The ongoing devaluation of the running back position could prompt highly-talented athletes to gravitate toward other positions. Until then, highly-talented athletes who have chosen to play running back will be relegated to making chicken salad out of their NFL prospects.
Washington running back Bishop Sankey realizes that the game is changing. But he still embraces the challenge of playing running back at the NFL level.
“Obviously last year with there being no running back going in the first round, I think there has just been a bigger emphasis on the pass in the NFL and maybe I’m biased but I feel like running back are just as valuable as anybody else on the field especially on the offense,” Sankey told NBCSN’s Pro Football Talk this week. “We not only contribute on the ground but we also pass protect, protect the quarterback and we can also be used as an asset out of the backfield catching the ball.
“Not only that I think a lot of running backs contribute a lot on special teams as well with kick returns, punt returns. Not even being a returner but also blocking for those guys and it’s kind of the direction the league’s going in now, but for me it’s just like I want to go out there every time I get a chance and eliminate all the questions that the NFL coaches have and really just try and put my best foot forward to give me a good opportunity come draft day.”
This year, there likely will be no running backs taken in round one. If given the choice between being a first-round pick or the first running back taken, Sankey would take being the first running back selected.
“I think it just speaks high if you’re the first guy to go at your position,” Sankey said. “It speaks high of what teams think about you and the work that you’ve put in up to this point.”
While it’s highly unlikely any running back will go in the first round, Sankey has a good shot of being the first running back whose name is called. And then he’ll get a fair chance to show what he can do in September, when his number is called.