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Sustained greatness by a RB (1 Viewer)

FUBAR

Footballguy
For purposes here, I'll use top 20 picks as "high"

Top 10 rushers all time:

1. Emmitt Smith 1.17

2. Walter Payton 1.04

3. Barry Sanders 1.03

4. Curtis Martin 3.74

5. Jerome Bettis 1.10

6. Eric Dickerson 1.02

7. Tony Dorsett 1.02

8. Jim Brown 1.06

9. Marshall Faulk 1.02

10. Marcus Allen 1.10

Martin is the only top 10 RB not drafted in the top 17 picks. (only Emmitt and CurMar were not top 10). Even after the top 10, it's rare to find any RBs not drafted high.

Top 10 active rushers:

1. Edgerrin James 1.04

2. LaDainian Tomlinson 1.05

3. Fred Taylor 1.09

4. Warrick Dunn 1.12

5. Jamal Lewis 1.05

6. Shaun Alexander 1.19

7. Ahman Green 3.76

8. Clinton Portis 2.51

9. Ricky Williams 1.05

10. Thomas Jones 1.07

Once you get past the top 10 active rushers, you find guys like Michael Pittman, Rudi Johnson, Westbrook, FWP and Gore - 3 of these might be considered great, but do they qualify for "sustained" greatness? Westbrook might with 4 very good seasons, but it seems a stretch to call him among the greats.

So in the history of the game, you have 2 top 10 RBs not drafted top 10, 1 drafted outside the top 20; currently we have 2 top 10 backs not drafted in the top 20.

The single season top rushers have more lower drafted RBs sprinkled in, like Terrell Davis, Tiki Barber, Jamal Anderson, and Barry Foster, but these on the whole are pretty limited as well.

OTOH, QBs and WRs show a higher rate of lower drafted players with sustained greatness.

Is this simply a question of the talent being easier to identify early, is the RB position so dependent on qualitative skills that it's easier to evaluate, or does the position transfer easily from college to the NFL? All of the above?

 
Priest Holmes went undrafted and he sustained greatness for a bit there.

I think you're seeing a shift away from this - look at the top 10 rushers this year - Turner and Jacobs were both second day picks. Portis and Forte were 2nd rounders. Marion Barber isn't in the top 10, but no one would argue against him being one of the best 5 or 10 backs in the game right now, he was a 4th round pick. Many programs have more than one talented back, and players can get lost in the shuffle or passed over due to untimely injury. Draft round is becoming a less reliable indicator of future success.

 
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Just my opinion but I would look deeper than just the top 10 rushers of all time for sustained greatness. It is a bit difficult to determine the cutoff point since you are looking at sustained greatness but I would at least look at the top 20-25 players at any position.

By your definition, yes it is difficult for a lower ranked player to hit your levels. I suspect this could be because the play may have to earn the majority of carries by proving himself early in his career (like Tiki Barber and Priest Holmes).

 
Priest Holmes went undrafted and he sustained greatness for a bit there.
3 great years, I'm not sure if that = "sustained", although it might because he was the #1 or 2 back those years. Priest kind of makes the point here, a lower drafted RB can be great for a stretch in the right system, but they aren't likely to sustain it as long.
I think you're seeing a shift away from this - look at the top 10 rushers this year - Turner and Jacobs were both second day picks. Portis and Forte were 2nd rounders. Marion Barber isn't in the top 10, but no one would argue against him being one of the best 5 or 10 backs in the game right now, he was a 4th round pick. Many programs have more than one talented back, and players can get lost in the shuffle or passed over due to untimely injury. Draft round is becoming a less reliable indicator of future success.
Would you consider any of those, aside from Portis, in the "sustained greatness" category? Way too early for them to be considered in that light IMO although they certainly have the potential to be. I think Barber and Turner will, I'm not sure about Forte or Jacobs. If we look back through the years, we always see one or two players who were late picks in the top 10, but they rarely sustain that level.
 
Just my opinion but I would look deeper than just the top 10 rushers of all time for sustained greatness. It is a bit difficult to determine the cutoff point since you are looking at sustained greatness but I would at least look at the top 20-25 players at any position.

By your definition, yes it is difficult for a lower ranked player to hit your levels. I suspect this could be because the play may have to earn the majority of carries by proving himself early in his career (like Tiki Barber and Priest Holmes).
Fair enough, perhaps my list is more "elites" than all of the players who have sustained a high level of play. Perhaps I'll make the list longer later.
 
For purposes here, I'll use top 20 picks as "high"

Top 10 rushers all time:

1. Emmitt Smith 1.17

2. Walter Payton 1.04

3. Barry Sanders 1.03

4. Curtis Martin 3.74

5. Jerome Bettis 1.10

6. Eric Dickerson 1.02

7. Tony Dorsett 1.02

8. Jim Brown 1.06

9. Marshall Faulk 1.02

10. Marcus Allen 1.10

Martin is the only top 10 RB not drafted in the top 17 picks. (only Emmitt and CurMar were not top 10). Even after the top 10, it's rare to find any RBs not drafted high.

Top 10 active rushers:

1. Edgerrin James 1.04

2. LaDainian Tomlinson 1.05

3. Fred Taylor 1.09

4. Warrick Dunn 1.12

5. Jamal Lewis 1.05

6. Shaun Alexander 1.19

7. Ahman Green 3.76

8. Clinton Portis 2.51

9. Ricky Williams 1.05

10. Thomas Jones 1.07

Once you get past the top 10 active rushers, you find guys like Michael Pittman, Rudi Johnson, Westbrook, FWP and Gore - 3 of these might be considered great, but do they qualify for "sustained" greatness? Westbrook might with 4 very good seasons, but it seems a stretch to call him among the greats.

So in the history of the game, you have 2 top 10 RBs not drafted top 10, 1 drafted outside the top 20; currently we have 2 top 10 backs not drafted in the top 20.

The single season top rushers have more lower drafted RBs sprinkled in, like Terrell Davis, Tiki Barber, Jamal Anderson, and Barry Foster, but these on the whole are pretty limited as well.

OTOH, QBs and WRs show a higher rate of lower drafted players with sustained greatness.

Is this simply a question of the talent being easier to identify early, is the RB position so dependent on qualitative skills that it's easier to evaluate, or does the position transfer easily from college to the NFL? All of the above?
I think you're mixing up correlation with causation.
 
FUBAR said:
Sigmund Bloom said:
Priest Holmes went undrafted and he sustained greatness for a bit there.
3 great years, I'm not sure if that = "sustained", although it might because he was the #1 or 2 back those years. Priest kind of makes the point here, a lower drafted RB can be great for a stretch in the right system, but they aren't likely to sustain it as long.
Sigmund Bloom said:
I think you're seeing a shift away from this - look at the top 10 rushers this year - Turner and Jacobs were both second day picks. Portis and Forte were 2nd rounders. Marion Barber isn't in the top 10, but no one would argue against him being one of the best 5 or 10 backs in the game right now, he was a 4th round pick. Many programs have more than one talented back, and players can get lost in the shuffle or passed over due to untimely injury. Draft round is becoming a less reliable indicator of future success.
Would you consider any of those, aside from Portis, in the "sustained greatness" category? Way too early for them to be considered in that light IMO although they certainly have the potential to be. I think Barber and Turner will, I'm not sure about Forte or Jacobs. If we look back through the years, we always see one or two players who were late picks in the top 10, but they rarely sustain that level.
The case of Priest is a good one. He didn't get a chance to be featured until later in his career so not many years to play. RBs tend to have short careers to begin with and if it takes a guy three, four, or five years to earn a featured spot, even if he is great at that point, his total career output is going to be limited to maybe three years--as in the case of Priest. The advantage the very high picks get is that a guy picked in top 10 is likely to have a shot at starting and being featured right from the start. If he produces and doesn't get hurt, he is set. He isn't as likely to be replaced as quickly either. Guy still has to produce and avoid serious injury--but if he does--he has a chance at greatness.
 
Chase Stuart said:
I think you're mixing up correlation with causation.
Why would you think this?My bottom line here, is while it's great to see players like Ryan Grant, FWP, TDavis, etc. succeed, I won't draft them higher than an equally producing high draft pick. I'll take a guy like Chris Johnson over Steve Slaton; or Lynch over Ryan Grant, etc. Also, if you want an elite RB, you'll probably need a high draft pick. That's not to say you can't find decent RBs elsewhere, or there aren't busts, but the elite RBs are (usually) high draft picks.
 
The case of Priest is a good one. He didn't get a chance to be featured until later in his career so not many years to play. RBs tend to have short careers to begin with and if it takes a guy three, four, or five years to earn a featured spot, even if he is great at that point, his total career output is going to be limited to maybe three years--as in the case of Priest. The advantage the very high picks get is that a guy picked in top 10 is likely to have a shot at starting and being featured right from the start. If he produces and doesn't get hurt, he is set. He isn't as likely to be replaced as quickly either. Guy still has to produce and avoid serious injury--but if he does--he has a chance at greatness.
:goodposting: Thank you for keeping me from having to post all of that.
 
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Chase Stuart said:
I think you're mixing up correlation with causation.
Why would you think this?My bottom line here, is while it's great to see players like Ryan Grant, FWP, TDavis, etc. succeed, I won't draft them higher than an equally producing high draft pick. I'll take a guy like Chris Johnson over Steve Slaton; or Lynch over Ryan Grant, etc. Also, if you want an elite RB, you'll probably need a high draft pick. That's not to say you can't find decent RBs elsewhere, or there aren't busts, but the elite RBs are (usually) high draft picks.
I'm not exactly sure what you're saying here. Obviously TD was a better fantasy player than just about anyone on the planet. What exactly is your theory? Is it that: a) you'd take a higher drafted rookie over a lower drafted rookie; b) you'd take a higher drafted played who had played one season ahead of a lower drafted one year vet if their production is equal?; or c) something else.
 
Chase Stuart said:
I think you're mixing up correlation with causation.
bingo.RBs drafted at the top of the 1st round carry the mail from the moment they arrive in the NFL.as a matter of fact, the one non-1st rounder on the list is Curtis Martin, whose initial claim to fame was being a 3rd rounder who was so good in camp that Parcells handed him a starting job.
 
I want to say there has been a detailed thread on this concept. When I am not supposed to be working, I will poke around and see if I can find it.

 
Portis falling to 51 was just an unexplainable bit of idiocy. It was obvious to almost anyone who watched him that he was an elite talent.

 
Chase Stuart said:
I think you're mixing up correlation with causation.
bingo.RBs drafted at the top of the 1st round carry the mail from the moment they arrive in the NFL.as a matter of fact, the one non-1st rounder on the list is Curtis Martin, whose initial claim to fame was being a 3rd rounder who was so good in camp that Parcells handed him a starting job.
Davis did the same thing his rookie year by wowing Shanahan in camp... If not for his injuries, who knows what he'd have done.
 
FUBAR said:
Sigmund Bloom said:
Priest Holmes went undrafted and he sustained greatness for a bit there.
3 great years, I'm not sure if that = "sustained", although it might because he was the #1 or 2 back those years. Priest kind of makes the point here, a lower drafted RB can be great for a stretch in the right system, but they aren't likely to sustain it as long.

Sigmund Bloom said:
I think you're seeing a shift away from this - look at the top 10 rushers this year - Turner and Jacobs were both second day picks. Portis and Forte were 2nd rounders. Marion Barber isn't in the top 10, but no one would argue against him being one of the best 5 or 10 backs in the game right now, he was a 4th round pick. Many programs have more than one talented back, and players can get lost in the shuffle or passed over due to untimely injury. Draft round is becoming a less reliable indicator of future success.
Would you consider any of those, aside from Portis, in the "sustained greatness" category? Way too early for them to be considered in that light IMO although they certainly have the potential to be. I think Barber and Turner will, I'm not sure about Forte or Jacobs. If we look back through the years, we always see one or two players who were late picks in the top 10, but they rarely sustain that level.
I'm not sure how much more sustained greatness we're going to see. I'm getting the feeling that soon (perhaps within a decade) the top of the all time rushing list will start to resemble baseball's all time win list for pitchers - untouchable by modern players.
 
Your data is based on career yards and therefore skews heavily towards the older running backs. In the more recent drafts, there haven't been that many running backs drafted in the top 10, so in 5 years, most of the running backs on the active list will not be drafted in the top 10.

 

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