LT vs. AP is the wrong debate

gregory caldarellaAnalyst IJuly 24, 2008

While everyone is enamored with the debate of who is better between LaDainian Tomlinson and Adrian Peterson, there is one running back who has consistently been overlooked. Brian Westbrook is simply better than last year's stud rookie AP and may be even better than the great LT moving forward.

Let's face it, everybody falls in love with the rookie today. No matter what sport it is people want to be the first to say I told you this guy was going to be great. People love the idea of following a player from his draft days all the way through their careers and saying that they believed from day one; almost as if to say they played a role in their success. Sure rookies are exciting and what AP did last year was flat out amazing but let's not get ahead of ourselves just yet. Here is a back who has all the talent in the world but he hasn't done it for an extended period of time. His stud performances of 200+ yards have clouded the fact that he was very inconsistent last year. Just look at how he performed in the last 4 games of the year with his team in the midst of the playoff race. He ran for 3, 78, 27, and 36 yards over those games and that is unacceptable from a stud back. He is still very young and learning and yes he will be a top back for many years but I feel like this is a craze that everybody is caught up in because of all the hype surrounding this kid.

LT is simply the best and I do not think Westbrook compares to him at this point in their respective careers. But should there be some worry as to how slowly LT started last season. Defenses finally seemed able to slow him down unlike in the past and his QB Philip Rivers really looked awful all year. Opposite from AP, LT really finished strong in response to his slow start. He tallied 177, 146, 116, and 107 yards rushing in weeks 13-16. Now that's a stud fantasy back who will undoubtedly show up week in and week out. But then there's the injury he suffered in the playoffs vs. the Colts. Will this affect him especially in the early going? It probably won't mean too much but it does sound eerily similar to the situation where Shaun Alexander was knocked out of a playoff game before last year's downfall.

My point is that Westbrook just doesn't have bad weeks. He has finally established himself as a very productive runner despite naysayers claiming he wouldn't be able to handle a top back's workload. And even if he has an off game on the ground you can rest assure that he will have plenty yards through the air. The Eagles whole offense revolves around him and whenever McNabb is in trouble he finds number 36 and dumps the ball off to him and it is very rare that he doesn't make at least one defender miss. If you play in a points per reception league, Westbrook is as good as they come. He racked in 90 receptions last year and that total was better than Terrell Owens, Steve Smith and Braylon Edwards (now that's saying something). I am a die hard Giants fan and I can openly admit that Westbrook is a stud and if I had the 2nd pick in a fantasy draft, I know who I am taking and it is the guy who is as consistent as they come...