Is it really best to wait until the middle or late rounds of the NFL draft to find a running back?
The position as a whole, given its short average career and role-by-committee evolvement at the pro level, has largely been devalued in the NFL.
Eagles executive VP of football operations Howie Roseman says he doesn't view the position that way, though.
"There's this narrative that you can get running backs in the fifth, sixth, seventh round and undrafted free agency," Roseman said on Monday at the NFL Annual Meeting in Boca Raton, Fla., per The Philadelphia Inquirer. "But when you look back at the last 10 years of guys that are really in the top 10 in rushing, those guys are high picks.
"And so, when you find a special talent at that position, that guy who can run the ball, who can pass-protect, who can catch the ball out of the backfield, that's a unique weapon."
There has been speculation that the Eagles are considering Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott with the No. 8 overall pick of the draft, particularly since the club tradedDeMarco Murray to the Tennessee Titans earlier this month. NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah projects the club to select Elliott, who possesses the three-down skill set Roseman espoused. Elliott is regarded as the top running back in the draft after rushing for two 1,800-yard seasons at OSU. He's also drawn scouting praise for his blocking and receiving skills.
Rams running back Todd Gurley certainly did his part to debunk the devalued running back theory in his rookie season last year. He was chosen No. 10 overall by the Rams, and after sitting out the early part of the season to complete a knee rehabilitation, he averaged 141 yards per game over his first four NFL starts on his way to 1,106 yards for the season. The early returns were not nearly as favorable for the other RB selected in Round 1 last year -- the Chargers' Melvin Gordon, who went No. 15 overall and rushed for 641 yards (3.5 yards per carry) as a rookie in 14 games.