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FO on ESPN.com: Top RB Draft Classes

This week's ESPN.com column uses the method from PFP 2007's "Best Running Back Seasons" essay to figure out the best running back draft classes in modern NFL history. Part one looks at the best rookie seasons, while part two looks at the best classes in career value. Both parts are now posted as of Friday afternoon.

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17 comments, Last at 14 Jul 2008, 3:25pm

5 Re: FO on ESPN.com: Top RB Draft Classes

Regarding 2006: "More importantly, none of the eight rookie backs with at least 100 touches really had a bad year. The only one averaging less than four yards per carry was Wali Lundy of Houston, who apparently went into witness protection after the season ended."

Reggie Bush's YPC was 3.6 in 2006, so he averaged less than 4 YPC. Maybe you meant yards per touch?

8 Re: FO on ESPN.com: Top RB Draft Classes

what does this sentence mean?

"Football Outsiders controlled for these issues a year ago, when we wrote an essay on the top running back seasons of all time in our book Pro Football Prospectus 2007."


9 Re: FO on ESPN.com: Top RB Draft Classes

Re: 8

It means they adjusted all the numbers so that the seasons were all comparable (i.e. they changed each player's stats to fit what he would have performed if each player had played in the same environment, let's say the 2007 season).

10 Re: FO on ESPN.com: Top RB Draft Classes

8. controlled?

The issues they controlled for are (1) teams used to run a lot more, (2) teams used to average fewer yards per play, and (3) teams used to rely on multiple backs more (although this trend is reversing again).

So I assume they compared running backs to their non-rookie peers, or otherwise adjusted for expected number of plays and expected yards per play.

11 Re: FO on ESPN.com: Top RB Draft Classes

What book do you mewan? Article was in 2007 book. probably cant get that in stores anymore. new book foe 2008 in stores now. just beware they say Raiders have 0% chance at Super Bowl, so you know book has some errors in it, but is pretty good book anyway and worth buying.

now with Farve wantint ot leaving Green Bay, Aasron Rodgers going to keep job. Good chance it one year ttryout because Brian Broom is playing good so far. Packers want him to be starter inn future maybe in 2009. Rdgers if he wants to take lower salary, can come back to Bay Area to backlup Russell in 2009. Then Roidgers can say he backup Frve and Russell in career. Maybe only Steve Bono can say he backup better QBs in career, Bono backuped Montana, Young, Grbacvm, Fvre and maybe some others.

12 Re: FO on ESPN.com: Top RB Draft Classes

1969:Pittsburgh got "Frenchy" Fuqua in the 11th round

It doesn't affect the analysis, but he was actually drafted by the Giants (PFR confirms). The Steelers traded for him before the 1970 season.

13 Re: FO on ESPN.com: Top RB Draft Classes

yeah he played for giants one year.
he also tocuhed ball vs Raiders in 1972 playoff game. If clal is made correct then Raiders win game. good chance raiders would have beat Dolphins in next ga,me becasuse game was going to be at Oakland.

14 Re: FO on ESPN.com: Top RB Draft Classes

... sorry Theo.

Re: 11. I thought the name was Vroom? He does look quite quick and nimble in that Syracuse game ...

17 Re: FO on ESPN.com: Top RB Draft Classes

Has there been any mention of 1983 as a great running back draft? Dickerson is in the NFL HOF, Curt Warner was almost as good as Kurt Warner for the Seahawks for a few seasons, Roger Craig should be in the Hall of Fame and earnest Jackson nearly rushed for 1000 yards with 3 different teams. Not to mention players like Gary Anderson, Craig James and Kelvin Bryant who jumped to the USFL and came to the NFL to have serviceable careers. Even FBs like Larry Kinnebrew, James Jones and Johnny Hector had some productive seasons in the NFL. I think 1983 is the only year where a rookie lead each conference in rushing (Dickerson and Warner).

Also, Emmitt Smith wasn't the only good RB from the 1990 draft, didn't Johnnie Johnson of the Cardinals/Jets have a solid career?