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Running Backs Drafted from 1999-2004
David M. Dorey
2004
Quarterbacks  |  Running Backs  |  Wide Receivers
Rnd 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
1 Edgerrin James Jamal Lewis L. Tomlinson William Green Willis McGahee Steven Jackson
  Ricky Williams Thomas Jones Deuce McAllister T.J. Duckett Larry Johnson Chris Perry
    Ron Dayne Michael Bennett     Kevin Jones
    Sh. Alexander        
    Trung Canidate        
2 James Johnson Travis Prentice Anthony Thomas Deshaun Foster   Tatum Bell
  Kevin Faulk J.R. Redmond Lamont Jordan Clinton Portis   Julius Jones
  Joe Montgomery Reuben Droughns Travis Henry Maurice Morris   Greg Jones
  Mike Cloud Doug Chapman   Ladell Betts    
3 Amos Zereoue   James Jackson Lamar Gordon Musa Smith  
      Kevan Barlow Brian Westbrook B.J. Askew  
      Travis Minor   Chris Brown  
          Justin Fargas  
4 Sedrick Irvin Curtis Keaton Rudi Johnson Jonathan Wells Artose Pinner Mewelde Moore
  Sean Bennett   C. Buckhalter Travis Stephens Domanick Davis Cedric Cobbs
  Olandis Gary       Onterrio Smith  
          Quentin Griffin  
          Lee Suggs  
          LaB.Toefield  
5 Cecil Collins Paul Smith Derrick Blaylock Verron Haynes   Michael Turner
  Jerry Azumah Michael Wiley Chris Barnes      
  Charlie Rogers Dante Hall        
  Terry Jackson Sammy Morris        
  De'Mond Parker Chad Morton        
6   Frank Murphy Dee Brown Josh Scobey Brock Forsey  
    Thomas Hamner Dan Alexander Larry Ned    
    Mike Anderson   Adrian Peterson    
        Brian Allen    
        Chester Taylor    
7 Madre Hill Mike Green Derek Combs Luke Staley M. Mackenzie Adam Echemandu
  Autry Denson Patrick Pass   A. Womack Andrew Pinnock Jonathan Smith
  James Finn Shyrone Stith   Leonard Henry Ahmaad Galloway Quincy Wilson
    Rondell Mealey       Derrick Ward
            Bruce Perry
  Starter         Brandon Miree

First Round - The first round gold mine from 1999 onward ended last season when the first round not only saw only two runners taken, but one (McGahee) never played thanks to a blown knee before he was ever drafted and the other (Johnson) might as well had not suited up. Neither were taken as starters and neither did. Prior to 2003, all 12 taken in the first round became starting running backs and only Dayne and Canidate no longer are.

Rounds Two through Four - Of the 38 backs taken from these rounds since 1999, there are eight who will start this season. James Jackson, Kevin Faulk, Amos Zereoue, Travis Minor, Olandis Gary and Ladell Betts have started in the past. This area of the draft has produced almost as many starters as the first round has. Last season, a RB poor draft by most measures, finally did produce one gem in Domanick Davis but 2001/2002 cranked out seven current year starters. There were none from 199/2000 still playing. This round appears to provide some very nice one-year wonders though Henry, Thomas, Portis and Westbrook have definite legs to their career.

Round Five through Seven - For all the players taken (42), none of them have become a starter at any point in their careers if in fact they are even still in the NFL. Final round gems sound great in theory but non-existent in reality.  This group has produced little more than some kick returners.

2004 - This draft seems eerily similar to the 2003 draft. A RB-poor draft by most opinions, the first two players taken were only to serve as back-ups. Only Kevin Jones (DET) and Julius Jones (DAL) have a clear path to starting and both lasted longer than starting running backs in almost all drafts. Tatum Bell (DEN) may get some playing time in a crowded backfield while Greg Jones and Cedric Cobbs will be waiting for an injury to get their shot.

While 2004 was not the fantasy bonanza of 1999-2001, the fact that two players will start this season already improves on the wasteland that greeted the position last year for all but Domanick Davis. Rookie runners are the one position that a college player can get plugged in and excel from the start and neither Julius nor Kevin have any significant backup to worry about stealing time.