We recently posted an article about the possibility of Dalvin Cook being selected by Indianapolis in the first round of this year’s draft. Now I would like to present to you the other side of that scenario. Plain and simple, running backs are not worth first round picks.
Many will argue that an elite back will help win games by controlling the time of possession during games. That ideal is not founded in facts and in many cases completely wrong. Yes, time of possession is important and is key in controlling game flow but an “elite” back is a luxury, not a necessity. Four of the top five teams in time of possession rankings were playoff teams in 2016, the one exception being the 7-9 Philadelphia Eagles. Of those four playoff teams, there was exactly one guy who could be considered “elite” in Dallas’s Ezekiel Elliot, a rookie in 2016. Outside of Elliot, you have Lamar Miller (Round 4), James White (Round 4), Dion Lewis (Round 5) and Ty Montgomery (Round 3).
Another shocking fact: only one of those same four playoff teams were in the top six for rushing yards per game. Ladies and gentlemen, this is not your father’s NFL. It is a league driven by prolific passing games and stout defenses. The two Super Bowl teams showcased this. The running backs were the aforementioned Lewis and White for New England and Devonta Freeman, a fourth round pick.
The two teams featured prolific quarterbacks and solid defense. In a draft that many have called historic, the Colts must focus on improving their defense. There will be quality backs left late in the draft like Corey Clement from Wisconsin or Kareem Hunt of Toledo. First round picks are not for running backs.