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The NFL has forgotten that running backs exist


The marginalization of the running back position appears nearly complete.

Well into the second half of the second round, not a single runner has been chosen, setting a new record for the position.

The previous long wait was last year, when the Bengals made Giovani Bernard the 37th pick.

While teams are spending more time throwing the ball, and college spread offenses are making it harder for backs to come to the league ready to pass-protect, the issue is largely cyclical.

While it’s easy to think of it as a philosophical statement, the fact is, the Bishop Sankeys and Tre Masons and Carlos Hydes of the world aren’t first-round prospects.

The next time an Adrian Peterson-type runner comes through the draft, people will write new trend pieces.

UPDATE 8:47 p.m. ET: And as if they were waiting for me to hit publish, the Titans just took Sankey with the 54th pick.

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16 Responses to “The NFL has forgotten that running backs exist”
  1. orivar says: May 9, 2014 8:48 PM

    It’s just a trend. A trend that’s going to hurt teams that abandon the run very badly, you can’t win it all just passing. Life has cycles and thus so do trends, this phase won’t last forever especially once the next batch of AP/Marshawn/Jamaal Charlies/LT type backs hit the league and tear it up.

  2. andreweac says: May 9, 2014 8:49 PM

    Why spend a high draft pick when solid veterans are available every year for so little?

  3. 4thandlonger says: May 9, 2014 8:53 PM

    Running backs need to form their own union and get the first 6mil spent on a running back excluded from the total cap.

    That way they get paid as they deserve. The over supply and lack of demand has crippled their value but they all deserved to get paid due to the work and risk they put him. Mid level veteran backs deserve to get more than they currently do.

  4. doctorrustbelt says: May 9, 2014 8:59 PM

    Now… Cincinnati has two highly rated young running backs… and… no center, no guard, and two aging tackles.

  5. slugbaitspace says: May 9, 2014 9:05 PM

    With the 62nd pick last year, the Seahawks nabbed Christine Michael. Heir apparent to the Beast? Perhaps.

    Lynch has been one of the Seahawks’ key players for moving the chains for a couple of years now.

    Seahawks understand that the RB position is not “marginalized”. It’s an integral part of the whole. After all, they seemed to have more pressing needs than RB in the second round of the 2013 draft, but they won last year anyway.

    They maybe are just collecting the right weapons.

    Maybe it’s just that other teams are pressing more to be 5K passing teams, thinking that is what produces a winner.

  6. j0esixpack says: May 9, 2014 9:13 PM

    Quantity over quality – it’s a crap shoot for so many positions – why expend the high draft picks when a UDFA has as much chance of contribution as many so-called 1st round RBs?

    A few teams in particular have proven a specialist corps of RBs (slaher, plow ahead, and pass catcher) can work well collectively and such one dimensional role players can be found cheaply

    It’s just the evolution of the game.

  7. rajbais says: May 9, 2014 9:16 PM


    I’ll be nice.

    Jim Harbaugh didn’t.

  8. doctorrustbelt says: May 9, 2014 9:25 PM

    I think the reason teams choose young talented inexperienced college running backs over available free agent veteran running backs is because young running backs are hungry to get rich and famous thru balls to the wall performance while the veterans know the effects of the repetitive hits, go down easy to protect themselves, and are just trying to maintain “the NFL lifestyle” as opposed to NFL immortality.

  9. nomoreseasontix says: May 9, 2014 9:26 PM

    The trend could, in the future, describe almost any position.

    If the league starts going smash-mouth again, cornerbacks will find themselves marginalized.

    I agree that running backs are not valuable today, but I’m wondering what the next throw-away position will be….

  10. chris3141084 says: May 9, 2014 9:42 PM

    I’m waiting for Adam Maumua to get drafted by the Seahawks.

  11. chris3141084 says: May 9, 2014 10:10 PM

    Hyde to the 49ers!? Is Gore going to get the contract crunch this year? Or is this his farewell season?

  12. jollyjoker2 says: May 9, 2014 10:23 PM

    RB are foolish to be part of the collective barg agreement. Their life span is 3-4 years at best, with an occasional freak of nature like ap etc…If your a top end college player and have some options – this is the last place you want to be.

  13. chris3141084 says: May 9, 2014 10:33 PM

    How many college RBs are going to go to their coach tomorrow telling them they want to change positions?

  14. jman2020 says: May 9, 2014 11:19 PM

    I just hope Gurley dnt go to buffalo or the Jags next yr no sense to waste ur talent in those cities

  15. wtfchiefs says: May 10, 2014 8:30 AM

    It’s pretty crazy. That was a glamor position up until the 2000’s. Ill always enjoy watching a gifted back over the style of arena football there is now.

  16. phillyphannnn83 says: May 10, 2014 10:52 AM

    Maybe the fact that there were no standout running backs in this draft had something to do with it.

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