The League

Shawn Zobel
Draft Guru

Shawn Zobel

The founder and editor of Draft

Blame the Draft


With the NFL becoming a two-back league, it's apparent that running backs are becoming very interchangeable and unless you have an elite talent like Adrian Peterson, you will always be looking for an upgrade. This upgrade could come with a first round pick, however it could also come with a mid-late round one.

In 2007, the Giants used their seventh round pick on Marshall's Ahmad Bradshaw and he went on to help the team win the Super Bowl. Undrafted running backs like Willie Parker, who set the record for the longest run in Super Bowl history, are becoming easier to find because there are so many good backs that come out for the draft each year. The draft has played a large part in the death of the featured back. With so many talented running backs entering the NFL draft every year, unless I saw a rare talent like Peterson, I think it'd be tough for me to take a running back in the first round. To put it simply, it's just too easy to find a player in the late rounds who can carry the rock just as well as a player taken four or five rounds earlier.

With a life-expectancy in the NFL lower than any other position, teams with aging backs are now looking to get younger every few years. This is more true this year than any other year. With LaDanian Tomlinson and Brian Westbrook, two of the league's best backs, both showing signs of getting up there in age, the Chargers and Eagles respectively have both been looking to get younger at the position.

The running back position is now often done by committee, but that committee still produces. Such has been the case in New York with a three-headed monster of Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward, and Bradshaw. Outside of about five or six teams, nearly every team in the league has a backup that would be good enough to step in and start if the starter went down. With two-and-three back rotations popping up in Dallas, Carolina, and San Diego, among others, it'd be safe to argue that, while the featured back may not be completely dead, it's getting close.

By Shawn Zobel  |  August 17, 2009; 6:43 PM ET  | Category:  Coaching , Draft , Michael Turner , New York Giants , Running Backs Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Specialization is the future... and not just at running back | Next: Committee Makes Sense

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