Looking at the current NFL, the value of the running back has become a shadow of its former self. While closer by committee seems to rarely work in Major League Baseball, backfield by committee seems to work remarkably in the National Football League.
So today, we continue to look at this year’s NFL Draft and which side we want to be on for the prop bet of how many running backs will be taken in the first round. The total is set at 1.5 with the over at (+380) and the under at (-650).
As stated in the opening, the value of the running back in today’s NFL is basically that of an iPhone, it’s great when its new and shiny, but after a couple of years, its time for a new one. Whether or not that is fair is not up for debate, because it isn’t fair but it is reality. In recent seasons we have seen that the amount of talent out there at the running back position runs extremely deep.
Of the 32 NFL teams, only nine currently boast a projected starting that was selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. That is also assuming that Melvin Gordon is set to start over Phillip Lindsay in Denver. Of the projected starters, 14 of 32 teams will start running backs that were selected in the third round or later. Going back to the 2010 NFL Draft, only 16 to running backs have been selected in the first round, which is…1.6 running backs in the first round per draft.
They always set the correct number.
The issue with this season’s draft is that there is not a Saquon Barkley, Leonard Fournette or Christian McCaffrey in this draft. Jonathan Taylor is the best running back in this class, having racked up over 6,000 yards rushing in his three seasons at Wisconsin. During his final season in Madison, he also reeled in 26 catches, which is paramount in the NFL.
The other factor in this year’s draft is, of course, the impact of the coronavirus (I know, I am as sick of writing about it as you are of hearing about it) which is severely limiting teams in the physical evaluation period. As someone that normally evaluates basketball talent, I can tell you that there is a drastic difference in trying to evaluate someone on television or youtube and seeing them in person. For that specific reason, teams may be unwilling to take a flyer on a running back that they haven’t been able to thoroughly vet from all the different standpoints that they would like to. Wouldn’t it just be easier to go with the 320lb lineman that pancakes defenders or the cover corner who can guard in space?
You see my point.
The other interesting impact when it comes to this number is necessity. There simply are not many teams that currently have a need at running back. If you visit lineups.com, almost every team in the league has a running back that either has a decent ceiling or has proven himself worth and is still on a rookie contract. If a team is looking to add depth to their backfield, they certainly aren’t going to waste a first-round pick on a back that they only intend on using in third-down passing situations or in protection.
So, in closing, there is a likelihood that Taylor is drafted in the first round but I think it is doubtful that you will see Dobbins or Swift come off of the board until the second round at the earliest. Unfortunately, there is not a ton of value there.
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