2011 NFL Draft: Miami Dolphins Trading out of the 1st Round Is Bad for RBs
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Running backs aren't exactly in high demand in this year's draft.
The prevailing thought is that former Alabama star Mark Ingram could land with the Miami Dolphins at the 15th pick, but that's about the only chance that we may see running back go in the first round.
Except what if it didn't happen? Looking at past history and the current state of the National Football League, there is just as much reason for the Dolphins to trade down to the second round and wait for the running back they need to fall to them.
While the number of running backs drafted in the first round has stayed relatively steady, teams have been able to find value in the second round or later.
In four of the past six drafts, backs taken after the first round have, on average, performed equal to or better than their first-round counterparts.
The exceptions? 2010 since that story is still to be written and 2007 when Adrian Peterson was the top running back taken and the New York Giants were still able to find a seventh-round gem in Ahmad Bradshaw.
Take a second look and you'll realize that even with the league's most productive backs, very few of them shoulder the burden of the offense.
As the league has become more passer-friendly, teams have trended away from the feature back model, devaluing the position as a whole.
Likewise, as the college game has evolved to feature more spread-option offenses and sets with four and five wide receivers, backs are coming into the draft with more question marks.
Miami's biggest reason for spending a first-round pick on Ingram is that the team doesn't have another selection until midway through the third round, by which point a number of quality runners will have gone off the board.
But in a draft that's deep with defensive players, there are plenty of teams that could be interested in moving up to fill a need.
The Philadelphia Eagles have made very little secret about their desire to move up from the 23rd spot in the first round in their quest to fill some defensive holes.
Perhaps the best fit would be the Denver Broncos, who need a ton of help on the defensive side.
They will likely take Marcell Dareus or Von Miller with the second pick, but with another mid-first round selection, could grab a pass-rushing defensive end like Cal's Cameron Jordan, Missouri's Aldon Smith, or Ohio State's Cameron Heyward.
That last scenario could be the beginning of a trend. NFL teams are already beginning to attribute more value to players in the passing game – quarterbacks, receivers, and left tackles on offense; defensive backs and pass rushers on defense.
Never has there been an NFL draft that didn't see a back drafted in the first round. But if teams can wait on a back and still find success, it could become vogue for running backs to stay on the board for awhile.
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