Running the football isn’t as important as it used to be; at least, that’s the general consensus in 2014. And there seems to be some proof to the notion; one look through the teams that made the playoffs last season provides plenty of evidence.
More teams are employing a running-back-by-committee approach than ever before. The day and age of the dominant, every-down back seem to be a thing of the past.
As a result, franchises aren’t using high draft picks on running backs like they used to. Finding ball carriers in more obscure places is en vogue.
But that could change, as everything in the NFL is cyclical. And the production put forth by Eddie Lacy in 2013, who the Green Bay Packers took in the second round and saw develop into the league’s Offensive Rookie of the Year, might just be the first domino in the shift.
So finding a running back in the draft is still important. It’s just a matter of what type of investment teams are willing to make on the position.
Here’s how the editors of cover32 assess the field:
10. Lache Seastrunk (Baylor)
He may be a little short (5-foot-9), but he’s compact (210 pounds), which allows Seastrunk to thrive. A combination of great balance and a quick burst makes him a dangerous runner, as evidenced by the 1,177 yards and 11 touchdowns he posted last season at Baylor despite missing nearly three full games due to injury. The only drawback, other than his height, is Seastrunk’s tendency to dance; he’s not a hit-the-hole type of back, choosing instead to go East and West in search of a big gain.
9. Bishop Sankey (Washington)
If a team is looking for a durable workhorse, Sankey could be the answer. As a junior, he broke Corey Dillon’s single-season rushing record with 1,870 yards, while also crossing the goal line 20 times in 13 games. That’s a guy who isn’t afraid to carry the football, something the Huskies asked him to do a lot. He’s also a hard worker and a leader, something his teammates recognized by electing him a captain during his junior campaign.