Less and less we see running backs selected in the first few rounds of the NFL Draft.
The class of 2012, however, looks to change this trend.
There are a number of high performing backs this year, each of whom could potentially be an immediate game changer for whoever is bold enough to choose them.
Still, in a quarterback-driven league, the men who carry the ball always have to struggle to prove themselves as worthy and vital members of their ball clubs.
And so, let's meet this year's upstarts.
Colt McCoy has not been given enough of a shot yet for the Cleveland Browns to justifiably replace him. He lacks arm strength, but shows some good instincts, and can be an effective game manager. Besides, the team has too many needs for them to be sacrificing draft picks in order to acquire Robert Griffin III.At No.4, the Browns will have a clear chance to pick up the best running back prospect of the draft, Trent Richardson.
Richardson possesses every imaginable quality that one could want in a running back. He is determined, fast, strong, and has great vision. As a blocker, he will be more than effective, and could be a fantastic asset to the passing game.
Peyton Hillis lacks the maturity to be given a big time contract. He had a terrible 2011, making his return unlikely.
The Browns have a good defense and a bad offense.
Richardson can change that.
Cedric Benson ain't getting it done. After seven years in the NFL, he has produced just three 1000+ rushing yard seasons and boasts a 3.8 yards per carry average. Those are not good numbers.
The Cincinnati Bengals play in one of league's toughest divisions. While they have an emerging pass offense, the AFC North defenses have the ability to completely shut down Andy Dalton. To be a perennial playoff competitor, the Bengals need balance.
Miller is a midsized back who can add a necessary spark for Cincinnati. His stats speak for themselves.
5.6 yards per carry.
Personally, I've never understood the blue turf field, but I do understand Doug Martin.
The guy's a monster.
At Boise State, Martin ran for 1200+ yards each of the past two seasons, scoring 43 rushing touchdowns over the course of his college career. One must take into account that Boise State does not use a run-first offense, instead relying on Kellen Moore's spread system. This makes the yardage all the more remarkable.
The Ray Rice clone has fantastic skills at seeing holes in the blocking, and picking up some of the blocks himself.
LeGarrette Blount is by no means a bad running back, but the Bucs offense could certainly use Martin to help carry the load.
The Broncos won't use an early round selection to find Tim Tebow's successor. They won't waste one on a wide receiver either.
Instead, John Fox and John Elway will draft a running back to compliment Willis McGahee.
Chris Polk leaves Washington with 26 rushing touchdowns and over 3000 total yards, more than adequate numbers to pad his resume. He is a power back, using every one of his 222 pounds to burst through defenses.
Also, he can probably popularize "polking," the yet-to-be-invented competitor to "tebowing."
I'm sorry: I promise to never write something as stupid as that again.
All it takes is one cut, and David Wilson has broken through the defense en route to another big gain.
Wilson is a classic speed back, using his quickness to slip by any defender, and often multiple. At Virginia Tech, he ran for 1709 yards this past season, and contributed nine rushing touchdowns.
The Titans are having some major problems getting Chris Johnson a.k.a. CJ2K to produce, so look for them to use a 2nd round pick to add another lightning fast runner.