While many people believe running backs aren’t worth a first round pick, I disagree for a multitude of reasons depending of course on the team and situation at hand.
This article is inspired by an argument against the @vendettasportsmedia post that was titled, “Leonard Fournette is proof that running backs aren’t worth anything”.
The other day I got into an argument with @vendettasportsmedia writer Scott Logush, who titled his article “Leonard Fournette is proof that running backs aren’t worth anything”. We went back and forth about what we thought, but I eventually got him to give up. My main argument to him was that it’s not feasible to make blanket statements which portrays all running backs as dispensable. Every position in the NFL is worth something or else there would be no need for that position. In 2016, Ezekiel Elliot was chosen 4th overall in the first round. If someone doesn’t believe that he’s worth a first rounder then they are completely ahead of themselves. Since his rookie year, Zeke has allowed 3 sacks (in 4 great season) pass blocking. Zeke has over 5,400 yards in 4 seasons and over 180 receptions. He is already regarded as one of the best blocking backs in this era, and ,according to Scott Logush, he along with every other rb is not worth a first rounder.
The argument about Zeke might be that he has the best offensive line in the league, and that is true but not with other running backs. For example, Melvin Gordon had a horrible first season in the NFL, but with one of the worst offensive lines in the league. However, by his second season he was top 5 in fantasy and regarded as one of the best backs in the league behind that same offensive line. He tallied 997 rushing yards for 10 touchdowns and added 41 red for 419 and 2 more tds. In the following years he only improved, tallying 1105 rushing yards for 8 tds adding 476 yards and 4 tds receiving. Ultimately, this proves that a good running back can produce with a bad offensive line and there are even more examples to follow.
Let’s take a look at Saquon Barkley. If any running back is living proof that they are worth a first round pick and even a top ten pick, it’s this guy. Behind one of the most atrocious offensive lines I’ve ever seen the Giants have, Barkley had one of the best rookie seasons not only by a running back, but any player in NFL history. He tallied 1307 yards for 11 tds and added a mind boggling 91 rec for 721 yards and 4 tds. Are you still going to tell me that running backs are worthless? Just because Fournette doesn’t work out with a team that also had a bad offensive line (reminder Fournette was injured), does not mean all running backs are out of the first round conversation. The bottom line is, some running backs can completely change a teams game with production behind a bad offensive line, and it’s an added threat.
In conclusion, maybe running backs aren’t worth top 5 picks, but they should not be completely disregarded in the first round. If running backs were worthless, they would not be a position and they would not be rushing for 1300 yards behind an atrocious offensive line.
For the first time in my writing career with vendetta sports media I’m going to ask everyone reading to message me on Instagram @will83101.s to give me feedback on this article.