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Sizing Up the Running Backs
David Dorey
August 16, 2006
Quarterbacks  |  Running Backs  |  Wide Receivers  |  Tight Ends
  Team Top 12 RB - 2005 Height Weight Age Exp
1 SEA Alexander, Shaun 5'11" 225 29 6
2 KC Johnson, Larry 6'1" 230 26 2
3 NYG Barber, Tiki 5'10" 205 30 8
4 SD Tomlinson, LaDainian 5'10" 221 26 4
5 IND James, Edgerrin 6'0" 214 28 7
6 WAS Portis, Clinton 5'11" 212 24 3
7 OAK Jordan, LaMont 5'10" 230 27 4
8 CIN Johnson, Rudi 5'10" 225 26 4
9 CHI Jones, Thomas 5'10" 220 27 5
10 BAL Anderson, Mike 6'0" 230 32 5
11 STL Jackson, Steven 6'2" 231 22 1
12 ATL Dunn, Warrick 5'9" 180 30 8
    Average 5'11 218 27 5
 

Height - The best running backs tended to remain between 5'10 and 6' - a pretty small difference. Seven of the top nine runners were either 5'10 or 5'11. Larry Johnson actually skewed the numbers from being taller as does Steven Jackson. Warrick Dunn is a rather extreme case since he was the only back less than 5'10".

Weight - The average is 218 and of the top 12 players last year, only four players were actually less than that mark. Barber and Dunn bring down the average significantly but overall, the better backs tend towards being around 220 pounds or more.

Age/Experience : Youth be served. The average age was just five years and yet only four players were four players were over that mark. Dunn and Barber were remarkably productive last year despite being 30 years old and having 8 years of playing time. Then again - neither had heavy use earlier in their careers and both are lighter players. Overall - best runners are good sized and young or in the rare case, older but lighter than normal.

     
# Team Top Rookies Height Weight Age
1.02 NO Bush, Reggie 6'0" 203 21
1.21 NE Maroney, Laurence 5'11" 220 21
1.27 CAR Williams, DeAngelo 5'9" 217 22
1.30 IND Addai, Joseph 5'11" 214 23
2.13 TEN White, LenDale 6'1" 235 22
2.28 JAC Drew, Maurice 5'8" 205 21
3.10 DET Calhoun, Brian 5'9" 202 22
3.15 ATL Norwood, Jerious 6'0" 204 23
 

Rookies: This is true every year. Though the most successful backs tend to being over 210 pounds and 220 is prototypical, college always produces lighter backs. Lendale White comes in as a monster bruiser by comparison, but the reality is he's about the same weight as Jackson, Jordan or Johnson. Most of the backs drafted are also shorter than ideal. This is why so many end up as third down backs because they have speed and moves but just not the size to succeed in the NFL

Of the top eight tailbacks drafted, only two exceed the 218 pound average of a top NFL back. Bush may have the rare talent to succeed, but only Maroney, Williams and White really have the desired size. Addai is borderline but his lack of fulltime play in college is more bothersome.


Team By Team Height Weight Age Exp
ARZ Arrington, J.J. 5'9" 214 23 2
ARZ James, Edgerrin 6'0" 214 28 7
ATL Duckett, T.J. 6'0" 254 25 4
ATL Dunn, Warrick 5'9" 180 31 9
BAL Anderson, Mike 6'0" 230 33 6
BAL Lewis, Jamal 5'11" 245 27 6
BUF McGahee, Willis 6'0" 228 25 2
CAR Foster, DeShaun 6'0" 222 26 4
CHI Benson, Cedric 5'11" 220 24 2
CHI Jones, Thomas 5'10" 220 28 6
CHI Peterson, Adrian 5'10" 210 27 4
CIN Johnson, Rudi 5'10" 225 27 5
CIN Perry, Chris 6'0" 224 25 2
CLE Droughns, Reuben 5'11" 215 28 6
DAL Barber, Marion 6'0" 212 23 2
DAL Jones, Julius 5'10" 205 25 2
DEN Bell, Tatum 5'11" 213 25 2
DEN Dayne, Ron 5'10" 245 28 6
DET Bryson, Shawn 6'1" 230 30 7
DET Jones, Kevin 5'11" 221 24 2
GB Davenport, Najeh 6'1" 247 27 4
GB Gado, Samkon 5'11" 210 24 2
GB Green, Ahman 6'0" 218 29 8
HOU Davis, Domanick 5'9" 221 26 3
HOU Morency, Vernand 5'9" 212 26 2
HOU Smith, Antowain 6'2" 232 34 9
IND Rhodes, Dominic 5'9" 203 27 5
JAX Jones, Greg 6'1" 250 25 2
JAX Taylor, Fred 6'1" 234 30 8
KC Bennett, Michael 5'9" 211 28 5
KC Johnson, Larry 6'1" 230 27 3
Team By Team Height Weight Age Exp
MIA Brown, Ronnie 6'0" 232 25 2
MIN Moore, Mewelde 5'11" 209 24 2
MIN Taylor, Chester 5'11" 213 27 4
NE Dillon, Corey 6'1" 225 32 9
NO McAllister, Deuce 6'1" 232 28 5
NYG Jacobs, Brandon 6'4" 256 24 2
NYG Barber, Tiki 5'10" 205 31 9
NYJ Houston, Cedric 6'0" 220 24 2
NYJ Martin, Curtis 5'11" 210 33 11
OAK Jordan, LaMont 5'10" 230 28 5
PHI Moats, Ryan 5'8" 210 24 2
PHI Westbrook, Brian 5'8" 203 27 4
PIT Haynes, Verron 5'9" 222 27 4
PIT Parker, Willie 5'10" 209 26 2
PIT Staley, Duce 5'11" 242 31 9
SD Sproles, Darren 5'6" 181 23 2
SD Tomlinson, LaDainian 5'10" 221 27 5
SD Turner, Michael 5'10" 237 24 2
SEA Alexander, Shaun 5'11" 225 29 6
SEA Morris, Maurice 5'11" 202 27 4
SF Barlow, Kevan 6'1" 238 27 5
SF Gore, Frank 5'9" 212 23 2
STL Fisher, Tony 6'1" 222 27 4
STL Jackson, Steven 6'2" 231 23 2
TB Pittman, Michael 6'0" 228 31 8
TB Williams, Carnell 5'11" 217 24 2
TEN Brown, Chris 6'3" 220 25 3
TEN Henry, Travis 5'9" 215 28 5
WAS Betts, Ladell 5'10" 223 27 4
WAS Portis, Clinton 5'11" 212 25 4

By Height Height By Weight Weight By Age Age By Experience Exp
Jacobs, Brandon 6'4" Jacobs, Brandon 256 Smith, Antowain 34 Martin, Curtis 11
Brown, Chris 6'3" Duckett, T.J. 254 Anderson, Mike 33 Dunn, Warrick 9
Smith, Antowain 6'2" Jones, Greg 250 Martin, Curtis 33 Smith, Antowain 9
Jackson, Steven 6'2" Davenport, Najeh 247 Dillon, Corey 32 Dillon, Corey 9
Bryson, Shawn 6'1" Lewis, Jamal 245 Dunn, Warrick 31 Barber, Tiki 9
Davenport, Najeh 6'1" Dayne, Ron 245 Barber, Tiki 31 Staley, Duce 9
Jones, Greg 6'1" Staley, Duce 242 Staley, Duce 31 Green, Ahman 8
Taylor, Fred 6'1" Barlow, Kevan 238 Pittman, Michael 31 Taylor, Fred 8
Johnson, Larry 6'1" Turner, Michael 237 Bryson, Shawn 30 Pittman, Michael 8
Dillon, Corey 6'1" Taylor, Fred 234 Taylor, Fred 30 James, Edgerrin 7
McAllister, Deuce 6'1" Smith, Antowain 232 Green, Ahman 29 Bryson, Shawn 7
Barlow, Kevan 6'1" Brown, Ronnie 232 Alexander, Shaun 29 Anderson, Mike 6
Fisher, Tony 6'1" McAllister, Deuce 232 James, Edgerrin 28 Lewis, Jamal 6
James, Edgerrin 6'0" Jackson, Steven 231 Jones, Thomas 28 Jones, Thomas 6
Duckett, T.J. 6'0" Anderson, Mike 230 Droughns, Reuben 28 Droughns, Reuben 6
Anderson, Mike 6'0" Bryson, Shawn 230 Dayne, Ron 28 Dayne, Ron 6
McGahee, Willis 6'0" Johnson, Larry 230 Bennett, Michael 28 Alexander, Shaun 6
Foster, DeShaun 6'0" Jordan, LaMont 230 McAllister, Deuce 28 Johnson, Rudi 5
Perry, Chris 6'0" McGahee, Willis 228 Jordan, LaMont 28 Rhodes, Dominic 5
Barber, Marion 6'0" Pittman, Michael 228 Henry, Travis 28 Bennett, Michael 5
Green, Ahman 6'0" Johnson, Rudi 225 Lewis, Jamal 27 McAllister, Deuce 5
Brown, Ronnie 6'0" Dillon, Corey 225 Peterson, Adrian 27 Jordan, LaMont 5
Houston, Cedric 6'0" Alexander, Shaun 225 Johnson, Rudi 27 Tomlinson, LaDainian 5
Pittman, Michael 6'0" Perry, Chris 224 Davenport, Najeh 27 Barlow, Kevan 5
Arrington, J.J. 5'9" Betts, Ladell 223 Rhodes, Dominic 27 Henry, Travis 5
Dunn, Warrick 5'9" Foster, DeShaun 222 Johnson, Larry 27 Duckett, T.J. 4
Davis, Domanick 5'9" Haynes, Verron 222 Taylor, Chester 27 Foster, DeShaun 4
Morency, Vernand 5'9" Fisher, Tony 222 Westbrook, Brian 27 Peterson, Adrian 4
Rhodes, Dominic 5'9" Jones, Kevin 221 Haynes, Verron 27 Davenport, Najeh 4
Bennett, Michael 5'9" Davis, Domanick 221 Tomlinson, LaDainian 27 Taylor, Chester 4
Haynes, Verron 5'9" Tomlinson, LaDainian 221 Morris, Maurice 27 Westbrook, Brian 4
Gore, Frank 5'9" Benson, Cedric 220 Barlow, Kevan 27 Haynes, Verron 4
Henry, Travis 5'9" Jones, Thomas 220 Fisher, Tony 27 Morris, Maurice 4
Moats, Ryan 5'8" Houston, Cedric 220 Betts, Ladell 27 Fisher, Tony 4
Westbrook, Brian 5'8" Brown, Chris 220 Foster, DeShaun 26 Betts, Ladell 4
Sproles, Darren 5'6" Green, Ahman 218 Davis, Domanick 26 Portis, Clinton 4
Lewis, Jamal 5'11" Williams, Carnell 217 Morency, Vernand 26 Davis, Domanick 3
Benson, Cedric 5'11" Droughns, Reuben 215 Parker, Willie 26 Johnson, Larry 3
Droughns, Reuben 5'11" Henry, Travis 215 Duckett, T.J. 25 Brown, Chris 3
Bell, Tatum 5'11" Arrington, J.J. 214 McGahee, Willis 25 Arrington, J.J. 2
Jones, Kevin 5'11" James, Edgerrin 214 Perry, Chris 25 McGahee, Willis 2
Gado, Samkon 5'11" Bell, Tatum 213 Jones, Julius 25 Benson, Cedric 2
Moore, Mewelde 5'11" Taylor, Chester 213 Bell, Tatum 25 Perry, Chris 2
Taylor, Chester 5'11" Barber, Marion 212 Jones, Greg 25 Barber, Marion 2
Martin, Curtis 5'11" Morency, Vernand 212 Brown, Ronnie 25 Jones, Julius 2
Staley, Duce 5'11" Gore, Frank 212 Brown, Chris 25 Bell, Tatum 2
Alexander, Shaun 5'11" Portis, Clinton 212 Portis, Clinton 25 Jones, Kevin 2
Morris, Maurice 5'11" Bennett, Michael 211 Benson, Cedric 24 Gado, Samkon 2
Williams, Carnell 5'11" Peterson, Adrian 210 Jones, Kevin 24 Morency, Vernand 2
Portis, Clinton 5'11" Gado, Samkon 210 Gado, Samkon 24 Jones, Greg 2
Jones, Thomas 5'10" Martin, Curtis 210 Moore, Mewelde 24 Brown, Ronnie 2
Peterson, Adrian 5'10" Moats, Ryan 210 Jacobs, Brandon 24 Moore, Mewelde 2
Johnson, Rudi 5'10" Moore, Mewelde 209 Houston, Cedric 24 Jacobs, Brandon 2
Jones, Julius 5'10" Parker, Willie 209 Moats, Ryan 24 Houston, Cedric 2
Dayne, Ron 5'10" Jones, Julius 205 Turner, Michael 24 Moats, Ryan 2
Barber, Tiki 5'10" Barber, Tiki 205 Williams, Carnell 24 Parker, Willie 2
Jordan, LaMont 5'10" Rhodes, Dominic 203 Arrington, J.J. 23 Sproles, Darren 2
Parker, Willie 5'10" Westbrook, Brian 203 Barber, Marion 23 Turner, Michael 2
Tomlinson, LaDainian 5'10" Morris, Maurice 202 Sproles, Darren 23 Gore, Frank 2
Turner, Michael 5'10" Sproles, Darren 181 Gore, Frank 23 Jackson, Steven 2
Betts, Ladell 5'10" Dunn, Warrick 180 Jackson, Steven 23 Williams, Carnell 2