2013 NFL Draft: Why the St. Louis Rams Need Not Go RB in First Round

Jamal Collier@@JCollierDAnalyst IIIApril 1, 2013

Did the St. Louis Rams get their starting RB in the seventh round last year? (Daryl Richardson)
Did the St. Louis Rams get their starting RB in the seventh round last year? (Daryl Richardson)Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

NFL.com analyst Gil Brandt was the only one of 17 mock drafters to award the St. Louis Rams a running back—Eddie Lacy of Alabama—in his synopsis of the first round. St. Louis may or may not require additional help in the backfield, but the first round isn’t the place to look for it.

It’s not a secret that head coach Jeff Fisher wants to add a larger running back to help replace the departed Steven Jackson—a 6’2”, 240-pound multi-talented player (from CBS Sports’ Jamey Eisenberg).

One-third of their trio of rising sophomore running backs is certainly big: Terrance Ganaway stands 6’0” and weighs 240 pounds. He was the nation’s eighth-leading rusher in 2011, but caught a grand total of 12 passes throughout his collegiate career at Baylor.

Even if the Rams don’t trust his hands and prefer to go in another direction at the position, productive running backs are found throughout—and after—the NFL draft.

Six of the top 16 NFL rushers in 2012 were selected in the first round of their respective drafts. Two (Arian Foster, sixth; BenJarvus Green-Ellis, 13) were undrafted. One was taken in each of the second (Ray Rice, 11th), sixth (Alfred Morris, second) and seventh (Ahmad Bradshaw, 16th) rounds. The rest of them—five—were selected in the third.

For comparison, nine of the top 16 leaders in receiving yards were former first-rounders. The same goes for 11 of the top 15 leaders in passing yards.

And seven of those guys went No. 1 overall.

Exactly one running back—Oregon’s Kenjon Barner—garnered any first-place votes in the Heisman
. Three running backs finished in the top 10 of overall voting in 2011, including eventual No. 3 overall pick Trent Richardson of the Cleveland Browns.

Despite the selection of Doug Martin and David Wilson in the penultimate and final selections of the first round, respectively, LaMichael James went in the second to the San Francisco 49ers. Montee Ball didn’t enter the draft that year, but he’ll be available this time around.

The production of mid- to no-round rushers combined with the lack of Heisman pedigree among running backs in the upcoming draft class should prevent the Rams from addressing the position in the first round.


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