Why is it that whenever you ask someone who they feel the best running back in football is, they are all too quick to blurt out "Adrian Peterson!"? I myself might be guilty of this oversight as I made a list of the top 10 backs in football and ranked Adrian Peterson first and DeAngelo Williams third.
But after doing some careful analysis, I've come to the conclusion that one could make a valid argument for proclaiming DeAngelo Williams to be a better running back than Adrian Peterson.
Even after being selected to the Pro Bowl, I still feel that Williams has not received the proper recognition.
Let's take a look at how both players produced in 2008 to get a better idea of what I'm talking about.
Adrian Peterson: 363 carries for 1,760 rushing yards (4.8 YPC) and 10 touchdowns.
DeAngelo Williams: 273 carries for 1,515 rushing yards (5.5 YPC) and 18 touchdowns.
What we can see here is that DeAngelo actually averages more YPC than Adrian Peterson. Of course, it might prove to be more difficult to keep that average up if your carrying a heavier work load, but there can be no question that Williams would have gained more yards if he had more carries.
Technically speaking, these would be his numbers (by average) if Williams had the 90 extra carries that Peterson had...
DeAngelo Williams: 363 carries for 1,996 yards (5.5 YPC) and 24 touchdowns.
Now again, I wouldn't expect DeAngelo to continue averaging 5.5 YPC if he had to run the ball 90 more times, but it wouldn't be hard to imagine him gaining 1,800 yards and 20 touchdowns, now would it?
We also have to take a look at both players performance when it comes to fumbling the football.
In 2008, Adrian Peterson fumbled nine times and lost four of those fumbles. Williams didn't fumble the football a single time. Which obviously gives DeAngelo the edge in the turnover area.
Now let's take a look at both player's production in the receiving game...
Adrian Peterson: 21 receptions for 125 yards and zero touchdowns.
DeAngelo Williams: 22 receptions for 122 yards and two touchdowns.
There is not much of a difference here, but two touchdowns is a lot better than none, so you'd have to favor DeAngelo in this area as well.
Arguably, DeAngelo Williams played better in every category. Yet, almost no one would say that he is anywhere close (let alone better) than Adrian Peterson.
DeAngelo averages more YPC, scores double the amount of touchdowns and fumbled nine times less. That to me is enough to at least warrant the comparison.
I personally would give the edge to Peterson due to his pure running ability, and the potential I feel he has down the road. He's also been really good for two seasons compared to Williams' one. Still, DeAngelo Williams must be considered. On paper, he's the better player.
Those are my thoughts, what are yours?