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Old 01-18-2010   #1
awtysst
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Default Why I am against taking RBs high in the draft

If you have seen any of my mock drafts over the last few years you will notice that I do not like to take RBs high. With the Texans in the 19th or 20th spot in the draft some people think we should go after Spiller, Best, or Dywer with our first pick. I have long maintained that is a bad move and now, I would like to explain to you why I feel this way.

The running back position is the most violent in the game. Numerous times per game the rb is hit and tackled by linebackers or Dlineman. The life of the average running back is far shorter than it is at any other position. But even beyond the average running back, good to outstanding running backs wear out quicker than other positions.

Lets look at an example: LaDainian Tomlinson. I would say he was an excellent running back? Wouldn't you? For six seasons he was a terror. Look at the stats:
2002: 1683
2003: 1645
2004: 1335
2005: 1462
2006: 1815
2007: 1474

These are HUGE numbers. Add in his receptions and tds and you can see he made a monster impact over 6 seasons. The problem is though that once he neared 30 his production went WAY down. Last year he only 1110 yds rushing and this year an anemic 730 yards. Even the excellent running backs wear out pretty fast.

So, lets say you are back in 2001. You have a crystal ball and can see the future. Would you take Tomlinson over: Richard Seymour, Steve Hutchinson, Casey Hampton, Reggie Wayne, or Todd Heap? In fact there were two other Pro Bowl RBs taken in the 2001 NFL draft: Michael Bennett and Deuce McCalister. They had great numbers for a while too. Would you take either of them over the before mentioned players. I would not.

So, my point is, even if you strike gold and select Tomlinson in the draft, in about 7 years or so, taking the DT, OG, WR, or TE may be a better move for your franchise. It certainly looks like it for the these teams.

I look forward to reading your comments and thoughts about this matter.
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Old 01-18-2010   #2
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Default Re: Why I am against taking RBs high in the draft

So what's so wrong with making a first or second round investment in a running back with the knowledge that you're just going to have to do it again in 3-5 years? If it helps to make your running game top notch, why not just accept that as a cost of doing business?

I'd even say that you should draft a running back almost every year, sometimes using a low draft choice and other times using a high one. I'd love to be in a position like the Cowboys where you've got Barber, Jones, and Choice and you're having to make a hard decision as to which one should be getting the most carries. Or a position like the Vikes where you've got a couple of guys that would be starters on most teams (even though they didn't actually draft Taylor.)

This isn't like a QB where, if you've got a couple of guys, you've got no guys and a controversy that splits the locker room. This is the RB where you've got to expect guys to go down and you want to have someone else just as good to plug in.
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Old 01-18-2010   #3
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Default Re: Why I am against taking RBs high in the draft

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Originally Posted by The Pencil Neck View Post
So what's so wrong with making a first or second round investment in a running back with the knowledge that you're just going to have to do it again in 3-5 years? If it helps to make your running game top notch, why not just accept that as a cost of doing business?

I'd even say that you should draft a running back almost every year, sometimes using a low draft choice and other times using a high one. I'd love to be in a position like the Cowboys where you've got Barber, Jones, and Choice and you're having to make a hard decision as to which one should be getting the most carries. Or a position like the Vikes where you've got a couple of guys that would be starters on most teams (even though they didn't actually draft Taylor.)

This isn't like a QB where, if you've got a couple of guys, you've got no guys and a controversy that splits the locker room. This is the RB where you've got to expect guys to go down and you want to have someone else just as good to plug in.
I think that high draft picks should be in positions where you can get a lot of years out of them. Sure the idea of having three great backs is great, but wouldn't it be better to have multiple really good DLineman? or DBs? That way you are always rotating guys in and out. You can keep guys fresh and not have a drop off in play. Then if you get to a point where you have too many good players in a position, you can trade high for additional picks. So, in essence, you continuously reload your supply. When the younger guys are ready, trade the older ones. As long as you pick smart in the draft, you will always be in good shape.

And you can't do that with Running backs, since they wear out too fast. I see the draft as a way to replenish your team and this is the way you do it.
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Old 01-18-2010   #4
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Default Re: Why I am against taking RBs high in the draft

I agree. I am against taking RB's in the 1st unless they are Adrian Peterson type quality. There is nobody in this draft with that kind of talent. Many of the RB's in the league that are successful right now were not drafted in the 1st round. RB is the easiest position to translate to from college to the pro's. I would rather draft a DB or D-Lineman.
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Old 01-18-2010   #5
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Default Re: Why I am against taking RBs high in the draft

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Originally Posted by awtysst View Post
I think that high draft picks should be in positions where you can get a lot of years out of them. Sure the idea of having three great backs is great, but wouldn't it be better to have multiple really good DLineman? or DBs? That way you are always rotating guys in and out. You can keep guys fresh and not have a drop off in play. Then if you get to a point where you have too many good players in a position, you can trade high for additional picks. So, in essence, you continuously reload your supply. When the younger guys are ready, trade the older ones. As long as you pick smart in the draft, you will always be in good shape.

And you can't do that with Running backs, since they wear out too fast. I see the draft as a way to replenish your team and this is the way you do it.
I've argued this from your side before and I believed that high-round RB's were unnecessary for several years for all the reasons you've given. The league has moved to more of your position on this. I mean, 15 years ago, there were a lot more RB's taken in the first couple of rounds than there are now. But you get really good RB's drafted low all the time now.

But I'm starting to think that getting a really talented RB every few years can have more bang for your buck because of the potency that it gives your offense. We probably would have been much better with a RB this season that allowed us to close out games. With the RB, I'm thinking that you draft high occasionally even when the position isn't a need just to stockpile that position and make absolutely sure that your running game will be top-notch. If you've got 1 good RB, draft a couple more. If you've got 3 good RB's, then don't draft one that year unless a great one falls to you.

The main thing about the draft is really just identifying your own needs and assigning weights to those needs. But I just think the RB should carry a higher weight than the NFL is currently giving to it.

This year, I want to shore up the interior of our offensive line, get a really good FS, and get at least one RB capable of starting. And not necessarily in that order.
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Old 01-18-2010   #6
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Default Re: Why I am against taking RBs high in the draft

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Originally Posted by WolverineFan View Post
I agree. I am against taking RB's in the 1st unless they are Adrian Peterson type quality. There is nobody in this draft with that kind of talent. Many of the RB's in the league that are successful right now were not drafted in the 1st round. RB is the easiest position to translate to from college to the pro's. I would rather draft a DB or D-Lineman.
First off, I'm not saying it has to be 1st round. "High in the draft" means first two (maybe three) rounds to me.

Here's the top 10 rushers in the NFL this year:

Chris Johnson - 1st round
Steven Jackson - 1st round
Thomas Jones - 1st round
Maurice Jones-Drew - 2nd round
Adrian Peterson - 1st round
Ray Rice - 2nd round
Ryan Grant - Undrafted?
Cedric Benson - 1st round
Jonathon Stewart - 1st round
Rickey Williams - 1st round


Most of them drafted high. Even if you extend it out to the top 15 or top 20, most of the guys are drafted in the 1st round, then the 2nd and 3rd rounds and then the lower rounds start showing up.

Now, I'm a Connor Barwin fan and I think that was a good pick but how much better would our offense have been with Shonn Greene in that spot?
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Old 01-18-2010   #7
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Default Re: Why I am against taking RBs high in the draft

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Originally Posted by The Pencil Neck View Post
First off, I'm not saying it has to be 1st round. "High in the draft" means first two (maybe three) rounds to me.

Here's the top 10 rushers in the NFL this year:

Chris Johnson - 1st round
Steven Jackson - 1st round
Thomas Jones - 1st round
Maurice Jones-Drew - 2nd round
Adrian Peterson - 1st round
Ray Rice - 2nd round
Ryan Grant - Undrafted?
Cedric Benson - 1st round
Jonathon Stewart - 1st round
Rickey Williams - 1st round


Most of them drafted high. Even if you extend it out to the top 15 or top 20, most of the guys are drafted in the 1st round, then the 2nd and 3rd rounds and then the lower rounds start showing up.

Now, I'm a Connor Barwin fan and I think that was a good pick but how much better would our offense have been with Shonn Greene in that spot?
You forgot Deangelo Williams...I think he was a first rounder also...
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Old 01-18-2010   #8
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Default Re: Why I am against taking RBs high in the draft

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You forgot Deangelo Williams...I think he was a first rounder also...
He finished 13th. I was only doing the top 10.
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Old 01-18-2010   #9
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Default Re: Why I am against taking RBs high in the draft

Yes your RB is going to take a beating and likely be completely useless in 5-6 years. That's why he's the last piece of the puzzle you pick up. I look at the Texans and wonder how many more years Andre Johnson will play in the league. He's played 7 years already and this wonderful ride he's on could end in one play. Matt Schaub is putting up "should have gone to the Pro Bowl" numbers now. The offensive line could use a little help but they are capable of protecting him and a running game would go a long, long way toward keeping the pass rush from eating him alive.

It's time to draft a running back. Taking one in the first round this year would be (IMO) actually a little late. We could have picked up Benson in 2008 and not had to go through using a draft pick. We didn't and we won't likely get another shot at a franchise running back with so few miles on him again. We'll end up having to draft somebody and while I generally agree with the points you made to reach your conclusion I don't agree with never taking a RB early. There's a time to make that move and for the Texans it's very much now.
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Old 01-19-2010   #10
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Default Re: Why I am against taking RBs high in the draft

it happens at some point in a franchise history when a special player is there you take him regardless of position.
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Old 01-19-2010   #11
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Talking Re: Why I am against taking RBs high in the draft

what do we do when Dan Williams, Brian Price, C.J. Spiller, Dez Bryant are all on the board when we pick?
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Old 01-19-2010   #12
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Default Re: Why I am against taking RBs high in the draft

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what do we do when Dan Williams, Brian Price, C.J. Spiller, Dez Bryant are all on the board when we pick?
Strictly my opinions:
Dan Williams (Unless we get a FA but I doubt it since they went after A. Smith for the DL last year)
Dez Bryant (he is a game changer and would allow us to drop a few WRs)
C.J. Spiller (Best player left out of these 4)
Brian Price (Least of the 4 I want b/c I think he is the same as Amobi and wouldn't satisfy our need at the other DT spot)
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Old 01-19-2010   #13
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Default Re: Why I am against taking RBs high in the draft

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Originally Posted by The Pencil Neck View Post
Now, I'm a Connor Barwin fan and I think that was a good pick but how much better would our offense have been with Shonn Greene in that spot?
Probably not that much better - The Texans OL couldnt push around a line consisting of grandmothers .... They did pretty well pass blocking but they cant get a yard when they absolutely have to. All too often defenses got penetration or just flat out stonewalled them on short yardage rushing plays.


Until they fix the interior OL it wont matter if they draft the next Earl Campbell ....
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Old 01-19-2010   #14
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Default Re: Why I am against taking RBs high in the draft

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Originally Posted by Hervoyel View Post
Yes your RB is going to take a beating and likely be completely useless in 5-6 years. That's why he's the last piece of the puzzle you pick up.
Condensed

There's a time to make that move and for the Texans it's very much now.
I agree that RB is best left until the other things are in place due to shelf life.


I agree that there is a time to make that move.


Im not sure that I agree that now is that time because I think the majority of the troubles in the Texans ground attack are related to the interior OL.

Unless they can upgrade two of the three interior OL spots via draft or FA I'm not sold on the idea of an early round RB - especially in a draft devoid of "Special Players" at the position.
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Old 01-19-2010   #15
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Default Re: Why I am against taking RBs high in the draft

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Originally Posted by Corrosion View Post
Probably not that much better - The Texans OL couldnt push around a line consisting of grandmothers .... They did pretty well pass blocking but they cant get a yard when they absolutely have to. All too often defenses got penetration or just flat out stonewalled them on short yardage rushing plays.


Until they fix the interior OL it wont matter if they draft the next Earl Campbell ....
That would take years off your RB , because he would take a lot of hits . The ideal situation is like Franco Harris had it . He got his five yards then headed for the sideline .
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Old 01-19-2010   #16
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Default Re: Why I am against taking RBs high in the draft

I'm in agreement with most of you. I'd pretty much only take a 1st rd running back in a few instances:

ELITE talent - By that I mean you know he's going to be an Adrian Peterson or Chris Johnson. A guy that can tote the rock a ton AND has the ability to take to the house in any give play... continually throughout the season.

DOMINANT OL - I'm a big believer of building through the trenches on both Offense and Defense (for longterm success). A RB with a great OL can look like an all star. An elite RB (top 5-10 pick) may be able to mask some of a weak OL's deficiencies but a "1st / 2nd rd grade" RB probably can't on a consistent basis. IMO, an O-lineman is like a diesel... they take longer to get warmed up but once they do they'll last you forever. RB's can make the transition into the pros a lot quicker.

Theoretically, the earlier a player goes in the draft, the quicker they should be able to produce. Likewise, the later a player goes, the longer it takes them to get NFL game ready. I'd rather have the OL being groomed and learning the system while we're spending early picks on CB, LB, DL, etc. and then when the OL is ready get an early RB. Otherwise if you draft an early RB (that's not elite), you are having him run behind a mediocre OL so he can't produce as much, you're taking an O-lineman that theoretically takes longer to get game ready (prolonging the time of impact for the OL, thus RB to have open holes to run through) and your not addressing the other positions with 1st round calibre players that can make instant impact.
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Old 01-19-2010   #17
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Default Re: Why I am against taking RBs high in the draft

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Originally Posted by awtysst View Post
If you have seen any of my mock drafts over the last few years you will notice that I do not like to take RBs high. With the Texans in the 19th or 20th spot in the draft some people think we should go after Spiller, Best, or Dywer with our first pick. I have long maintained that is a bad move and now, I would like to explain to you why I feel this way.

The running back position is the most violent in the game. Numerous times per game the rb is hit and tackled by linebackers or Dlineman. The life of the average running back is far shorter than it is at any other position. But even beyond the average running back, good to outstanding running backs wear out quicker than other positions.

Lets look at an example: LaDainian Tomlinson. I would say he was an excellent running back? Wouldn't you? For six seasons he was a terror. Look at the stats:
2002: 1683
2003: 1645
2004: 1335
2005: 1462
2006: 1815
2007: 1474

These are HUGE numbers. Add in his receptions and tds and you can see he made a monster impact over 6 seasons. The problem is though that once he neared 30 his production went WAY down. Last year he only 1110 yds rushing and this year an anemic 730 yards. Even the excellent running backs wear out pretty fast.

So, lets say you are back in 2001. You have a crystal ball and can see the future. Would you take Tomlinson over: Richard Seymour, Steve Hutchinson, Casey Hampton, Reggie Wayne, or Todd Heap? In fact there were two other Pro Bowl RBs taken in the 2001 NFL draft: Michael Bennett and Deuce McCalister. They had great numbers for a while too. Would you take either of them over the before mentioned players. I would not.

So, my point is, even if you strike gold and select Tomlinson in the draft, in about 7 years or so, taking the DT, OG, WR, or TE may be a better move for your franchise. It certainly looks like it for the these teams.

I look forward to reading your comments and thoughts about this matter.
As we have discussed before I disagree with your position. Longevity for me is not the primary issue but bang for the buck. DE, DT, Oline, defensive backs and linebackers (both) and QB often do not exhibit their peak performance for 2-3 years. Running backs on the other hand usually hit the field running. I think more so than any other position, backs are more productive the first 3-4 years than the remainder. A RB, WR, QB and occasionally a tight end puts points on the board and brings fans to the stadium. For a team like ours for this last season and for next, we are positioned to become a fixture in the playoffs. Smith and Kubiac prior to the last two seasons identified Texans had PRIORITY needs of 1. getting a DE to free up Mario. We signed Antonio SMith and drafted Barwin 2. reducing turn overs. We did that very well despite RB fumble issues 3. stop the opponents running game. After, the first three games, our D pretty much shut the run down (despite my wish for a huge NT) 4. put a back on the roster that could move the pile, score in Red Zone and get the first down on short yardage. We have thrown one medically challenged free agent after another with minimal succcess. Super Slick Slaton was 3rd round that either outplayed his talent first year or was actually ony a good player but not great. I personally believe losing two starting guards and a pro bowl TE effected his season.

We have accomplished all of the four except the last. If we can get it resolved with a 7th rounder, fantastic. We did get a starting LB (Diles) there. To me the major problem with "getting (fill in the blank position)"later rounds is no guarantee that player will be there. There are differing opinions if Oline is problem or RB. Why is that an issue? Get both! We are in a unique position this off season to fill each weak spot with a significant improvement.
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Old 01-19-2010   #18
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Default Re: Why I am against taking RBs high in the draft

just a couple of comments....you don't draft a player based on what you think you will get out of him 8 years from now. You get a guy who can play up to his draft position since the money is obscene early in the draft. Most Coaches won't even be with the same teams 8 years from now.

If you have a force holding the ball, everybody is a better player. A dynamic feature back and elite QB's make the difference when two squads are otherwise evenly matched.
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Old 01-19-2010   #19
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Default Re: Why I am against taking RBs high in the draft

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I'm in agreement with most of you. I'd pretty much only take a 1st rd running back in a few instances:

ELITE talent - By that I mean you know he's going to be an Adrian Peterson or Chris Johnson. A guy that can tote the rock a ton AND has the ability to take to the house in any give play... continually throughout the season.

DOMINANT OL - I'm a big believer of building through the trenches on both Offense and Defense (for longterm success). A RB with a great OL can look like an all star. An elite RB (top 5-10 pick) may be able to mask some of a weak OL's deficiencies but a "1st / 2nd rd grade" RB probably can't on a consistent basis. IMO, an O-lineman is like a diesel... they take longer to get warmed up but once they do they'll last you forever. RB's can make the transition into the pros a lot quicker.

Theoretically, the earlier a player goes in the draft, the quicker they should be able to produce. Likewise, the later a player goes, the longer it takes them to get NFL game ready. I'd rather have the OL being groomed and learning the system while we're spending early picks on CB, LB, DL, etc. and then when the OL is ready get an early RB. Otherwise if you draft an early RB (that's not elite), you are having him run behind a mediocre OL so he can't produce as much, you're taking an O-lineman that theoretically takes longer to get game ready (prolonging the time of impact for the OL, thus RB to have open holes to run through) and your not addressing the other positions with 1st round calibre players that can make instant impact.
Does this apply to 2010 Texans? I think not. We have two solid if not great OTs, our RG for next season will probably be veteran Briesel or 2nd year Caldwell who now has starter experience. Our center will be Myers regardless of who we draft, until Kubiac is comfortable that Myers play calling for the line is replaceable. I don't see Caldwell there but is possible. Pitts has a good chance of being back and if healthy probably has lost little. IMO, we should have a seasoned Oline for backs to run behind as did Slaton his rookie season. It is time to draft a big back like Gerhart or Dwyer. They each stand out above their competition at "big back". Neither will be available imo when we draft in 2nd round but neither will Iupati. If FS Earl Thomas is not there #20, we should draft Gerhart (mine) or Dwyer as other possible backs may not be there "later". Glen Coffee anyone? Asamoah from Illinois, Johnson from Alabama or Mitch Petrus are guards who will be there in 2nd round and can handle ZBS. I can see either as a starter ala Duane Brown if Pitts or another FA not signed.
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Old 01-19-2010   #20
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Default Re: Why I am against taking RBs high in the draft

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[/b] Does this apply to 2010 Texans? I think not. We have two solid if not great OTs, our RG for next season will probably be veteran Briesel or 2nd year Caldwell who now has starter experience. Our center will be Myers regardless of who we draft, until Kubiac is comfortable that Myers play calling for the line is replaceable. I don't see Caldwell there but is possible. Pitts has a good chance of being back and if healthy probably has lost little. IMO, we should have a seasoned Oline for backs to run behind as did Slaton his rookie season. It is time to draft a big back like Gerhart or Dwyer. They each stand out above their competition at "big back". Neither will be available imo when we draft in 2nd round but neither will Iupati. If FS Earl Thomas is not there #20, we should draft Gerhart (mine) or Dwyer as other possible backs may not be there "later". Glen Coffee anyone? Asamoah from Illinois, Johnson from Alabama or Mitch Petrus are guards who will be there in 2nd round and can handle ZBS. I can see either as a starter ala Duane Brown if Pitts or another FA not signed.
I think, barring a trade down, we're going to get a playmaker in the 1st round (FS,CB,RB...maaaybe WR) or we're going to get a DT. I don't know how the front office veiws the pressure of this being Kubiak's contract year but as fans we feel the urgency that they get the running game going at all costs (screw ANY development players, each early draft pick must make a huge contribution). I don't think we're going OL with the #20 pick, I really don't. I think the FO is desperate to add another gamechanger to this team.

I think you're dead on with our OL situation though. Brisiel/Pitts/Myers/Caldwell. If we could add a bonafide starter through FA, it frees up our draft SO much. I think if they franchise/extend Dunta, it frees up the Draft A LOT. Our OL/Running Game should be better next year than this year, strictly due to the assumption Brisiel/Pitts will be healthy.

I think if there wasn't this added pressure of year 5 for Kubiak, our draft would go in a different direction. I'm afraid (no, anxious) of this draft... yet optimistic though that we're going to add some real players early in the draft and possibly in FA.
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