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Draft Capital Used By Position: RB

Regular readers know all about the Football Perspective Draft Value Chart, which is derived from the approximate value actually produced by draft picks at each draft slot. Over the next week, I will be showing how much draft capital has been used to select players at certain positions in every draft since 1990. This will allow us to see how much the league’s view on the value of a position has changed, while also giving us a visual insight into the volatility among the talent in draft classes is from year-to-year.

I will be staying out of the commentary for now, so I encourage you to post your thoughts. To make comparison across positions easier, I will be using the same scale for each position. Let’s look at the graph for running backs:

  • Richie

    Every year from 1993-2001 had over ~140 AV.

    Every year from 2009-2016 has been under ~140 AV.

    There were a couple splurges in 2005 (Ronnie Brown, Cadillac Williams, Cedric Benson) and 2008 (Darren McFadden, Jonathan Stewart, Felix Jones, Rashard Mendenhall, Chris Johnson). Most of those guys had a couple glimmers of success, but overall I’m not sure any of them were really worth first-round picks. I guess Chris Johnson and Jonathan Stewart might be the exceptions. Johnson had a pretty high peak, and Stewart has been a decent RB for a long time (but never great).

  • Josh Sanford

    Here’s my personal Disappointment List from each year–limit one RB per draft:

    1990 Blair Thomas (2) First RB Taken
    1991 Harvey Williams (21) Second RB Taken
    1992 Tommy Vardell (9) First RB Taken
    1993 Glyn Milburn (43) Fifth RB Taken
    1994 Greg Hill (25) Second RB Taken
    1995 Ki-Jana Carter (1) First RB Taken
    1996 Lawrence Phillips (6) First RB Taken
    1997 Byron Hanspard (41) Fourth RB Taken
    1998 Curtis Enis (8) First RB Taken
    1999 James Johnson (39) Third RB Taken
    2000 Ron Dayne (11) Third RB Taken
    2001 Anthony Thomas (38) Fourth RB Taken
    2002 William Green (16) First RB Taken
    2003 Musa Smith (77) Third RB Taken
    2004 Chris Perry (26) Second RB Taken
    2005 JJ Arrington (44) Fourth RB Taken
    2006 Laurence Maroney (21) Second RB Taken
    2007 Kenny Irons (49) Third RB Taken
    2008 Felix Jones (22) Third RB Taken
    2009 Knowshon Moreno (12) First RB Taken
    2010 CJ Spiller (9) First RB Taken
    2011 Mark Ingram (28) First RB Taken
    2012 Trent Richardson (3) First RB Taken
    2013 Giovani Bernard (37) First RB Taken
    2014 Bishop Sankey (54) First RB Taken

    I chose the highest ranked RB who didn’t perform to expectations. Feel to criticize.

    • sacramento gold miners

      Glyn Milburn had a nice career as a second round pick, he wasn’t drafted to be Denver’s primary RB. I don’t think he belongs on a list with flops like Blair Thomas, Curtis Enis, and Lawrence Phillips. While Milburn’s career wasn’t long, he did earn two Pro Bowl and two All-Pro selections, and amassed nearly 15,000 all purpose NFL yards. I think he still holds the all purpose NFL record for yards in a game with 404. This was a versatile, but smallish player, not as strong as Darren Sproles. Had ridiculous quickness and cutting ability, similar to Eric Metcalf. Metcalf was a first rounder, and you might say he was Glyn Milburn 2.0.

      • Josh Sanford

        It’s a good RB draft when the first four RBs taken are decidedly NOT busts: Garrison Hearst, Jerome Bettis, Robert Smith and Natrone Means. I probably should have skipped Milburn and tagged Reggie Brooks or Rooselvelt Potts. But I didn’t compare career AV to draft slot or anything intelligent–I just compiled a personal list while watching a sitcom. (I think the NFL is planning to preemptively give Christian McCaffrey the title of Single Game All Purpose Yardage Record Holder.)

      • Richie

        I think you have it backwards. Milburn is Eric Metcalf 2.0 since his career started after Metcalf’s.

        • sacramento gold miners

          Poor choice of reference on my part, I meant to say Metcalf was a similar player, but an upgrade over Milburn. Eric(son of Cardinals great Terry Metcalf), was a three time All-Pro, amassing over 17,000 all purpose yards over a longer time span than Milburn’s career.

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