Late-Round Running Back Treasures

April 6th, 2017

Lamar Miller is part of a big club

A dozen NFL players rushed for 1,000 or more yards last season.

Guess how many were first-or second-round draft picks?

Well, you don’t have to guess. Joe has laid it out for your below in detail.

Two were first-rounders, Ezekiel Elliot and Mark Ingram, and two were second-rounders, Le’Veon Bell and LeSean McCoy. The other eight were drafted in the third round or later, or were undrafted.

Ezekiel Elliott, 1,631 yards, rookie first-round pick
Jordan Howard, 1,313 yards, rookie fifth-round pick
DeMarco Murray, 1,287 yards, 2011 third-round pick
Jay Ajayi, 1,272 yards, 2015 fifth-round pick
Le’Veon Bell, 1,268 yards, 2013 second-round pick
LeSean McCoy, 1,267 yards, 2009 second-round pick
David Johnson, 1,239 yards, 2015 third-round pick
LeGarrette Blount, 1,161 yards, 2010 undrafted
Devonta Freeman, 1,079 yards, 2014 fourth-round pick
Lamar Miller, 1,079 yards, 2012 fourth-round pick
Mark Ingram, 1,043 yards, 2011 first-round pick
Frank Gore, 1,025 yards, 2005 third-round pick

Joe’s point here is that as the draft unfolds in three short weeks, Bucs fans shouldn’t enter full blown panic mode if the hours (days?) tick by and the Bucs don’t have a new running back.

The Bucs should come out smiling from this deep-at-running-back draft, assuming Jason Licht doesn’t draft the next Charles Sims.

51 Responses to “Late-Round Running Back Treasures”

  1. mike10 Says:

    Honestly, it would prove impulsive if I see Licht grab a RB in the first. I’ve never seen a draft w so much RB depth.

  2. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    tick tick BOOM!

  3. Tony from Los Angeles Says:

    Great article, Joe. I’ve been harping on the lack of success of first round RBs – especially in the last 7-8 years or so. Good teams rarely draft RBs high, spending those picks on the more important premium positions like DL, DB, WR, OL. I know everyone loves Dalvin Cook, but it would prove a lot smarter if the Bucs went after one of the premium positions first and took advantage of this deep RB class in later rounds.

    Though, drafting Mixon in the 2nd could prove the smartest move of all.

  4. Bucsfanman Says:

    Uh oh! Nobody tell Nole! He might fall off the deep end with this article! 🙂

  5. Brandon Says:

    There is absolutely no need to draft a RB in the 1st round…NONE! None of them are THAT special anyways!

  6. Dubcity06 Says:

    Finally some sense. Wait on RB.

    And no to mixon. Dont wanna root for a guy who knocks out women and has a short tempee

  7. JJBucFan Says:

    Unless D Cook turns out to be a Zeke and Mixon turns out to be a L Philips, Just sayin’

    i was looking back at the Bucs 2014 draft, Yikes
    Round 1- Mike Evans…Awesome
    Round 2 ASJ- oops
    Round 3 Charles Sims- No explanation needed
    No round 4
    Round 5- Kadeem Edwards OG from Tennessee-yuck
    Round 6- Robert Herron
    Round 7- K. Pamphile

    This is why we were bottom dwellers. The draft is THAT important. This is why I love Silly Season. Stupid Goodell had to move it to the end of April. I remember watching it on like April 4. Ugh!!!!

  8. Joeypoppems Says:

    I stopped caring about when it happens. They just need a starting RB. And they have plenty of options.

  9. tmaxcon Says:

    it’s simple… do the right thing get cook at all costs take Goodwin in the second and the bucs will win two to 3 championships in the next 7 years…. Franchise Quaterbacks with weapons win championships…. Defenses waste years to win one championship then get dismantled. It’s a new league, new rules and new philiophiels.

    Protect Winston
    Give Winston Weapons
    Plan Superbowl victory parades.

    Defense has never won championshipS it takes defensive teams 3 to 4 years to get the superbowl they win one then get dismantled it’s happened each and every time bears, bucs, ravens, broncos etcc…. the teams that are legit dynastys that win multiple championships have franchise quarterbacks with weapons not dinosaur mindsets with BS defensive philosophy. Give jameis weapons and mid pack defense and you can plan the parade. stop wasting money on softserv and build a reliable defensive line that you can count on. two of the fragile three still remain.

  10. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Working on my wish list for the draft today. There are some good RBs for rounds 2-4 that would make an impact. There is one in particular I like in the 4th that is very much like Alstott was, but better at pass blocking.

  11. Doit Bucs Says:

    Yes sounds good but most of the late round picks have been in the NFL for some time. How many later round picks can come in and help right away? We need someone to make a impact now.

  12. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    Jordan Howard and Devonta Freeman both ran for 1000+ yards as a rookie. Jay Ajayi and David Johnson did so as sophmores.

  13. Mojiska Says:

    @doitbucs- A lot of thos guys helped almost right away too.

    Murray- drafted in 11, broke out in 13?
    Johnson-drafted in 15, had 2 good seasons so far
    Miller- productive but underused in his miami days
    Blount- we all know too well his immediate impact.
    Howard- rookie
    Gore- been doing it forever
    Freeman- 3 good years in so far.

  14. Mojiska Says:

    Almost all of these guys did contribute right away. The key is finding a back that eorks in your system and you utilize to his advantages.

    I love cook, and if tampa drafts him i will not be dissapointed, but history shows that a high draft pick on a runningback is not a wise investment these days. Build a system first, plug in a guy that can run your system. Spend high picks on other positions.

  15. Lord Cornelius Says:

    JJ you’re forgetting Kevin Pamphile – who is pretty valuable – from the 5th round in that 2014 draft.

    and Tmax I have to disagree pretty hardcore on the defense thing. The teams you list were amazing defenses with terrible QB play. The fact that those teams won super bowls with sh1tty QB play shows how important defense still is if anything. Everyone knows you need a franchise QB.. but the teams that win multiple championships recently have done so because of good defense + great QB… not with bad defense & an amazing offense.

    Our entire win streak last year was because of the improved defensive play for one; but some quick facts to illustrate my point:

    2016 Pats D = #1 in PPG allowed. Falcons weren’t great most the year but the biggest improvement for them and reason they went so far imo was their defense came alive towards the end of the season & in the post season.

    2015 Broncos = #4 in PPG allowed; Panthers = #6 in PPG allowed

    2014 Pats D = #8 in PPG allowed. Seattle = #1 in PPG allowed

    2013 Seahawks = #1 in PPG allowed. Denver = 22 in PPG and got DESTROYED

    2012 Ravens = #12 in PPG allowed. 49ers = #2 in PPG allowed.

    So in the last 5 super bowls; defense still wins man. Even in the “modern era” everyone says we’re in where offense is king… it really isn’t. The Falcons are the closest thing to have proven that offense can win and still lost.. and even then their defense was playing at a top level statistically down the stretch. Same thing with the Giants in both their super bowls – they won on the back of defense and Eli playing clutch

    Seattle is the model of it. Franchise QB + elite defense = chance at a super bowl every year. Even with a terrible O-line and mediocre skill players they are in the hunt every year.

    That 2013 super bowl was a perfect visual lesson in the importance of defense over offense.

    All that said I want a WR,RB, & TE in this draft lol. Because we have a young franchise QB and we need to do whatever we can to get him going to the next level. But defense is still as important as ever.

  16. JJBucFan Says:

    Sorry, I wrote 7th- meant 5th No 7th. Pretty pitiful except Evans and Pamphile (who is yet to show his worth, but will this year in my opinion).

  17. Brett Says:

    While RB’s in the first round may not have the shelf life, having confidence your 5th round pick or undrafted free agent will just be the guy isn’t realistic later. We can say that teams should wait on a QB because of Tom Brady, Dak Prescott, Russell Wilson, Tony Romo, and others. I’m not a huge proponent of 1st round RB’s, but there are always exceptions when you think you have a potential superstar who has a high likelihood of star potential. A third or fourth round pick may be an impact player or not.

  18. unbelievable Says:

    wow tmax, “defense has never won championships”… seriously bruh?

    Comments on JBF don’t get much dumber than that. Once again, Lord Corn dropping some knowledge on fools like you.

  19. unbelievable Says:

    @Brett- a 1st round pick may or may not be and impact player as well.

    In fact even 1st rounders only pan out about 50% of the time.

  20. unbelievable Says:

    really Joe? What did I do to offend your sensibilities today?

  21. Pickgrin Says:

    FYI JJ – 1 superstar receiver, 1 solid OLine starter and a very capable receiving change of pace running back = a pretty solid draft. Not spectacular but solid. ASJ had a lot of talent and the only reason he didn’t work out was a messed up head which is very hard to spot in 15 minute interviews as well as these guys are coached up to give the answers teams want to hear.

    Licht has drafted 9 starters in 3 years including 6 young budding star player (Evans, Winston, Marpet, Kwon, VH3 and Spence).

    That is killing it in the draft by anyone’s standards.

  22. tmaxcon Says:

    Lord Corn

    Defense is important for sure, not once have I said otherwise. however, look at history the teams with multiple super bowls have franchise quarterbacks and weapons in addition to an adequate defense that being said the defensive juggernauts a were unable to build an offense the bucs for instance had a one dimensional head coach and a politician for a gm thus were incapable of fielding a high school caliber offense; ravens had all the money in defense and had nothing left to spend on offense. bears never had an offense outside of sweetness the bottom line is if you want to be great and win multiple championships like the pats, 49ers cowboys you have to do it with offense. yes the pats have fielded some great defenses and so did the niners but don’t kid yourself it’s about offense on those teams… Hell Tom Brady has one less super bowl rings as the bucs have career playoff wins. bucs had a great defense on a bad team for too many years it does not win consistently history proves that.

  23. tmaxcon Says:

    Lord Corn

    another way to look at it is from a gambling standpoint a gung slinger ala elway, farve etc were always a threat to beat the great defenses. a great defensive team usually is a conservative team which means playing the percentages. when you factor in the rule changes and the flow of the game now sure a great defense can still win a championship but the odds are now squarely in favor of the franchise quarterback led team with weapons.

  24. webster Says:

    @ brett

    Joe just used examples from last year. Late round running backs have been making huge impacts for a while. The undrafted arian foster comes to mind. Sure there is Tom Brady and Dak, but those are exceptions and does not happen nearly as often as finding a good running back late or undrafted. Its not even close.

  25. webster Says:


    What are you talking about? The broncos won due to defense. The seahawks won due to defense. The ravens won due to defense. The giants won both of their championship due to defense. What in the world are you talking about? Don’t fool yourself, the pats put out a very strong defense year in and year out.

  26. webster Says:

    Dont look now, but the pats are trying to trade for sherman.

  27. Joeypoppems Says:

    Can we stop comparing other positions to RBs. It seems that everybody that brings up successful late round picks like Brady, Antonio Brown, Richard Sherman, etc. when talking about RBs seem to leave out one important fact.


    Teams don’t invest heavily in the position which causes good RBs to fall in the draft which leads to late round picks having success.

    This really isnt rocket science here…..

  28. unbelievable Says:

    tmax you are just so wrong here it’s ridiculous. (And BTW you literally wrote “Defense has never won championshipS”)

    The fact is you need both to be above average, but:

    Top defense + average offense > top offense + average defense. Pretty much every time. Even with all the new rules.

  29. 813bucboi Says:

    cant wait for @nole to respond…lol…draft donte foreman in the 3rd…GO BUCS!!!

  30. Lord Cornelius Says:

    @tmax – valid points but I still think it’s QB + Defense that wins championships… with QB being the biggest key to it all. That QB can’t be left with a terrible line and/or no weapons and be expected to succeed; but the defense is still more important than those things imo.

    The most recent dynasty type teams have been the Pats & Seahawks; and that’s the formula – elite QB / very solid or elite D / and just enough on offense (like at least 2 legit weapons).

    Hawks at one point had basically Wilson/Lynch/Harvin and a decent O-line but not any household names after that. Now they have a bad O-line; Jimmy Graham and some OK WRs but no elite ones and still were in the race because of defense.

    Oddly enough the Pats lost in the SB when they were stacked with weapons and putting up record numbers (Moss/Welker year). Last year they were banged up and had guys like Chris Hogan/James White/Martellus Bennet as the stars and those guys aren’t very elite. But their defense was #1 in PPG and Brady will win any game where the other team doesn’t score much.

    The Broncos super bowl loss was like a visual lesson in Defense>Offense when it comes to playoffs/super bowl. The refs seem to let them play a lot more in the playoffs which is one of the big factors I’ve noticed.

    And last year – our run of wins was definitely all from the defense. If you hold a team to 17 points you are going to have a chance to win every time. Throw in having an elite QB that can elevate the offense around him and there’s a formula for winning a ton of games.

    Shootouts seems to be more of a coin flip when it comes to the final victor.

    In general I’m just glad that we have a decent GM at a time when we finally have a franchise QB. I feel bad for Colts fans and what they have to deal with while having a guy like Andrew Luck wasting away

  31. webster Says:

    @ joey

    Its not as simple as devaluing. In the 2005 nfl draft, 3 of the top 5 picks were running backs. Clearly this was an era that valued running backs. Late in this same draft you were able to find frank gore, marion barber, brandon jacobs, darren sproles etc. Finding running back value late has always been there. I mean the bucs benefited with earnest graham undrafted during a time when running back was valued. You can find many late every year.

  32. Buc1987 Says:

    Bring me Cook or McCaffrey….early.

    Rollin down the street, smokin indo, sippin on gin and juice
    Laid back (with my mind on my money and my money on my mind)

  33. BigHogHaynes Says:

    If we take a RB in the first round, we better damn well take the best one in this DRAFT ….MIXON!! Simple as that!!

  34. StPeteBucsfan Says:

    This is the same old tired argument…yes you can get gems at the end of the draft…Tom Brady 6th round etc. But there is NO DOUBT the odds favor those teams that pick earlier.

    There are some very special situations that do change the equation. Legarrette Blount would have probably been a first rounder if he hadn’t been caught on video tape sucker punching a Boise State player. Took him out of the draft.

    So this year that player is Mixon. Many feel he would be the 4th back taken in the first round if he hadn’t punched the girl on video. He may fall as far as Blount and like Blount he would clearly be a good value if he falls that far. But does a team want him? If they do how do they peg a spot in terms of value…which round are they willing to wait and gamble if they want Mixon? 3rd? 4th? If he’s there in the 3rd and 4th the howls will intensify!!! LMAO

  35. Abdominal Snowman Says:

    D’onta Foreman to me would be a great get in the 3rd. Guy has the size to be a pounder and enough speed to break some big runs.

  36. SOEbuc Says:

    I would like to move back some picks, and then get Obi Melifonwu. I think he’s the safest pick and fills our biggest need at FS. If not Njoku at 19 or possibly a few picks back.

  37. Blake_bucsfan Says:


    Word on the street is that Joe Mixon won’t make it out of the second round.

  38. SOEbuc Says:

    THE BUCS HAVE NOT HAD ONE MEETING OF ANY KIND WITH COOK. I don’t know if that means anything when we’re on the clock at 19. I highly doubt Licht is taking a RB in the first though.

  39. BigHogHaynes Says:

    ^^^im glad someone else told him…cause he can’t hear me!!

  40. JimmyJack Says:

    Seems no doubt that Licht approaches the draft with certain players in mind. He pulled a few trades in order to secure players like marprt, agyaro, d. smith, kwon……..was obvious he figured hargraeves would be there last year with the trade down.

    Licht ain’t a idiot and know we need RB and other positions. my bet is he has his eye on somebody specific not necessarily named cooks or mccaffenery. just cause we need a runner and you guys like the good ole boy doesn’t mean that Licht likes him……..or that he doesn’t like somebody better in later rounds. Either way, it will be funny to read the irrational comments of disagreeable fans no matter who we get.

  41. JimmyJack Says:

    if defense didn’t matter much and great offenses were what won titles then Green Bay would have at least 3 titles. But they get bounced every year because their defense is soft.

  42. JimmyJack Says:

    and while your praising the Patriots for having such a stud offense you can note that many of the skill players that played in their super bowls were unathletic and uncoordinated and would not even make the practice squads of most teams. They won with great defenses too and great coaching to go along with the QB.

  43. ARGH_M8E Says:

    The draft is going to have to come to us. We just have to sit back and let it unfold. Acquire more picks by trading back, multiple 2nd & 3rd round picks would be HUGE!!! So much talent this year! Gonna get an “A+” this year, ya heard it here 1st.

  44. BringBucsBack Says:

    When it comes to RB’s in the 1st round: #resisttheurge

    Build a wall.

  45. Buc1987 Says:

    “Word on the street is that Joe Mixon won’t make it out of the second round.”

    Intrigue. We shall see.

  46. BringBucsBack Says:

    Informative article Joes. Bill Parcells knew this 35 years ago.

  47. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    D@$# Joe just set y’all up..

  48. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    Hook line and sinker.

  49. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    “Speaking to a source recently, the Bucs just don’t believe there is any chance Dalvin Cook falls to them at No. 19.”

    Quote from PR.

    How’s the weather in lala land?

  50. TampaBay AllDay Says:

    Great post Joe. We just don’t need one in the 1st its going to be soo many in a later round.

  51. Doit Bucs Says:

    Thanks to all for the info.