Saturday, April 28, 2007

First Running Back Selected (perspective and context)

It is particularly exciting that the Vikings selected the top RB in the draft. Check out to see other first RBs selected. Here are some of the best and worst (I've included every first RB selected since 1989, and notable greats before 1989). As you can see, in recent years it has been pretty safe to take the best running back of the draft class. Since 1999, only William Green was a bust. Edgerrin James, Jamal Lewis, and LaDainian Tomlinson have won rushing titles, and James, Tomlinson, and Steven Jackson have led the league in yards from scrimmage.

The Best
Reggie Bush (2006)
Ronnie Brown (2005)
Steven Jackson (2004)
Willis McGahee (2003)
LaDainian Tomlinson (2001)
Jamal Lewis (2000)
Edgerrin James (1999)
Warrick Dunn (1997)
Marshall Faulk (1994)
Barry Sanders (1989)
Eric Dickerson (1983)
Earl Campbell (1978)
Walter Payton (1975)
Franco Harris (1972)
John Riggins (1971)
O.J. Simpson (1969)
Larry Csonka (1968)
Charley Taylor (1964) (he's listed under RBs, but he's a HOFer as a WR)
Paul Hornung (1958) (Jim Brown was the second RB selected--you can see what Notre Dame meant in the 50s)
Alan Ameche (1955)
Ollie Matson (1952)
Doak Walker (1949)
Steve Van Buren (1944)
George McAfee (1940)
Tuffy Leemans (1936)

The Worst (since 1990)
William Green (2002)
Curtis Enis (1998)
Lawrence Phillips (1996)
Ki-Jana Carter (1995)
Tommy Vardell (1992)
Leonard Russell (1991)
Blair Thomas (1990)

Before Peterson, the Vikings had twice selected the first RB in the NFL draft: Clint Jones in 1967, and Tommy Mason in 1961. Neither was great.

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