Marcus Allen: Run game will regain prominence in NFL


In the 1982 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders selected Marcus Allen at No. 10 overall. He was the third running back taken in a draft that saw seven rushers go in the first round.

Thirty two years later, there might not be a single running back drafted in Thursday's first round.

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Sunday at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Fan Fest, Allen told NFL Media's Elliot Harrison he was discussing with legendary runners Eric Dickerson, Earl Campbell and Marshall Faulk the devaluation of their once-dominant position.

"We are sort of the last of the Mohicans, because unfortunately the running game isn't emphasized like it's been in the past," Allen said. "Players that wanted to be running backs are playing wide receiver."

As Around The League's Chris Wesseling pointed out during free agency, running backs are being compensated along the lines of kickers on the open market.

"I still think, regardless of the trend, I think you can't win without an established running game," Allen said.

To Allen's point, the top two teams last season -- Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers -- leaned on strong rushing attacks deep into the playoffs.

Allen then predicted the cyclical game will return to the ground again.

"So all you running backs out there, don't lose faith," he said. "The game will come back around and it will be a running game again, some time soon hopefully."

Given today's rules and offensive tendencies, we wouldn't expect that overwhelming return in short order. However, some teams, like Sean Payton's New Orleans Saints, might help give Allen more of what he's looking for from NFL backfields in 2014.

The latest "Around The League Podcast" breaks down draft news and rumors and plays the popular prediction game, "Go Get My Lunch!"