As Football Outsiders has been arguing for a while now, investing draft picks or big contracts in runningbacks doesn't create a corresponding increase in value or production from the position. Unlike QB & WR, every year a multitude of undrafted or late-round draft pick runningbacks step on the scene and produce at an elite level.
So, running back is one area where I really trust Shanny and I think he's the right man for the job: finding good production out of the RB position without investing early picks or big contracts. Remember he's the one who originally traded away Portis when Portis wanted (and got) a big pay day.
Torain has looked good, and if Portis leaves next year, I have faith Shanny will bring in other guys to step in and play. Running back is the one position we will be ok on, even if we don't use a high draft pick on one, or sign/trade a big name.
Says Football Outsiders:
Each year, the rushing leaderboards are littered with guys who didn't need a pedigree to get to the top of the charts. Among the top 20 rushers this year by DYAR are six players who were either drafted in the seventh round or went undrafted; there's only four such quarterbacks and three such receivers in the passing top 20.
It also jibes with every bit of research we've ever done at Football Outsiders; whether it's rate of return on a draft pick, the effects of injury on an offense, or where spending money produces a return, investing valuable resources into running backs isn't all that likely to return a feature back. And yet, despite the existence of players like Hillis and Foster -- guys available for peanuts during the offseason -- teams still pour millions into their backfield.
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