This is going to push back talent that in previous drafts would be selected higher. This is going to throw off your argument quite a bit

Yeah that skews it. But i'd argue that it only skews it by one round or less since the first RB's are being taken about a round later than they used to.

You also have to consider that the quality of RB prospects are going down as well. You don't see very many "do-everything", once every two or three years type of players anymore. Instead you get more specialized backs. Guys like Gio Bernard who are phenominal runners and pass catchers, but not great blockers. Or guys like Eddie Lacy who block well and run well, but don't have the game changing speed.

So part of the effect is de-valuing, but part of it is that colleges aren't grooming Steven Jackson's and Adrian Peterson's anymore because those guys are playing different positions.

Put another way, if a guy like Steven Jackson or Adrian Peterson came out in this draft class, there's no way in hell they would have been picked at #54. They would have been top 30 players still.
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Hokie


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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't have time to address each point in the other thread, so I'll try to make it short and sweet here:

- Hate on 40 times all you want J, but Hill doesn't have elite top-end speed. Every single scouting report online will tell you he doesn't. I'll believe guys who get paid to analyze college football recruits before I will dudes on a message board who are hyped up about a player their favorite team drafted (no offense to anyone).

- To Kenny, again, I couldn't care less about coach-speak during a presser following a draft pick. Has there EVER been a presser where the coaches didn't rave about the guys they selected? It's no different than college football coaches who rave about the recruits they bring in on National Signing Day. You would think that each school is bringing in twenty future All-Americans with the way they talk about those kids. It's not any different in the NFL. Coaches aren't going to thoroughly analyze and criticize their players to the media; they're going to do it behind closed doors.

- Again to Kenny, I don't solely rely on scouting reports. I don't have the time to watch multiple YouTube videos for every single prospect in the draft. Do you? I'll read mocks and reports, watch a few YouTube videos, and try to make my own assessment. If you're able to watch YouTube videos of 300+ prospects and make your own individual assessment of each guy, without relying on scouting reports whatsoever, then good for you. I don't have anything near the time to do so. I'm not going to discredit scouting reports from guys who get paid to analyze prospects for a living (like Nawrocki and Rob Rang, for example), and I do value their opinion more than message board scouts. You'll have to forgive me for doing so.

- As for power backs and this list... that's neat and everything, but it doesn't disprove anything. One critical reason for my general belief that you shouldn't take RBs early is because no position in the NFL is more exposed to injuries than RB. There's a reason why teams aren't taking RBs in the 1st round anymore; it's not a coincidence. The shelf-life on these guys is limited, and I would greatly prefer taking prospects at positions that are less injury prone earlier in the draft, all else equal. What you failed to include in your list is all the RBs who have been drafted early but never amounted to squat, mainly due to injuries. Chris Perry and Kenny Irons ring a bell?

- I gave examples off the top of my head of power backs who went late or undrafted in recent years who have found success in the NFL (Foster, Morris, Blount, Tolbert, BJGE, etc.). What about this list disproves the notion that you can't get a good power back late? Of course RBs taken higher in the draft tend to have more success than ones who go late or undrafted. That's common freaking sense. The same will hold true for EVERY OTHER POSITION IN THE NFL! So, yeah, there's a better chance that we'll land a good RB by drafting one early vs late. No kidding. That doesn't mean it can't, or won't, be done however. It's been done for years and will continue to do so. This list that J felt the need to start a new thread with doesn't mean anything. The only point it proves is that RBs who go early tend to be more successful than ones who go late/undrafted. I'm pretty damn sure everyone on this board already knew that.
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MrCincinnati


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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

theJ wrote:
MrCincinnati wrote:
Drafting a RB early in the Draft isn't a bad idea, but unless its a guy with rare talent like Adrian Peterson, the RB will not succeed if his OL sucks. Even Chris Johnson who had some excellent years could not overcome the Titans OL issues.

Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard will not be bad RB's, but they will continue to struggle if this OL doesn't improve, and so far I am concerned.

Ok but the offensive line had some issues last year that could be corrected by just an offseason of rest. Injuries to Boling and Zeitler, Pollack new to the team, Whit moving from LT to LG. An OL, more than any other group, needs continuity to succeed.

I can almost guarantee that if the line starts the same five guys all year, it won't hamper the offense like it did at times last year.

And honestly i know all this, and i know you know all this. I posted this thread because i kept hearing and seeing people post that there's no reason to draft a RB early because you can easily find one later in the draft. That's just simply not true.


Even when Zeitler was struggling, when he was out of the lineup they didn't lose any games. I'm not saying its ironic or anything, but that clearly didn't bring them down

Boling might not be ready for week 1 because of his ACL injury. Those injuries generally take 11 months. Whitworth played great in his place, while Collins did great as well at the LT spot. Boling hasn't exactly had excellent seasons, hes been about average so far.

The best move this team did in the offseason on the OL was getting rid of Kyle Cook though. All he did was drag the team down all of last year. Robinson didn't fair that much better either, but at least Cook is gone.

But they lost Collins who could very well been penciled in as there LT while Whitworth would stay at LG. Now not only did they lose Collins, but they replaced him the legendary Marshall Newhouse whom Packer fans everywhere rejoiced once the Bengals signed him. If he has to come in if Whitworth or Smith is hurt, then they are doomed.

Pollack at C doesn't convince me either. Pollak was horrible with the Colts when he started a lot. He looked great when he was coming in for reserve, but that's it. I don't know if he can handle a full load.

The only player that might be the wildcard in this is Hawkinson. He is the unknown, so he might or might not surprise us.

So yeah, I don't see much of a change. All they can do now is work with the tools they have been provided with. Hue Jackson has proven in the past he can do it.
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theJ


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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hokie wrote:
- Hate on 40 times all you want J, but Hill doesn't have elite top-end speed. Every single scouting report online will tell you he doesn't. I'll believe guys who get paid to analyze college football recruits before I will dudes on a message board who are hyped up about a player their favorite team drafted (no offense to anyone).

Whatevs man. The point is that 4.4 speed isn't necessary in a between the tackles runner. He has more than enough speed to get the job done in the NFL, and that's why i posted Foster's 40 time. Here are some other 40 times.

Alfred Morris - 4.63
Andre Ellington - 4.61
LeGarrette Blount - 4.7
Pierre Thomas - 4.65

Not many RB's have sub 4.5 speed, which only really means they can't outrun DB's in an even race. Except, the thing is it is rarely an even race. A 4.7 guy can beat a 4.3 guy to the endzone from 40 yards out if he catches him flat footed or has a 3 yard headstart. That's pretty common in a game situation.

So, in conclusion, don't give a rip about 40 times. Never have. Never will. You can call me a homer, but this applies to players all over the NFL. So i guess i'm a homer for every team and every player.

EDIT: All that to say, he may not have Adrian Peterson speed, but he's got more than enough to a be a difference making player.

Hokie wrote:
- As for power backs and this list... that's neat and everything, but it doesn't disprove anything. One critical reason for my general belief that you shouldn't take RBs early is because no position in the NFL is more exposed to injuries than RB. There's a reason why teams aren't taking RBs in the 1st round anymore; it's not a coincidence. The shelf-life on these guys is limited, and I would greatly prefer taking prospects at positions that are less injury prone earlier in the draft, all else equal. What you failed to include in your list is all the RBs who have been drafted early but never amounted to squat, mainly due to injuries. Chris Perry and Kenny Irons ring a bell?

- I gave examples off the top of my head of power backs who went late or undrafted in recent years who have found success in the NFL (Foster, Morris, Blount, Tolbert, BJGE, etc.). What about this list disproves the notion that you can't get a good power back late? Of course RBs taken higher in the draft tend to have more success than ones who go late or undrafted. That's common freaking sense. The same will hold true for EVERY OTHER POSITION IN THE NFL! So, yeah, there's a better chance that we'll land a good RB by drafting one early vs late. No kidding. That doesn't mean it can't, or won't, be done however. It's been done for years and will continue to do so. This list that J felt the need to start a new thread with doesn't mean anything. The only point it proves is that RBs who go early tend to be more successful than ones who go late/undrafted. I'm pretty damn sure everyone on this board already knew that.

Thanks for reading everything i wrote. Because that last part is almost exactly what i wrote. The first part though...you're just trying to make me mad.

You can draft RB's late - that's fine. You can find a few. But if you stick to 5-7 round RB's you have about a 85% chance of having a really putrid backfield.

If you stick to rounds 1-4, you're closer to 70% (WHICH INCLUDES KENNY IRONS AND CHRIS FREAKING PERRY THANK YOU VERY LITTLE FOR READING AND TYPING IN CAPS - DO YOU KNOW WHAT PERCENTAGES ARE???). Stick with rounds 1-2 and you're 50/50 on finding good RB's.

Anyway, i'm calm. Already addressed another reason there aren't first round RB's anymore. There aren't first round prospects coming out of college anymore. Colleges don't develop them - those elite athletes play other positions anymore.
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