2nd round -- LenDale White, MJD
3rd round -- Brian Calhoun, Jerious Norwood
Discussion -- Travis Henry was still in Tennessee when LenDale was drafted. Henry had 270/1211/7 that year. LenDale had 61 carries. The following year, Henry was traded opening the door for LenDale. The funny thing about that situation is 2007 which I'll get to below. Otherwise, we know how the rest went. As for MJD, he was drafted with Fred Taylor in town. Taylor still had 231/1146/5. That situation is a little unique bc Fred Taylor is a HOF talent and MJD is ultra-talented himself. As good as MJD is, he still didn't get the starting job until year 4 of his career. As for Calhoun, Kevin Jones was still in town but was coming off an injured year. Jones got hurt that year as well and Calhoun, the incredibly high 3rd round draft pick got all of 7 carries. As for Norwood, Atlanta had a 31 yo Warrick Dunn and that's it. As for the incredibly high 3rd round pick Norwood.......well he got all of 99 carries while Dunn had 286 carries. In that year, 4 RBs taken in the 2nd and 3rd round and NONE of the starters were affected by them.
2nd round -- Kenny Irons, Chris Henry, Brian Leonard, Brandon Jackson
3rd round -- Lorenzo Booker, Tony Hunt, Garrett Wolfe
Discussion -- This is a laughable group. Kenny Irons came onto a team with Rudi Johnson and that's it. When Rudi got hurt that year, it was Kenny Watson who came in. I believe Irons was put on IR. As for Chris Henry, he was supposed to take over for the lazy LenDale. The buzz was crazy about how high he was taken. So, despite paying such a high price, he got all of 31 carries, 4th best on the team. The Rams used an incredibly high 2nd round pick on Leonard with S. Jackson in town. No threat. In GB, Brandon Jackson was supposed to be the starter. Ahman Green was gone, they used a 2nd round pick on the guy, and.........he got all of 75 carries As for the others: Booker was drafted on a team with the oft-injured Ronnie Brown. When Ronnie got hurt (again), it was Jesse Chatman who stepped in, not the highly regarded 3rd round pick Booker. Booker, well, he got all of 28 carries that year. Tony Hunt was drafted on a team with Brian Westbrook. He got all of 10 carries and 4 carries his first 2 years. For a 3rd round draft pick? And then there's Garrett Wolfe and his 3rd round draft status which got him 31 carries behind the disappointing Benson that year and even less with 15 carries the following year.
2nd round -- Forte, Ray Rice
3rd round -- Kevin Smith, Jacob Hester, Jamaal Charles, Steve Slaton
Discussion -- This was obviously a very strong year for RBs where they were drafted. Forte was drafted on a team that had cut bait with Benson and he was coming in as the starter. It's not a surprise he got the number of carries he did. Ray Rice came onto a team with McGahee as the starter. As good as Rice is and considering his high draft pick, he got all of 107 carries as a rookie. Kevin Smith similarly to Forte was drafted as the starter on the team as they had no one else. No surprise he got the bulk of the carries. Hester was drafted as a FB using a "high" 3rd round pick. Charles was drafted on a team with Larry Johnson. Despite being the superior talent and outplaying LJ significantly, Charles got only 67 carries as a rookie while LJ had ~200 carries. Slaton was drafted onto a team with 31 year old Ahman Green as the starter. Slaton took the job and ran away with it.
Out of the above, Forte, Smith, and Slaton got a huge workload. But, only Slaton came onto a team with another "starter" and it was an old, injured A. Green that he took it from. The best talents there (Charles and Rice) still ended up sitting behind lesser starters and didn't displace them. So, only 1 starter lost his job to a 2nd/3rd round RB pick here.
2nd -- LeSean McCoy
3rd -- Shonne Greene, Glen Coffee
Discussion -- McCoy was drafted onto a team with only Westbrook as a starter and was the heir apparent. When Westbrook went down, McCoy got the job. He managed 155 carries that year. Shonne Greene was drafted onto a team with Thomas Jones as the starter. Jones had 331 carries at the age of 31 and Greene only got 108. The following year, Jones left and LT came in. LT still ended up being the main ball carrier with 219 carries. Coffee was picked on the same team with Gore. He managed 83 carries his rookie season.
Out of this small group, only McCoy displaced the starter and it was due to injury.
2nd round -- Toby Gerhart, Ben Tate, Montario Hardesty
Discussion -- Gerhart was drafted on a team with AP. Yes, Minnesota used a SECOND ROUND PICK on a RB when they had AP on the team. Not surprisingly, Gerhart only got 81 carries. Tate and Hardesty both got hurt.
So, what does this all mean? First of all, I think the value of 2nd and 3rd round picks and how teams use them is VERY overstated. They've been used on RBs like Gerhart, Hester, Booker, Wolfe, and Calhoun to name a few. These guys were never slated to be starters or main ball carriers. In other words, just because a team takes a RB in the 2nd round or 3rd round doesn't mean that they intend on using them as major players. Second of all, even if the guys are talented and ARE intended to be used as starters at some point in the team's future, it rarely happens in their first year and the incumbent starters have retained their jobs the vast majority of the time. And it's not as if we're talking about all-world starters that are keeping these guys on the bench. Guys like McGahee, Larry Johnson, Warrick Dunn, LenDale White, and others were keeping these "high" draft picks on the bench.
Out of those 5 years, only TWO RBs that were supposed to be the starter lost their jobs to a 2nd/3rd round RB. Ahman Green and Brian Westbrook. And on both occasions, they lost their job due to injury. The only other way one of those RBs drafted above got the job was when they were specifically drafted as the starter (Kevin Smith and Forte)
Why did I post this? Well, every year we get enamored with the new shiny toys. And every year there's this speculation how these guys are going to come in and take the starting job. The reality is that it just doesn't happen.
So let's look at 2011:
2nd round: Ryan William, Mikel LeShoure, Shane Vereen, Daniel Thomas
3rd round: DeMarco Murray, Steven Ridley, Alex Green
Discussion: With the exception of Thomas (if Brown and Ricky leave), all of those RBs are going onto team with established starters. Now, you guys may not think much of these starters (Beanie, Felix, BJGE, Grant/Starks, Best), but they don't necessarily need to be anything special based on the history of the last 5 years. There's already all this talk how Murray will be the guy in Dallas and Williams is putting Beanie on the bench and Best will now be the COP guy.
While I'm not saying these guys will never amount to anything (which I'm not), I just want to warn some of you that might have these lofty expectations that these guys will come in and take jobs right away. Similarly, owners of Beanie, Felix, Best, and even BJGE or the GB guys don't need to panic just yet. Eventually the best player is going to be the one that ends up with the most carries in the long run (most of the time). But in that 1st year, even the better players often take a backseat. Most importantly, these guys aren't going to be given anything just because a team used a "high" draft pick in the 2nd or 3rd round on these guys. History over the last 5 years shows that teams simply don't use that as a measure to how much playing time a RB should get. In fact, it looks to be completely irrelevant unless the RB is coming onto a team without a starter and they were drafted to actually be the starter. The ONLY guy that seems to be the case for this year is Daniel Thomas and that's only based on the speculation that Ronnie and Ricky are gone.
Edited by gianmarco, 10 May 2011 - 09:27 AM.