Giants General Manager Dave Gettleman does not want to hear about any research saying that running backs are overvalued — especially after he spent the second overall pick in the draft on Penn State running back Saquon Barkley.
Asked about talk that the more analytics-oriented folks in the NFL world think running backs shouldn’t be taken that high, Gettleman scoffed.
“You know what I say about that. It is a crock. At the end of the day, a great player is a great player. He is a touchdown maker. He is a threat to take it to the house every time he gets his hands on the ball,” Gettleman said. “I think a lot of that stuff is nonsense. I think it is someone who had decided to get into the analytics of it and went through whatever. Jonathan Stewart is in his 10th year and he has not lost anything. I don’t believe in that. I don’t care who you take, they can all get hurt.”
It’s true that any NFL player can get hurt, but that doesn’t mean players at some positions don’t suffer career-affecting injuries at higher rates than players at other positions. And as for saying Jonathan Stewart is in his 10th year has has not lost anything, well, Stewart averaged a career-low 3.4 yards a carry last year at age 30.
So there are legitimate reasons that many people have soured on using high draft picks on running backs. Gettleman just has to hope Barkley develops into an All-Pro player — and that Eli Manning plays well enough not to make everyone ask why Gettleman didn’t draft a quarterback instead.