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The Dime a Dozen RB’s

Posted By Jesse Agler On April 7, 2011 @ 11:56 am In Football | 7 Comments

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Undrafted Arian Foster led the NFL in rushing yards and TD's in 2010

With so many mock drafts continuing to suggest that the Dolphins will take Alabama RB Mark Ingram at #15 and with my continued assertion that he isn’t worth drafting at that position because “running backs are a dime a dozen,” I figured it was time to share with you some of the other RBs who could have an impact in this year’s draft.

Before we get to the rookies-to-be though, I’d like to show you the list of the top five rushers from last season in the NFL:

  1. Arian Foster, Houston, 1,616 yards: Undrafted
  2. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City, 1,467 yards: 3rd round
  3. Michael Turner, Atlanta, 1,371 yards: 5th round
  4. Chris Johnson, Tennessee, 1,364 yards: #24 overall
  5. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville, 1,324 yards: 2nd round

In addition, the guy who scored more rushing touchdowns than anyone in the league besides Foster in 2010 was BenJarvus Green-Ellis of the Patriots, who was undrafted. So only one of the top running backs in the NFL last year was a first round choice, and he went #24. The point here is that there just isn’t value in taking a running back in the first half of the first round of the draft unless you know that he is going to be a super-duper-star type of guy, like an Adrian Peterson. I think Mark Ingram is a very solid player. I do not think he is AP.

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My contention remains that running backs are a “dime a dozen” and so here are a dozen running backs who may very well be the stars of tomorrow (in no particular order). Some of these guys project as 2nd or 3rd round picks, but most of them are expected to be mid-round (4-6) types of guys:

  • DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma: Considered by many to be the 2nd best RB in this draft behind Ingram.
  • Roy Helu, Jr., Nebraska: Will forever be remembered in Lincoln for his 307 yard rushing performance last year vs. Mizzou.
  • Mikel Leshoure, Illinois: Can take hits with the best of them and has earned comparisons to former Illinois RB Rashard Mendenhall.
  • Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon St.: At just 5’6″, Rodgers is small and does not possess elite breakaway speed but had a very productive career for the Beavers.
  • Daniel Thomas, Kansas St.: A strong between-the-tackles runner who many people think can “do it all” at the next level.
  • Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech: A big-time athlete (40″ vertical at Combine) who had to share time his final year at Tech.
  • Kendall Hunter, Oklahoma St.: At 5’7″ he is probably to small to be an every down back but not too small to make a big impact.
  • Shane Vereen, Cal: Has been compared to his former college teammate and current Lion Jahvid Best.
  • Jordan Todman, UConn: His 4.40 in the 40-yard dash at the Combine was tied with Derrick Locke for 3rd fastest among all RBs.
  • Taiwan Jones, Eastern Washington: A guy with good size and speed, the biggest question marks will be about the competition he faced in the FCS.
  • Bilal Powell, Louisville: A breakout 2010 put Powell on a lot of peoples’ maps; a strong one-cut type back.
  • Derrick Locke, Kentucky: A standout at the Senior Bowl, Locke is considered a bit undersized (5’8″) but can run tough and inside. His 4.40 40 at the Combine was tied for 3rd fastest of all RBs.

Other backs that have received a nice amount of pre-draft attention are guys like Wisconsin’s John Clay, Noel Divine of West Virginia, Syracuse’s Delone Carter, and Anthony Allen out of Georgia Tech.

I’m not here to say that all of these RBs are the next Foster or Charles or Green-Ellis’s of the world, I’m just saying that in today’s NFL, it seems that you can get as much value in the draft out of the running back position than at almost any other position, and that #15 is much too high for the Fins to go that direction, unless they think that Ingram (or whoever else) is THE guy to build the team around in the years to come. Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. We’ll find out on April 28th.

Where would you like to see the Dolphins draft a RB?

  • Second round (assuming trade) (34%)
  • Third round (30%)
  • Fourth/Fifth round (12%)
  • #15 (11%)
  • Later in the first round (assuming trade) (9%)
  • They don't need to draft a RB (4%)
  • Sixth/Seventh round (0%)
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Jesse Agler is the host of The Finsiders. Follow him on Twitter @finsjesse [2].


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