Alfred Morris was just a sixth round pick. During his rookie season, he happened to play alongside the eventual offensive rookie of the year. Since then, RG3 has continued to dominate headlines, while Morris continues to plug away without garnering a fraction of the attention. For example, did you know that Morris has now hit the 1,000-yard mark for the third straight season? He’s also rushed for 7 touchdowns each year in his career.
Do you know how many other players have rushed for 1,000 yards and seven scores in each of their first three seasons? Seven: Earl Campbell, Ottis Anderson, Eric Dickerson, Barry Sanders, LaDainian Tomlinson, Adrian Peterson, and Chris Johnson. That’s five Hall of Fame caliber running backs and Anderson/Johnson, a duo that has combined for nearly 19,000 rushing yards and still counting.
Morris has rushed for 3,919 yards and 27 touchdowns in his career, with one game left in his third season. In addition to the six of the seven players above (Anderson had 26 rushing touchdowns through three years), only five other players have hit those marks through three years: Clinton Portis, Terrell Davis, Emmitt Smith, Edgerrin James, and Walter Payton.
In other words, Morris’ production through three years puts him in in the inner circle of elite running back performance. Of the thirteen running backs mentioned in this post, ten were first round picks. The eleventh was Portis, a player who fell to the second round solely due to concerns about his size and durability. None of the other players were drafted in the second, third, fourth, or fifth rounds; the other two were Morris and Davis, both six round picks under Mike Shanahan. [click to continue…]