Tired of taking Silkwood Showers only to stay home all day? Well have no fear, the NFL Draft is around the corner…eh…maybe…
Today we are looking at the Running Back position. Like toilet paper, the running back position has a short shelf life but is always in demand, so teams also keep them in bulk.
The value of the running back position is not what it used to be. Before the Goodell/Brady/Peyton era, teams places a lot more value on running backs. But now, we often go a few drafts in a row without a running back taken in the first round.
There is a good chance that a running back is not selected in the first round in 2020. But the Dolphins are one of a handful of teams with multiple picks, so there is a chance the Dolphins take a running back at #26 and het their pick of the liter. If they do that, I can see the pick being D’Andre Swift from Georgia.
Swift is fun to watch. He’s a patient runner, who has a 1 cut style of running. On tape, Swift has a lot of productive runs after planting his right foot in the ground, making a cut and turning up filed. His top end speed is not lightning fast, but you wouldn’t know it when you watch him run, because this one cut style puts a lot of early separation between the tacklers and Swift
Swift is a good receiver too. If Swift has any weaknesses it’s ball security and pass protection. But he is a very productive and talented back and worth a late first or an early second round pick.
Don’t worry, there are plenty of other good backs. Like Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor. For most of the season I expected Taylor to be the first back off the board. But it’s starting to look like that isn’t the way it will shape up. That shouldn’t scare anyone. Taylor had a very productive career running behind some very good offensive lines with the Badgers. Taylor had 6,174 rushing yards in three years with 50 touchdowns! If that’s not impressive to you, go back to coveting hand sanitizer.
Taylor has good size coming in at 5’11, 219 pounds. But he actually moves like a smaller back showing the kind if shiftiness that projects well in the NFL. He’s been durable throughout his career even after carry after carry. He really has one glaring weakness: ball security. Taylor has had a few fumbles but he’s also had close to 1000 touches, so make sure you put it in perspective.
Sticking with big numbers in the Big Ten, another productive runner that might be off the board before the 2nd round is through is J.K. Dobbins, who had 2,000 rushing years in his final year with Ohio State. Dobbins isn’t as shifty as the two running backs we mentioned on this list. Dobbins is more like a tough lunch pail runner who is going to be consistently productive. He actually kind of reminds me of new Dolphin, Jordan Howard…so if you are thinking “change of pace” he probably won’t do that, but what Dobbins will likely do is have a very good NFL career.
Finally rounding out our top four NFL backs is Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Edwards-Helaire was kind of lost in the shuffle in terms of hype at LSU because of all the attention Joe Burrow received. But Edwards-Helaire was very productive for LSU. In fact he had over 1,800 total offensive yards.
Some of those yards came through the air as he had 55 catches. He’s easily the best receiving back on this list.
A lot of people think of Edwards-Helaire as a bowling ball stout runner, and at 5’8, 209 pounds, he fits that mold, but really, both Swift and Dobbins aren’t much taller than Edwards-Helaire.
He is more quick than fast, but that quickness goes a long way to breaking a lot of tackles. On tape you can see his toughness on each carrry as he fights for yards. But on paper, what some people miss is that he is one of the best backs on this list in terms of ball security. He just doesn’t fumble a lot.
These are the four backs that are most likely to be selected before round 2 is over. But there are plenty of others backs in this draft, and we will take a closer look at them next time.