2008 NFL Draft: Year of the Running Back

Posted: September 1, 2011 in NFL News
Tags: , , ,

Photo: NFL

Earlier today I was trying to prove to a coworker how foolish the Titans are for offering that absurd amount of money to Chris Johnson. To prove my point, I showed him that Ray Rice was still making a base salary of $550,000 this year and you don’t see him holding out. I also showed him Jamaal Charles had recently signed a 6-year deal for $32 million, much less than the 4-year, $53 million deal Johnson signed earlier today. If you’re an NFL owner, are you happier with Charles at just over $5 million a year, or would you rather have Johnson at just under $14 million a year?

After demonstrating this point, I soon realized that all three of them were drafted in 2008. So, I decided to take a peak at who else was drafted that year considering I could think of a few other high-profile backs that had been drafted in 2008 off the top of my head. What I found was pretty astonishing!

Excluding the irrelevant players who barely see the field or are no longer in the league, check out this list of running backs drafted in 2008 (in order of draft position):

  • Darren McFadden
  • Jonathan Stewart
  • Felix Jones
  • Rashard Mendenhall
  • Chris Johnson
  • Matt Forte
  • Ray Rice
  • Jamaal Charles
  • Tashard Choice
  • Ryan Torain
  • Tim Hightower
  • Peyton Hillis
  • Justin Forsett
The list above doesn’t include guys who had productive years before falling off such as Steve Slaton and Kevin Smith. It also doesn’t include undrafted players such as BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Danny Woodhead, and Mike Tolbert! Basically half of the league’s starting running backs came out of this draft alone! I know it’s still a little early to make this designation, but this draft will likely go down as the best ever for running backs.
  1. Adam says:

    I completely agree that it was a great year to draft a RB.

    but i dont agree with your bashing of the Titans for giving Chris Johnson that deal. CJ2ks deal cant be compared to RBs of other teams. Your sticking point was “which deal would u rather have, Rice at price A or Johnson at price B?”

    of course any1 would want Rice at that rate, including the Titans front office, but thats not an option they have. They need to please their fans and more importantly they need to win games. The correct comparison would be Johnson vs Ringer (salary to projected output). If you wanted to make a case that theyd be better off with Ringer or a free agent to save the dough, then I’m all ears.

    Cool site though, ill keep an eye on it.

  2. jl1twelve says:

    Good point. It’s not so much that I am bashing the Titans but more the idea of paying so much to a running back. The one part of my argument I missed out on was the immense pressure Titans owner Bud Adams was under to get a deal done. CJ definitely fills the seats and you can’t replace his production with anyone else on the roster, or just about anyone else in the league.

    Thanks for your feedback. Spread the word about my site and check back regularly!

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