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Running Backs Drafted from 2000 to 2006
David Dorey
June 21, 2006
Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Wide Receivers

First Round - The first round historically had always been rich in providing stud running backs for the NFL up until 2002 when a three year drought of sorts began.  No running back was selected in the first 16 picks in those three seasons and the results show their fall in the first round was warranted.  Both William Green and T.J. Duckett have failed to become even a primary rusher while Willis McGahee and Larry Johnson had to wait a season or two before getting into gear. What has been most troubling is the tendency of teams to draft early running backs when they already have a starter. A prudent move and one that has paid off well in the long term but one that has diminished what tailbacks can do in their rookie season. Carnell Williams turned it back around to some degree last year but he was the third back taken. Both Benson and Brown went to situations where they had to share the carries.

Rounds Two through Four – The last six drafts have offered up 11 different runners who became current starters for their team, almost as many as the first round has. What has been more telling has been that most have needed at least season or more to get the opportunity. Oddly enough, the fourth round has produced very little other than Domanick Davis and Rudi Johnson – both very good fantasy backs.

Round Five through Seven - For all the players taken here, 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. Derrick Blaylock had a few nice games behind the monster line in Kansas City, but even he was sent packing last offseason. It just doesn’t happen anymore, regardless of the Terrell Davis story. Undrafted players like Samkon Gado have actually done better than anyone in this grouping.

2006 – The draft this season follows a year where three tailbacks went early and produced the Offensive Rookie of the Year in Carnell Williams. But still there were no major breakouts by rookie runners other than Williams. This season is another with great promise and yet risk. All four players from the first round are candidates for a big season as is LenDale White in Tennessee. But in every case, the respective head coaches are at least claiming that their new runner will be paired with an existing one. Reggie Bush is obviously one to watch but has McAllister. Maroney waits behind Dillon. Williams has to go through Foster. White has Brown and Henry. The best candidate by situation is Joseph Addai with only Dominic Rhodes and James Mungro in the way but none are anointed as starters from the start.

Rnd 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
1 Jamal Lewis L. Tomlinson William Green Willis McGahee Steven Jackson Ronnie Brown Reggie Bush
Thomas Jones Deuce McAllister T.J. Duckett Larry Johnson Chris Perry Cedric Benson

Lauren. Maroney

Ron Dayne Michael Bennett     Kevin Jones Carnell Williams DeAng. Williams
Sh. Alexander           Joseph Addai
Trung Canidate            
2 Travis Prentice Anthony Thomas DeShaun Foster   Tatum Bell JJ Arrington LenDale White
J.R. Redmond Lamont Jordan Clinton Portis   Julius Jones Eric Shelton Maurice Drew
Reub. Droughns Travis Henry Maurice Morris   Greg Jones    
Doug Chapman   Ladell Betts        
3   James Jackson Lamar Gordon Musa Smith   Frank Gore Brian Calhoun
  Kevan Barlow Brian Westbrook B.J. Askew   Vern. Morency Jerious Norwood
  Travis Minor   Chris Brown   Ryan Moats  
      Justin Fargas   Maurice Clarett  
4 Curtis Keaton Rudi Johnson Jonathan Wells Artose Pinner Mewelde Moore Marion Barber Le. Washington
  C. Buckhalter Travis Stephens Domanick Davis Cedric Cobbs Brand. Jacobs P.J. Daniels
      Onterrio Smith   Ciatrick Fason  
      Quentin Griffin   Alvin Pearman  
      Lee Suggs   Darren Sproles  
5 Paul Smith Derrick Blaylock Verron Haynes   Michael Turner Damien Nash Jerome Harrison
Michael Wiley Chris Barnes         David Kirtman
Dante Hall            
Sammy Morris            
Chad Morton            
6 Frank Murphy Dee Brown Josh Scobey Brock Forsey   Cedric Houston Wali Lundy
T. Hamner Dan Alexander Larry Ned     Deandra Cobb Lawren. Vickers
Mike Anderson   Adrian Peterson       J.D. Runnels
    Brian Allen        
    Chester Taylor        
7 Mike Green Derek Combs Luke Staley M. Mackenzie A. Echemandu Lionel Gates Cedric Humes
Patrick Pass   A. Womack Andrew Pinnock Jonathan Smith Anthony Davis Quinton Ganther
Shyrone Stith   Leonard Henry A. Galloway Quincy Wilson Noah Herron  
Rondell Mealey       Derrick Ward    
        Bruce Perry    
 Starter       Brandon Miree    

Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Wide Receivers