For the first time since 1963, a running back was not selected in the first round of the NFL draft. Based on recent trends, this may have more to do with a philosophical shift in the league as opposed to a lack of talented runners.
In the last three years, there have been just four running backs taken in the first round. And in the last 12 years, there have been five drafts with less than three backs taken. Meanwhile, nine offensive linemen were taken in the first round this year. It was the fourth draft in the last six years in which at least six offensive linemen went in the first round.
In other words, teams want quarterbacks and they want players to protect the quarterback. And if the offensive line is good enough, any decent running back can gain yards. Another factor is that fewer teams are relying on one main running back. In 2012, 10 teams had more than one running back with at least 100 carries.
The result is a position that is no longer that important to many NFL teams. And unless a truly special player is available, teams won’t spend a valuable first round pick on a running back…
Data via Pro-Football-Reference.com
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.