Brian Westbook and 5 of the Most Underrated Free Agent Running Backs

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Brian Westbook and 5 of the Most Underrated Free Agent Running Backs
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

This is the second part of a series that takes a look at the underrated players in free agency this year. 

Running backs are heavily loaded in this offseason group of players looking to either be signed, re-signed or traded.

There are new guys who didn't get drafted and vets who didn't get a contract. 

Some just don't seem to have a place left on the team because the depth chart is too full.  This is another case of everyone wanting the players believed to be the best in the league and pushing out the others who didn't do as well as expected.

The average career length of an NFL player is anywhere from 3.5 years to six years.  If they happened to be a No. 1 draft pick, their career length vastly improves to 9.3 years.  Then, if they were good enough to play in the Pro Bowl at least once, that number reaches 11.7 years.

However, if you are a running back, teams tend to prefer the younger guys who still have their top speed and leg strength.  Last season, the average age of the "stud back" players like Arian Foster, Adrian Peterson, Peyton Hillis, Ray Rice, Chris Johnson, etc... was 24 years old.  The other running backs, not considered to be as high-tiered, averaged an age of 26.1 years.

Therefore there is good news if you are a running back who is young and a first round pick who will eventually land in the Pro Bowl someday.  If you don't happen to fall in this list, then you might need to consider another line of work.  

Regardless of statistics, using multiple running backs on offensive schemes is becoming more popular than using the one back (Vikings) who ends up doing all of the work.  The average rushing attempts in the NFL is approximately 14,000, so it would seem wise to spread that workload around if you want to keep players off the injured list.

The players on this list are hoping to be added to a team who needs help and/or depth at running back. They have plenty of leg left in them and would immediately add to the strength of the offensive roster.

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