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golota
03-04-2010, 01:12 PM
Why the high ratings for these mini sized backs who will likely turn out to be just third down specialists?

To me, the top backs should be guys like Mathews, Gerhart and Tate.

If you look at the leading rushers in the NFL over the years, most of the leaders have been bigger guys. Eg. In 2003, ALL top ten rushers were 220+. And last year the only real small guy was Johnson. Even he is 200 pounds.
All the other leading rushers are 210-240 range and generally stocky guys. Best and CJ are about 195-198 pumped up on weights, etc.

ericzedwards
03-04-2010, 01:34 PM
I agree with the view of Spiller as the top back in this class. With his speed, and the ability to easily play at 200 pounds since he's already 196, I can see him being a Chris Johnson-type player.

However, I'm not so high on Best, and I'd personally take a back like Tate before I took a chance on him.

Favre4ever
03-04-2010, 01:39 PM
It's the new age running back, they might not lead in rush yards but rather in total yards. With a more pass oriented NFL these guys become the new model of running backs in this league.

bitonti
03-04-2010, 01:44 PM
unless it's RB vs S... there's no running over defenders in the NFL... it's very rare... better to not get touched than to try to run someone over... even guys who do it (Brandon Jacobs, Shonn Greene) get hurt sooner or later. in other words Spiller's size isn't a problem if he's fast enough to avoid tacklers.

golota
03-04-2010, 01:50 PM
It's the new age running back, they might not lead in rush yards but rather in total yards. With a more pass oriented NFL these guys become the new model of running backs in this league.


OK I agree there is a role in today's NFL for change of pace third down scatbacks who can catch the ball. Guys like Reggie Bush, Sproles, etc.

But to say this will be the norm is hard to believe. 90% of the leading rushers are STILL 210+ and I cant see that changing if you still need RBs to move the chains.
Johnson seems to be the exception rather than the rule based on recent history.

Saints-Tigers
03-04-2010, 01:54 PM
Size is overrated in terms of everything but staying healthy for backs. Small backs don't have a problem moving the ball or running "between" the tackles as much as people want to pretend, just the majority can't stay healthy.

MizzouBig12
03-04-2010, 02:01 PM
Although I'm not much of a Kansas fan (like you couldn't guess), I think that Jake Sharp could be a real nice pick up for a team looking for a tough, speed guy out of the backfield. He's a 4.3 guy slowed by a leg injury his senior season. http://www.youtube.com/user/dwid1984#p/u/4/GWdUHKL0HlQ

Bengalsrocket
03-04-2010, 02:02 PM
Size is overrated in terms of everything but staying healthy for backs. Small backs don't have a problem moving the ball or running "between" the tackles as much as people want to pretend, just the majority can't stay healthy.

Big backs realistically get hurt enough that if size does matter, it's not by much. It's just a preference. For example, I don't see the Colts getting a big back like Gerhart because he'll likely be most effective getting 25-30 carries a game and wearing down defenses which ultimately takes plays away from Manning.

Spiller and Best have roles in the NFL, they just need to go to a team that wants their specific abilities rather than a team that just needs a running back period.

golota
03-04-2010, 02:18 PM
Big backs realistically get hurt enough that if size does matter, it's not by much. It's just a preference. For example, I don't see the Colts getting a big back like Gerhart because he'll likely be most effective getting 25-30 carries a game and wearing down defenses which ultimately takes plays away from Manning.

Spiller and Best have roles in the NFL, they just need to go to a team that wants their specific abilities rather than a team that just needs a running back period.

I agree 100% they have specialist roles but do not merit first round picks IMO.
Full time RBs should rate higher than 3rd down backs. I think these guys are getting boosted by a combination of Johnson's NFL success, which I believe is an exception combined with promo from talking heads like Kiper and McShay, who is a bit of an idiot IMO.

bigbuc
03-04-2010, 02:22 PM
Speed kills my man.

Bengalsrocket
03-04-2010, 02:38 PM
I agree 100% they have specialist roles but do not merit first round picks IMO.
Full time RBs should rate higher than 3rd down backs. I think these guys are getting boosted by a combination of Johnson's NFL success, which I believe is an exception combined with promo from talking heads like Kiper and McShay, who is a bit of an idiot IMO.

It's not because of Johnson. I mean, Johnson had to get hype from somewhere to get drafted in the 1st himself.

Speed backs have been a part of the NFL since the league started. Some people say the league goes in cycles, where teams get bigger defenses players to tackle big backs, then teams get small backs to out run the big defensive players so teams then switch to smaller defensive players to catch the small backs and then the cycle repeats itself.

I think it's likely just a matter of what's available. Spiller happens to be the back with the most talent in this draft (or at least we believe that to be true now) and so some teams don't really have an option.

bitonti
03-04-2010, 02:44 PM
I agree 100% they have specialist roles but do not merit first round picks IMO.

CJ spiller has over 20 career TD of 50 yards or more. He has 30 career TD. When he scores it's usually a big play. That's why he's a blue chip player... the word "game changer" gets thrown around alot but Spiller is a real game changer.

golota
03-04-2010, 03:19 PM
CJ spiller has over 20 career TD of 50 yards or more. He has 30 career TD. When he scores it's usually a big play. That's why he's a blue chip player... the word "game changer" gets thrown around alot but Spiller is a real game changer.

All experts pick Spiller as a first rounder and most project him to be a specialist on third down and as a returner. Scott Wright projects him going to SF as a backup to Gore and return man/3rd down back.

why would a team in their right mind pay a guy first round money (millions) to be a backup or third down back even though I acknowledge his utility as a specialist.

PossibleCabbage
03-04-2010, 03:37 PM
It's really just due to two changes in the league over the past few years. First of all, it's now a passing league; nine of the top twelve passing teams were in the playoffs last year while only three of the twelve teams in the playoffs were in the top twelve for rushing but not for passing. If you want to win consistently in the league, and consistently win playoff games you have to have an explosive passing game. Smaller, more explosive backs are simply more valuable in the passing game, since they are more dangerous when you get them the ball in space, and speed helps them get open on passing patterns that aren't dump-offs to the flat and screens.

Secondly, it's now a running back by committee league almost top to bottom. Excepting a small handful of teams who have a true elite back who is equally valuable in all parts of the game, teams tend to cycle between short yardage backs, third down backs, and one "workhorse" back whose job it is to get 4 yards on 1st and 10. Competent NFL workhorse backs, don't necessarily command premium picks since they can be had later (Ryan Grant was undrafted and traded for a 6th round pick, Ray Rice and Maurice-Jones Drew were second round picks, Jamal Charles was a third round pick). So when you're looking to spend a premium pick on a back, you aren't necessarily looking for the guy who can get 4 yards on 1st and 10, since you can get that guy later on. You're looking for a guy who will make the most plays, and that guy isn't necessarily a classic RB. Since you really won't be playing one RB most of the game (while you will be playing 1 LT, and 1 QB, 1 NT, etc. most of the time), the position is really only worth spending premium picks on if you think that the guy can make a major difference on any given play. Pretty much every single running back on your roster these days is going to be a specialist for some situation or another unless you have one of those rare backs that can do everything (e.g. Chris Johnson), so you might as well pick the specialist that's going to make the biggest difference.

bitonti
03-04-2010, 04:10 PM
All experts pick Spiller as a first rounder and most project him to be a specialist on third down and as a returner. Scott Wright projects him going to SF as a backup to Gore and return man/3rd down back.

why would a team in their right mind pay a guy first round money (millions) to be a backup or third down back even though I acknowledge his utility as a specialist.

why would a team pay #2 money to Reggie Bush? Cause he's a difference maker and now has a ring to prove it. On my board Spiller's a top 10 pick.

JFLO
03-04-2010, 04:10 PM
Personally, I'm high on a lot of the smaller backs this year, at least the top 3, which seem to be Spiller, Best and McCluster.

McCluster "supposedly" disappointed some people by running a 4.5 at the combine, but what most people don't realize is that he has the speed on the football field. He's a gamebreaker.

golota
03-04-2010, 05:14 PM
why would a team pay #2 money to Reggie Bush? Cause he's a difference maker and now has a ring to prove it. On my board Spiller's a top 10 pick.

IMO Bush has been way overpaid.

In 4 years at NO, he has a total of ONE 100 yard rushing game. He has been a good backup and third down RB.

I dont think they won the ring because of Bush. They could have won with a 3rd down back like Sproles or Leon washington or Chester Taylor, etc.
IMO as far as their running game, Pierre Thomas was the guy that should have been getting Bush's money.

HOw many titles did Clemson win because of Spiller or Cal because of Best? Best flopped against good defenses in big games against USC and Oregon. What does that tell you about his value in the pros?

Halsey
03-04-2010, 05:25 PM
These days every NFL team wants a fast, explosive RB who's versatile. Many of these 'small backs' offer speed, return ability, pass catching ability, etc that 'big backs' don't. Often the small backs are also better pass blockers. They seem to be good at getting under pass rushers and cutting them down.Obviously, there are exceptions: big backs who are fast and highly skilled, small backs who are powerful runners.

batsandgats
03-04-2010, 05:51 PM
because of Chris Johnson, everybody is looking for a clone, but imo Chris Johnson is going to be a once in a decade type player and all of these other guys will be 3rd down specialists like Bush. At the end of the year, more successful runningbacks will be the bigger guys that can wear down defenses and the smaller scat backs will just be change of pace guys. While these are good, I dont think you build your run game around them.

PoopSandwich
03-04-2010, 05:55 PM
I read this thread as ball sacks i have no idea why.

Saints-Tigers
03-04-2010, 06:03 PM
because of Chris Johnson, everybody is looking for a clone, but imo Chris Johnson is going to be a once in a decade type player and all of these other guys will be 3rd down specialists like Bush. At the end of the year, more successful runningbacks will be the bigger guys that can wear down defenses and the smaller scat backs will just be change of pace guys. While these are good, I dont think you build your run game around them.


To be honest, what really separates Johnson from a few of these guys? Johnson is almost assured to get his big plays, because he stays on the field AND he doesn't cough the ball up. When you can give someone like Johnson, Bush, Jamaal Charles, Felix jones, etc 30 straight carries, 15 or so against a tired defense, they are going to start ripping off massive gains.

Thing is, someone like Bush has had to have his carries split up because he can't stay healthy, and the more carries that come, there is chances for fumbles.... less carries=less big plays

Johnson is the special guy here because he has held up, and secured the ball. You can feed him constantly with almost no worries of hurting the team.

Bush needs to watch plenty of tape of Johnson this offseason, particularly securing the ball. His running took a huge leap forward this year, but he still hangs the ball out loosely, and if Chris Johnson can hang onto it that well, there is no reason Reggie shouldn't be able to, given his upper body strength.

I'm curious to see how Johnson holds up from here on out, he's a unique guy and is totally amazing to watch.

BuddyCHRIST
03-04-2010, 06:39 PM
Because the one back teams are on their way out, so you need guys with various skill sets. Also guys who can be gamebreakers in any aspect are always wanted.

Also don't completely rule out guys being able to put on weight. Portis was a small back when he came into the league.

Halsey
03-04-2010, 07:15 PM
because of Chris Johnson, everybody is looking for a clone,

That's not true at all. There were small, speedy, highly skilled RBs making their mark on the NFL long before Johnson. You're being a prisoner of the moment.

theMadStork
03-05-2010, 12:39 AM
I'd take Dave Meggett

ectuberider
03-05-2010, 03:38 AM
Small shifty backs are more effective against 34 fronts (which are quickly taking over the NFL) due to the large lineman and linebackers.

If you watch any Jets games from the past few years in games against 34 fronts they would use Leon Washington more than usual and Thomas Jones less.

The NFL today is a passing league but you also get more opportunities, to run draws, screens, and misdirection running plays since the defense is aggressively blitzing and trying to get to the quarterback giving the backs a chance to get the ball in space, so subsequently the value for shifty, speedy types of players increases while the big bodied power backs are less valuable.

villagewarrior
03-05-2010, 10:53 AM
The thing about running backs is that they are going to get hit on almost every play. My worry about players like Chris Johnson, Jamaal Charles, CJ Spiller and the like is that they may not have the bodies to last long term in the NFL, and while they may burn extremely bright for 3, 4, 5 years, is that as long as they will last? Of course, you probably shouldn't offer a running back more than one contract anyways, so the point is could be moot.

nepg
03-05-2010, 02:27 PM
All experts pick Spiller as a first rounder and most project him to be a specialist on third down and as a returner. Scott Wright projects him going to SF as a backup to Gore and return man/3rd down back.

why would a team in their right mind pay a guy first round money (millions) to be a backup or third down back even though I acknowledge his utility as a specialist.
Outside of the Top 10, getting a backup RB in the first round is a bargain compared to free agency.

The top carriers only averaged ~15 per game last year...

Bengalsrocket
03-05-2010, 02:38 PM
Outside of the Top 10, getting a backup RB in the first round is a bargain compared to free agency.

The top carriers only averaged ~15 per game last year...

in the NFL?

Chris Johnson - 22.
Thomas Jones - 20.
Steven Jackson - 21.
Adrian Peterson - 20.
Maurice Jones-Drew - 19.

(I rounded off their decimals and I did take into account games they missed due to injury etc.)

These guys had the most carries in the season and all average ~20 per a game last year. I'm not nitpicking, but 5 more carries per a game is 80 more carries in a season.

bigfreak314
03-05-2010, 03:14 PM
Every team needs a thunder/lightning backfield

SKim172
03-07-2010, 03:21 PM
My guess - there's just no real complete big back in the draft. A complete smaller back is better than a one-dimensional big guy. It may seem like small backs are dominating, but there've been plenty of bigger backs drafted recently. There just isn't one amazing one this year.