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    • michael89156

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      Top 10 Reasons Running Backs are no Longer First Round Picks Craig KeolanuiMay 18, 2014rb0_zpsd500d9cc.jpgJohn Rieger/USA TODAY Sports ImagesThe NFL has changed through the years. First down plays are no longer guaranteed runs and it is now common to see 3-receiver formations on second down, short yardage situations and even on first down. The league is about passing the football on offense and the NFL Draft has changed along with the changes on offense.The top running backs with all the inflated numbers from the time spent in college as the beneficiaries of run-oriented attacks, are no longer some of the top picks in the NFL Draft. In fact, the last four NFL Drafts have only produced seven running backs who were selected with first round picks. Several years back, it would be more commonplace to see seven running backs get selected in the first round of just one year of the NFL Draft.Rushing totals have remained remarkably similar through the years, but passing totals have taken off to heights never seen before. This offensive explosion in the passing game, has ultimately diminished the need to draft running backs in the first round of the draft. The following 10 reasons are all factors contributing to the decline in draft status for the top collegiate running backs.rb_zps38ac22fc.jpgEvan Habeeb/USA TODAY Sports Images10. Running Back by CommitteeNow, more than ever, many teams are using two or more running backs to do the work that a single back used to do in the past. Teams are looking for running backs that fit into certain formations or sets as opposed to drafting the workhorse ball carriers that used to define the game. The running backs who have experience catching footballs out of the backfield or blocking a blitzing linebacker are more readily available in the later rounds of the draft.Consider the San Diego Chargers who had a 1,255 yard rusher in Ryan Mathews. Their backup running back, Danny Woodhead, carried the ball 106 times and caught 76 passes. Woodhead was targeted 86 times with passes, making it just about 200 times his number was called on offense. This is quite substantial work for a backup on a team that had a 1,000 yard rusher who had 285 rushing attempts of his own. Although Mathews was a first round pick, Woodhead went undrafted out of Chadron State. Despite the production by Mathews, there are still many Charger fans who consider his selection and the moving up the Chargers did in the draft to be unnecessary.rb9_zps150203b5.jpgMark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images9. The Reduced Role of the Modern FullbackThe traditional blocking fullback is no longer a staple on an increasing number of running plays. Running plays are now routinely run in 3 and 4 receiver sets where big receivers can tie up defensive backs and guards or tackles can pull to lead the way. Deception has worked to diminish the role of the fullback, leading to fewer fullbacks being sought in the NFL draft. Backup fullbacks can easily be backup tight ends, becoming more valuable to use in motion as well as multiple receiver sets.This reduced role of the fullback in the NFL has led many GMs to look for running backs who have been successful running in single-back formations or multiple receiver sets. It has become harder and harder for the typical Heisman Trophy candidate running back to have the same impact in the NFL with fewer blockers leading the way. Thus, the big numbers put up by featured backs in college are no longer as enticing to look at in the first round.rb8_zpse1427997.jpgJeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports Images8. The No Juking LeagueThe speed of the NFL has never been as pronounced as it is today. Defensive ends and outside linebackers now routinely post 40-yard dash times that shatter the times of some of the faster wide receivers of the past. Due to this speed on defense, running in the NFL has become much more of a North-South type of affair with the reversing direction and cutback plays that account for big yardage in college a thing of the past.Consider Alabama running backs Trent Richardson, Mark Ingram and Eddie Lacy. The blue-collar runner of the group would be Lacy, who had only 2,402 yards rushing in college. Despite both having over 3,000 yards rushing in college, Richardson and Ingram, with arguably more speed than Lacy, might both have fewer NFL yards than Lacy at the end of 2014 (Lacy’s second NFL season).Many of the running backs that come into the NFL Draft with gaudy rushing numbers from college seldom experience the same level of success in the NFL. The open field is limited, the defenders too fast and the initial holes to run through too small. Longer runs are almost non-existent. This has made it hard to justify using a first round pick on a running back who was able to elude defenders, break tackles or make people miss in college.rb7_zps4d9b7423.jpgAndrew Weber/USA TODAY Sports Images7. The Short Career of Running BacksThe career of running backs has always been relatively short when compared to most other positions on the football field. Since running backs typically absorb more hits than any other player throughout the year, their bodies don’t last. Out of the seven running backs that have been selected in the first round of the NFL Draft since 2010, three of them have battled injuries. Doug Martin missed most of last season, Ryan Mathews battled injuries in 2012 and Jahvid Best was forced to retire in 2011. The risk of injury makes it hard to justify using a first round selection on a player who might not even be able to make it through a 16 game NFL season.There is a big enough difference in the rookie contracts given to first round draft choices compared to players who are selected in the second or later rounds. Two running backs can be drafted in the later rounds for the cost of one drafted in the first round. The risk of drafting a player who can easily fall victim to a serious injury makes it no longer worth taking the chance with a costly and valuable first round pick.rb6_zpscd4ff1be.jpgMark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images6. Defensive Nickel and Dime PackagesStandard 4-3 and 3-4 base defensive sets can be seen on fewer plays these days. Now, substitutions come after an offense picks up only two yards on first down. This has created the need for NFL teams to acquire extra defensive personnel in response to the multiple passing formations that have made third and long situations full of more receivers than a standard four or even five member secondary can handle. Safeties, cornerbacks and situational speed rushers are now constantly shuffled on and off the field.Safeties and cornerbacks alone accounted for seven of the thirty two first round picks in the 2013 NFL Draft. It has become essential to have two additional “starter quality” corners and safeties who can cover slot receivers. Add in at least one situational pass rusher at either defensive tackle or end and a typical NFL defense now includes about 14-15 essential players. As a consequence, valuable first round picks have been used to draft defensive players to fill these vital roster spots, bumping good running backs further down the list.rb5_zps89605dbc.jpgRon Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports Images5. The Three Receiver SetThe NFL offensive formations have changed considerably from the days of two back, two receiver and one tight end offensive sets. Every team in the league has a three receiver and four receiver offensive set. Many teams will use three receiver formations regardless of the down and distance to get a first down. Even on third and short situations, it has become commonplace to see passing formations out on the field. Many of these formations are even used to create favorable opportunities in the running game.Whether it is a passing play or a formation used to create more favorable match-ups and space for running the ball, these passing sets require more depth on NFL rosters for wide receivers. Outside receivers, slot receivers and even speedy bulked up receivers posing as tight ends have all become important considerations when it comes to draft day. The running back is no longer an essential component in a great number of offensive plays.rb4_zps4564c5e7.jpgDerick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports Images4. The Meteoric Rise of the Passing GameAs mentioned, the NFL has become more of a passing league. While running the football still takes precedence in college, it is all about the aerial attack in the NFL. In 1993, two teams passed for over 4,000 yards in a season, while 13 teams threw for at least 4,000 yards in 2013. The average passing yards for a season increased from 3,210 to 3,770 in the last 20 years. Even the average passing attempts per season has increased from 515 in 1993 to 567 in 2013. The passing game has simply become more of a focal point of most NFL offenses.All this statistical improvement and yet 1993 had some of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history slinging the ball through the air. Joe Montana, Dan Marino, John Elway and Jim Kelly were no strangers to throwing the football, yet their numbers do not measure up to some of the numbers that Drew Brees and Tom Brady put up today. The game has changed to the point where a very good collegiate receiver is now more valuable than a great Heisman Trophy winning running back.rb3_zps4f1e25ff.jpgGeoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports Images3. Alfred Morris and Eddie LacyThe 2013 draft stands as proof that there is no need to select a running back in the first round of the NFL draft. Second round selection, Eddie Lacy, led all rookie rushers with 1,178 yards, while Zac Stacy (973 yards rushing) and Le’Veon Bell (860 yards rushing) were not too far behind. Zac Stacy was a fifth round draft choice by the way. The success of running backs selected in later rounds has make it easier for teams to attend to other needs before selecting a running back.Alfred Morris of the Washington Redskins was selected with a sixth round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. He has gained close to 3,000 yards rushing in only two seasons of play. In the NFL, there can often be very undetectable differences between the top 20-30 running backs that end up getting selected each year. As more successful running backs have been getting picked up in the later rounds, there is no rush to select one of them sooner. The risk is high, the cost is higher and the ability to run in the NFL is unproven, so why waste a first round selection on a running back?rb2_zpsf85df282.jpgWinslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images2. Lack of Production from Recent First Round PicksSince 2010, there have been only seven running backs selected in the first round. The results produced from those high draft selections have been far from spectacular. In 2010, C.J. Spiller, Ryan Mathews and Jahvid Best were first round draft picks. Ryan Mathews has been the only one to experience a good measure of success with two seasons of rushing for over 1,000 yards. Mark Ingram was taken in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft and has struggled to make an impact in big games.The 2012 NFL Draft had three running backs going in the first round, much like in 2010. Trent Richardson was a high draft pick, while David Wilson and Doug Martin were selected at the end of the first round. Doug Martin had the best year of all seven running backs with 1,454 yards of rushing in the 2013 season, however, Wilson and Richardson have pretty much been busts. In the last four years, there has been very little reward in selecting running backs with first round picks.rbone_zpse076eaf7.jpgDenny Medley/USA TODAY Sports Images1. The Tackle and Pass Rushing Defensive EndThe first round of the NFL draft has become the round for teams to take care of two essentials needs. Since the passing game has taken center stage, it has become more important to look for tackles and pass rushing defensive ends or linebackers. These positions have never been as popular as they are today. The outside linebackers and defensive ends who run a 4.5 second 40-yard dash are as coveted as the men who are counted upon to block them with their nimble feet and 300 plus pound bodies. These are the new game changers in the NFL.In the 2013 NFL Draft, the top six picks of the draft were either offensive tackles or defensive ends. In the first round alone, there were five tackles selected and seven defensive ends or outside linebackers picked for what amounts to two positions out of the 22 starters on any NFL football team.http://www.therichest.com/sports/football-sports/top-10-reasons-running-backs-are-no-longer-first-round-picks/10/

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    • Anonymous

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      The reasons RBs are not as valued is outside of AP – every running back is within the same range of ability and they never last long.  I suppose if one comes along that is a sure fire blow up the league guy then maybe they will get drafted in the first round but there won’t be many going forward.  Look at Devonte Freeman from FSU.  He’s going to be a great RB for Atlanta, he wasn’t taken until the 3rd round I believe. 

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    • gobucs123

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      …great career move by James WIlder Jr to refuse to play LB and demand to play RB …..or not.

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    • Anonymous

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      I could see someone taking Gurley out of UGA with a low 1st next year if he stays healthy this year.

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    • Anonymous

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      Don’t know why Spiller is on there, he’s one the best in the league.

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    • Anonymous

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      The reasons RBs are not as valued is outside of AP - every running back is within the same range of ability and they never last long.  I suppose if one comes along that is a sure fire blow up the league guy then maybe they will get drafted in the first round but there won't be many going forward.  Look at Devonte Freeman from FSU.  He's going to be a great RB for Atlanta, he wasn't taken until the 3rd round I believe.

      Thing is TRich was the last "sure fire can't miss" guy and we've seen how that looks.Real problem is that the spread between meh and good RB's is so small - we are used to looking at 4.7 vs 4.2 ypc and thinking it is a big gap but that is about a foot and a half per carry. You are far better off in the NFL with 3 minimum wage guys getting you around 4.2 ypc than paying a stud $8m - $10m per for 4.7 ypc. Toss in that no RB in the NFL averaged 20 carries per game so you figure the gap per game between 4.7 at say 18 carries per game ant 4.2 is about 9 yards per game.

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    • Anonymous

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      I generally agree but still don’t think it’s the worst thing in the world if you’re a good team to pick a RB at the end of the 1st. If you’re picking in the bottom of the 1st it means you already have a good QB and probably have a good defense. If you’re trying to cash in and win the Super Bowl in the next three years, why not pick the best RB in a class rather than the fifth best defensive end or wide receiver? But obviously if you don’t have a good QB, picking a RB high is about as stupid as it gets.

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    • Anonymous

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      I generally agree but still don't think it's the worst thing in the world if you're a good team to pick a RB at the end of the 1st. If you're picking in the bottom of the 1st it means you already have a good QB and probably have a good defense. If you're trying to cash in and win the Super Bowl in the next three years, why not pick the best RB in a class rather than the fifth best defensive end or wide receiver? But obviously if you don't have a good QB, picking a RB high is about as stupid as it gets.

      My thoughts exactly.  I think every once in awhile there may be a guy we talk about from February to draft and debate on if he will go round 1.  I honestly think, barring injury, there could be one next year.

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    • Anonymous

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      Martin was lucky to be drafted in the first.I don't see the value of drafting a RB at the bottom of the first either.  Teams are still loading up on premium positions that have players falling (QB, CB, DE) or loading up on non premium positions of greater importance than a RB (Guards, safties, wide receivers, etc).

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    • Anonymous

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      I don't see the value of drafting a RB at the bottom of the first either. 

      The only value is 1st rounders come with a 5th year option so they are more cap friendly.

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    • Anonymous

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      I don't see the value of drafting a RB at the bottom of the first either. 

      The only value is 1st rounders come with a 5th year option so they are more cap friendly.

      If you ignore the fact that you can find capable RB replacements late in the draft or UDFA's.  Having a RB under contract a fifth year is not that significant especially if the shelf life of an average RB is 3-4 years max.  QB, DL, OL which have longer average careers tend to be worthwhile as first rounders,  CB is debatable but most corners don't hit that will till their 30's which means they are looking for their second non rookie contract.

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    • Anonymous

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      I don't see the value of drafting a RB at the bottom of the first either. 

      The only value is 1st rounders come with a 5th year option so they are more cap friendly.

      If you ignore the fact that you can find capable RB replacements late in the draft or UDFA's.  Having a RB under contract a fifth year is not that significant especially if the shelf life of an average RB is 3-4 years max.  QB, DL, OL which have longer average careers tend to be worthwhile as first rounders,  CB is debatable but most corners don't hit that will till their 30's which means they are looking for their second non rookie contract.

      I merely stated a fact. You'd have to take it up with Dominik as to why he felt it was worth it.

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    • Anonymous

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      I generally agree but still don't think it's the worst thing in the world if you're a good team to pick a RB at the end of the 1st. If you're picking in the bottom of the 1st it means you already have a good QB and probably have a good defense. If you're trying to cash in and win the Super Bowl in the next three years, why not pick the best RB in a class rather than the fifth best defensive end or wide receiver? But obviously if you don't have a good QB, picking a RB high is about as stupid as it gets.

      I think this is where RBs will get picked, still should not because they still don't matter that way, but teams that feel like they have everything else will take a shot at RB.

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    • Anonymous

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      I don't see the value of drafting a RB at the bottom of the first either. 

      The only value is 1st rounders come with a 5th year option so they are more cap friendly.

      If you ignore the fact that you can find capable RB replacements late in the draft or UDFA's.  Having a RB under contract a fifth year is not that significant especially if the shelf life of an average RB is 3-4 years max.  QB, DL, OL which have longer average careers tend to be worthwhile as first rounders,  CB is debatable but most corners don't hit that will till their 30's which means they are looking for their second non rookie contract.

      Really if you look at it you should never pay an RB that second contract so maybe having a 5th year at a pretty cheap salary works for you. 

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    • Anonymous

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      The league goes through phases. In due time when DBs play like DBs, the stock of RBs will go up.

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    • Anonymous

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      The league goes through phases. In due time when DBs play like DBs, the stock of RBs will go up.

      I agree. When every one is loaded up to stop the pass, it is time to have a good running game. That said, I love the Sims pick because we can use him to run or catch. I also think he will extend the the usefulness of Martin and make Martin a more effective RB.

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    • Anonymous

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      The league goes through phases. In due time when DBs play like DBs, the stock of RBs will go up.

      The NFL has been about passing and defense for a long, long time. It's just taken people a while to realize it.

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    • Anonymous

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      Yeah. I hope we can see some M. Pittman in Sims.

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    • Anonymous

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      Yeah. I hope we can see some M. Pittman in Sims.

      But no hummers or henpecking.

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    • vlagatta

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      The league goes through phases. In due time when DBs play like DBs, the stock of RBs will go up.

      Agreed.  Everything is cyclical.  We may even see the reemergence of the bulking, bruising, gigantic full-back one day.

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    • Anonymous

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      The league goes through phases. In due time when DBs play like DBs, the stock of RBs will go up.

      Agreed.  Everything is cyclical.  We may even see the reemergence of the bulking, bruising, gigantic full-back one day.

      Not likely IMO.  Everything is slanted toward the passing game. The league feels that is what sells to the viewing public. And in turn, they can then sell TV rights for 10 zillion dollars.Unless they drastically change the rules down the road, to favor the run game, I don't think we will see the reemergence of 5 yards and a cloud of dust. Not in my lifetime anyway.

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    • Anonymous

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      The league goes through phases. In due time when DBs play like DBs, the stock of RBs will go up.

      Agreed.  Everything is cyclical.  We may even see the reemergence of the bulking, bruising, gigantic full-back one day.

      The  problem isn't a lack of focus on the run game it is that the player at that spot doesn't have much to differentiate them.  Even teams that want to run a lot don't need to invest in a high rent running back.

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    • Anonymous

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      Yeah. I hope we can see some M. Pittman in Sims.

      It's a good comparison.  High cut runner that goes down on contact but is a good receiver.

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    • Anonymous

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      I liked Pittman a good deal.He is an excellent third down back, particularly on third and four type scenarios.

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    • Anonymous

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      Yeah. I hope we can see some M. Pittman in Sims.

      It's a good comparison.  High cut runner that goes down on contact but is a good receiver.

      better balance, better runner. But agree, breaking tackles isn't a big attribute.

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    • Anonymous

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      How do you know if Sims is a better runner than Puttman?  Their college stats are pretty similar.

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    • Anonymous

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      How do you know if Sims is a better runner than Puttman?  Their college stats are pretty similar.

      I don't "know" for certain, but I do know that "college stats" won't really tell me anything about their abilities to be pro runners. I've seen Pittman run though, and I've seen Sims run in college. Pittman was basically "see the hole, run through it as fast as possible" guy. In the pros (at least in Tampa), he mostly ran draws - in part, because those are the types of runs teams make on 3rd and long (and he was in those situations a lot because of his pass-blocking and receiving skills). But I suspect he was good at it because the holes were easy for him to identify. For a strong guy, he also went down extremely easy. If you watch some of the full-game videos of Sims, you'll occasionally see goal-line camera angles. You can see him setting up defenders beyond the guy immediately in front of him - the kid has some vision too him, and he has more wiggle.

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    • Anonymous

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      Oh I agree Pittman had his flaws as a runner in the pros but to already declare Sims as being better is unfounded.  It’s only fair to compare their college careers and Pittman was pretty good at that level himself.  Neither guy played against elite college defenses on a consistent basis so I’d say the level of competition is pretty even as well.

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    • Anonymous

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      Oh I agree Pittman had his flaws as a runner in the pros but to already declare Sims as being better is unfounded.  It's only fair to compare their college careers and Pittman was pretty good at that level himself.  Neither guy played against elite college defenses on a consistent basis so I'd say the level of competition is pretty even as well.

      It's not "unfounded" - it's based on what I see, and really "level of competition" never enters into the equation. You don't like it, tough. 

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    • Anonymous

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      Did you watch much Pittman at Fresno State? 

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    • Anonymous

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      If Sims can pan out to be a 4 ypc back lick Pittman was, who can block like he means it, and can catch like a receiver, he is WELL worth the investment, IMO.

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    • Anonymous

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      If Sims can pan out to be a 4 ypc back lick Pittman was, who can block like he means it, and can catch like a receiver, he is WELL worth the investment, IMO.

      agreed.  Don’t hate the pick.  But he probably isn’t Matt Forte as a runner.

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    • Anonymous

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      Did you watch much Pittman at Fresno State?

      More than a smattering of clips, no. But I can tell you from watching Mike Pittman play in the pros that a) he wasn't an instinctive runner; b) lacked vision; c) didn't have great balance. Those are traits - you don't learn to have vision in the pros, and you don't become instinctive.  Heck, he was once described as having the vision of Mr. Magoo, and often ran right up the back of his blockers. He was a great blocker and a great pass catcher, and he was valuable to the Bucs. Will Sims be as valuable to this team? I don't know - but he's a much more natural runner than Pittman was. Sorry if you can't see that.

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    • Anonymous

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      He might be but all I’m saying is every RB in the pros was very good in college but that doesn’t mean they will all be great runners in the pros.  Just a little early for me to say he’s better.

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    • Anonymous

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      He might be but all I'm saying is every RB in the pros was very good in college but that doesn't mean they will all be great runners in the pros.  Just a little early for me to say he's better.

      Exactly, which is why I'm looking at traits and ignoring the side show of college stats.

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    • Anonymous

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      I think you’re both right. While it’s widely accepted Pittman had poor vision and wasn’t a natural runner, he still had a 10-year career and put up numbers comparable to most running backs that have “vision”. It’s not easy to have as good a career as he did whether you have vision or not.

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    • Anonymous

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      If Sims can pan out to be a 4 ypc back lick Pittman was, who can block like he means it, and can catch like a receiver, he is WELL worth the investment, IMO.

        But he probably isn't Matt Forte as a runner.

      Most likely, no.But then again, not many are.

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    • Anonymous

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      I think you're both right. While it's widely accepted Pittman had poor vision and wasn't a natural runner, he still had a 10-year career and put up numbers comparable to most running backs that have "vision". It's not easy to have as good a career as he did whether you have vision or not.

      A couple of things... - his trump card was his single-minded pursuit of daylight when he saw it, and his general athleticism. It's why he was so successful in draw situations - easy recognition - and why he was used almost exclusively as a 3rd down back once we got Caddy. It's why Denver pursued him late in his career to run in their ZBS.- Whenever he was asked to be the bell cow, he was pretty much a failure. His "best" season as the lead back came in 2004, but that's only if you look at conventional stats (4.2 ypc). When you adjust for things like defenses, he rated much worse. Football Outsiders ranked him as the 37th best back (DYAR); 36th if you prefer (DVOA), with a success rate of just 43% (34th overall). - He carved out a nice career because he was great at 2 out of the 3 things he needed to do to stay in the pros and was able to transform his role.  A comparable, more high profile player might be Keith Byers, who went from big-time college running back, who like Pittman was basically a sub-4.0 running back when asked to carry 100+ times, but turned into arguably the best blocking RB of his day and a valuable weapon as a  receiver. 

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    • Anonymous

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      I think you're both right. While it's widely accepted Pittman had poor vision and wasn't a natural runner, he still had a 10-year career and put up numbers comparable to most running backs that have "vision". It's not easy to have as good a career as he did whether you have vision or not.

      A couple of things... - his trump card was his single-minded pursuit of daylight when he saw it, and his general athleticism. It's why he was so successful in draw situations - easy recognition - and why he was used almost exclusively as a 3rd down back once we got Caddy. It's why Denver pursued him late in his career to run in their ZBS.- Whenever he was asked to be the bell cow, he was pretty much a failure. His "best" season as the lead back came in 2004, but that's only if you look at conventional stats (4.2 ypc). When you adjust for things like defenses, he rated much worse. Football Outsiders ranked him as the 37th best back (DYAR); 36th if you prefer (DVOA), with a success rate of just 43% (34th overall). - He carved out a nice career because he was great at 2 out of the 3 things he needed to do to stay in the pros and was able to transform his role.  A comparable, more high profile player might be Keith Byers, who went from big-time college running back, who like Pittman was basically a sub-4.0 running back when asked to carry 100+ times, but turned into arguably the best blocking RB of his day and a valuable weapon as a  receiver.

      So is there a player who is a good comparison to Sims and what he does well?

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    • Anonymous

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      Did you watch much Pittman at Fresno State?

      More than a smattering of clips, no. But I can tell you from watching Mike Pittman play in the pros that a) he wasn't an instinctive runner; b) lacked vision; c) didn't have great balance. Those are traits - you don't learn to have vision in the pros, and you don't become instinctive.  Heck, he was once described as having the vision of Mr. Magoo, and often ran right up the back of his blockers. He was a great blocker and a great pass catcher, and he was valuable to the Bucs. Will Sims be as valuable to this team? I don't know - but he's a much more natural runner than Pittman was. Sorry if you can't see that.

      Agree, I think that is a pretty fair assessment of Mike Pittman.

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    • Anonymous

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      Post count: 3392

      I think you're both right. While it's widely accepted Pittman had poor vision and wasn't a natural runner, he still had a 10-year career and put up numbers comparable to most running backs that have "vision". It's not easy to have as good a career as he did whether you have vision or not.

      A couple of things... - his trump card was his single-minded pursuit of daylight when he saw it, and his general athleticism. It's why he was so successful in draw situations - easy recognition - and why he was used almost exclusively as a 3rd down back once we got Caddy. It's why Denver pursued him late in his career to run in their ZBS.- Whenever he was asked to be the bell cow, he was pretty much a failure. His "best" season as the lead back came in 2004, but that's only if you look at conventional stats (4.2 ypc). When you adjust for things like defenses, he rated much worse. Football Outsiders ranked him as the 37th best back (DYAR); 36th if you prefer (DVOA), with a success rate of just 43% (34th overall). - He carved out a nice career because he was great at 2 out of the 3 things he needed to do to stay in the pros and was able to transform his role.  A comparable, more high profile player might be Keith Byers, who went from big-time college running back, who like Pittman was basically a sub-4.0 running back when asked to carry 100+ times, but turned into arguably the best blocking RB of his day and a valuable weapon as a  receiver.

      So is there a player who is a good comparison to Sims and what he does well?

      I don't think the comparison to Forte is all that crazy (we can only hope he turns out to be as good a player), though Forte wasn't involved as much of the passing game at Tulane as Sims. Stylistically - he reminds me a bit more of Arian Foster, though I'm not going to pretend he's as good a running back. It's just that they both look a little similar when they run (both are fairly upright).

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    • gobucs123

      Participant
      Post count: 569

      I think the premiere athletes are just going to stop playing RB , because there is no payoff and no longevity to the position.Why would the next Adrian Peterson play RB ? If I was that guy I'd be asking my highschool coach to play either wr or corner instead.

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    • Anonymous

      Inactive
      Post count: 4755

      I think the Matt Forte comparison is a good one. He has a similar running style.

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