Howie Roseman doesn’t buy the idea you can get a running back anywhere

Getty Images

When the Eagles started pawning off bad contracts for draft position, executive Howie Roseman said there was a definite benefit to picking eighth overall instead of 13th.

And it’s possible the object of his affection might be Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott, the lone elite prospect at his position this year.

“We studied this,” Roseman said, via Jimmy Kempski of PhillyVoice.com. “There’s this narrative that you can get running backs in the fifth, sixth, seventh round of the draft and free agency. But when you look back at the last 10 years, guys who were really in the top 10 in rushing, those guys are high picks.”

While the devaluing of the position has become a popular narrative, Roseman’s data showed that to land an elite runner, it’s harder to find one on the street.

And after former league-leading rusher DeMarco Murray failed so miserably in Philadelphia, it could be time to think about the possibility of Elliott.

The Ohio State running back had 3,699 yards and 41 touchdowns the last two seasons, averaging 6.9 and 6.3 yards per carry his final two years for the Buckeyes.

“I think there’s a difference between a special player and a role player at the position,” said Roseman. “When you talk about the guys who are 1500-yard rushers, the guys who people are game-planning for, those are hard to get later in the draft. . . .

“When you find a special talent at that position, that guy who can run the ball, pass protect, can catch the ball out of the backfield, that’s a unique weapon. I don’t think the position is devalued. Talking to [coach] Doug [Pederson], obviously we come from the same school of Andy [Reid], and what he could do with those kinds of guys.”

Roseman didn’t mention Elliott by name, but he didn’t have to, as there’s considered to be a big gulf between Elliott and any other back in this year’s draft.

42 responses to “Howie Roseman doesn’t buy the idea you can get a running back anywhere

  1. Yes 1,500 yard rushers don’t fall out of the sky, but if you can have a 1,200 yard rusher join as a UDFA or a 1,500 yes guy in the second I think we all know what the better pick up is.

  2. While top running backs may come with a price, the real question is the value of a running back in today’s NFL. Would you ever pass up a shut down corner for a running back the way the game is played today? I would hope not.

  3. You better figure out how to get in the top 3 then Howie, cause my boys are takin’ him at 4 if he’s there.

    You heard it here first!

  4. Philly head coach Pederson (Chiefs OC last season) just watched a bunch of mid and late-round no-name RBs lead the NfL in team rushing once Jamaal Charles (3rd round) went down.

  5. If Howie is publicly saying that this is what they are going to do, then there is no way they will go RB at 8. Smartest team in football. just ask them.

  6. And people wonder why the Patriots are the best run organization in all of sports.

  7. Look up McFadden just last year. 4th in rushing; very cheap FA. You should probably do some research before attempting to sound like you know what you are talking about Rosey. A few more from last year:

    5. Ivory – Undrafted
    6. Freeman – 4th round
    7. L. Murray – 6th round

  8. You can have the best runningback in the world but if your offensive line sucks he won’t do squat. The Eagles would do a lot better by taking an elite offensive tackle and rebuild the line first instead of draft a runningback in the first round. Plus Jason Peters is wore out and it’s not if he’ll get hurt but when.

  9. There’s only one reason to value an elite running back and attempt to draft one in a higher round–you suffer from chronic subpar talent at quarterback. Running backs are a piece of the puzzle and their job is to be efficient and not fumble. It’s risky to hinge the hopes of an entire organization on a position with low career longevity and high incidence of injury.

  10. Anything an NFL team exec says regarding the draft at this time of year is to be taken with a grain of salt. There is no benefit being truthful.

  11. The Bucs traded back into the first round and selected Doug Martin like 29th and he was second in the league behind AP with like 1400 yards.

  12. Arian Foster, Demarco Murray, Frank Gore, Jamaal Charles, all taken third round or later (if at all).

    I agree though, Ezekial Elliot is worth a top 10 pick. Guys’s like Walter Payton, Tony Dorsett, Jim Brown … that’s the kind of talent this guy has.

  13. Haha! Eagles fans mad at facts that RBs can be selected in later rounds and FA. Rushing leaders 4-7 last year. Keep the thumbs down coming haters!

  14. As enticing and exciting as Elliot is, he’s not taking him at 8. There are too many top end CBs, T’s, LB’S at the top of this draft. I’ll be very interested to see if the Cowboys or Giants bite. There’s a very good chance Zeke ends up in the NFC East.

  15. He’s taking Hargraves, Stanley or Jack. Whoever falls. If they are all gone….only then maybe they would consider him

  16. Meh, I have to disagree. Obviously the NFL is a passing league. If you have a legitimate passing offense you can stick a late round pick in the backfield and he will do fine because defense has to scheme against the pass (see: Patriots). First and second round picks can be better spent elsewhere. The frequency of injury at the RB position further exacerbates this reality. How many “top 10” running backs in the NFL had a full season in 2015 without major injury? Like 1 or 2?

    Yes, of course elite RBs are exceptionally valuable, namely because they offer the only way to build a legitimate offense if you don’t have a real quarterback (see: Vikings), but they’re simply too rare and too injury prone to justify the use of an early pick in my opinion. An elite QB, DE, LT, CB, or WR is simply more valuable.

  17. Youknowimright says:
    Mar 21, 2016 12:02 PM
    If Howie is publicly saying that this is what they are going to do, then there is no way they will go RB at 8. Smartest team in football. just ask them.
    —————————-
    Where could you have possibly gotten the notion the Eagles believe they are the smartest team in football or that they carry themselves with that type of arrogance? Where? How? Give me one example.

  18. The eagles owner calls themselves the gold standard. How is that for a notion on why they think they are the smartest team in football. Last I checked that gold standard has an empty trophy case.

  19. Mar 21, 2016 12:34 PM – mwdverof250 says: Haha! Eagles fans mad at facts that RBs can be selected in later rounds and FA. Rushing leaders 4-7 last year. Keep the thumbs down coming haters!

    Actually, the top four – Peterson, Martin, Gurley and McFadden – were all first round picks. This is pretty impressive, since not many running backs are taken in the first round anymore. Most are taken later, so if you are willing to settle for second tier, good luck picking a winner from that litter. Success is not guaranteed, but the odds are much higher near the top.

  20. Buyer beware on all RB’s coming from a read option offense. Those are some big lanes to run through in college. Won’t be there at the next level. Plus they never really learn to pass block because they are always involved in some sort of read fake. College offensive players are a complete mirage at this point. from QB to OL. Football is in big trouble because of the read option.

  21. steve11blog says:
    Mar 21, 2016 1:22 PM

    Miami was stupid for trading down for those two guys
    they could of swapped a 3 or 4 for the same trade
    very poor on Miami
    .
    They want a tall corner. Which should be there. 5 slots for 2 starters is a good deal. Both of whom should be ready for OTA’s

  22. When people say it’s a passing league now in the NFL that’s only going to take you as far as your QB. A running back has always been a QB’s best-friend…

  23. Terrell Davis was a sixth round pick. Alfred Morris was a sixth round pick. Wilbert Montgomery was a sixth round pick. Jamal Anderson was a seventh round pick. All of those guys were (are) pretty good RBs as I remember.

  24. Howie is wrong. In 7 of the last 10 years, there were as many or more non-first round RBs among the Top 10 in rushing.

    In 2014, 9 of the Top 10 rushers were drafted after Round 1.

    In 2013, it was 7 of the Top 10.

    In 2011, the top 6 came after Round 1.

    DeMarco Murray (Round 3), LeSean McCoy (2), Maurice Jones-Drew (2), and Arian Foster (UFA) have each led the league in rushing in the last 6 years.

  25. There was a study that more hits happened with the 13th pick over the 8th. Doesn’t mean I would rather take a lower round RB over the higher ones. IMO there should be a large drop off after Zeke and Henry.

  26. Youknowimright says:
    Mar 21, 2016 1:30 PM

    The eagles owner calls themselves the gold standard. How is that for a notion on why they think they are the smartest team in football. Last I checked that gold standard has an empty trophy case.

    —————————————————————-

    It’s not empty, they have 3 trophies in there. If you are going to troll these comments, at least use facts.

  27. I hate to say this, but I agree with Mike Greenberg. Draft a RB, then you can hold onto him for four years (five or six if a first rounder by picking up the option). If he’s elite, you can hit him with the franchise tag for a couple more seasons. Then let him go, after six (or more) seasons of heavy usage.

    Of course, Philly is alot more than an elite RB away, but I get the philosophy.

  28. Actually, the top four – Peterson, Martin, Gurley and McFadden – were all first round picks.

    —————————————
    Only one of the top four made the playoffs.

    It is a pass first league. Rb’s are complements to the passing game in the new NFL. SB rb’s this yr Tolbert, stewart, Anderson, Hillman.

  29. Mar 21, 2016 1:30 PM
    The eagles owner calls themselves the gold standard. How is that for a notion on why they think they are the smartest team in football. Last I checked that gold standard has an empty trophy
    ————————–
    You’re talking about one quote from over a decade ago. Nice try. Next.

  30. Actually, the top four – Peterson, Martin, Gurley and McFadden – were all first round picks.
    ====

    And the year before that only ONE first round pick was among the top 10 rushers.

    And the year before THAT, the top 4 rushers (and 7 of the top 10) were taken after Round 1.

  31. Yes but they really believe that that dysfunctional mess is the gold standard. Does anything else support my argument better. Next.

  32. sactogary says:

    Actually, the top four – Peterson, Martin, Gurley and McFadden – were all first round picks. This is pretty impressive, since not many running backs are taken in the first round anymore. Most are taken later, so if you are willing to settle for second tier, good luck picking a winner from that litter. Success is not guaranteed, but the odds are much higher near the top.

    ————-

    ACTUALLY McFadden was signed as a FA. In the interview he says RBs can’t be found in the later rounds OR Free agency. McFadden was found in free agency and was the 4th ranked rusher last year.

  33. Since 1990 – the last 26 seasons – the league rushing leader has been drafted outside the first round only 7 times.
    Two were 2nd rounders – MJD in ’11 & Shady in ’13
    Two were 3rd rounders – C Martin in ’04 & D Murray in ’14
    One 6th rounder – T Davis in ’98
    Two undrafted – Priest Holmes in ’01 & A foster in ’10
    So he is right, elite RBs don’t fall off trees, but neither do elite LTs, CBs, or DEs so if one ofthe supposed ‘Elite” olayers at those positions are available, he would be wise to take them over Zeke.

  34. When will the media speculate that this was a swipe at Chip, too? McCoy was a second rounder, a special talent that Chip tossed to the wind for a timid, undersized linebacker.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!