Sunday, March 22, 2009

NFL Running Backs Data

by: Chris Sullivan

Someone in the comments yesterday thought that it might be worth it for the Hawks to look at Knowshon Moreno and/or Chris Wells with the #4 pick (or potentially trade down and grab one of them). It's worth considering. I thought I'd take a look at the top 25 RBs from last year (by yards) and see where and when they were drafted:

It's no secret that the running back has become a short-lived position in the NFL, with the average NFL RB lasting to about 30-31 years of age before being discarded. Of the 2008 Top 25 backs, 11 were first rounders, more than any other round (but of course, that's to be expected). Five of the top 25 were picked in the third round (Steve Slaton, Frank Gore, Kevin Smith, Justin Fargas) and three were taken in each the second (Portis, Forte, Jones-Drew) and fourth rounds (Marion Barber, Brandon Jacobs and Le'Ron McClain). There was one player each from the fifth and seventh rounds and one who went undrafted.

The average NFL tenure of the top 25 was 4.2 years as a pro. There were two players who'd been in the league for 9 years (Jamal Lewis and Thomas Jones), one for 8 years (LT), two for 7 years (Westbrook, Portis). In other words, 80% of the top 25 have been in the league for 6 years or less, with 10 of the 25 in the league for three or fewer seasons.

The Average overall draft pick is 61, with the median pick being 47.5. The Median is, as usual, probably a more reliable number since someone like Derrick Ward (235 overall) will severely skew the numbers.

I'll let you draw the conclusions you'd like. Of the top 25, 5 are top 10 picks with only one going at or before the Seahawks #4 pick (Ronnie Brown at #2). The full list is above the cut. What jumps out at you?