Does it pay to play RB?

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Does it pay to be a running back these days?  The two most recent NFL Drafts, as well as the new structure of NFL rookie contracts, suggests that it does not.  Today we’ll take a look at Tech’s most recent NFL backs, the size of the top backs in the league, initial rookie contracts, and the current backs on VT’s roster.

Here’s a list of the most recent running backs selected in the first and second rounds:

2014: Bishop Sankey, Washington (2nd Round, #54 overall), Jeremy Hill, LSU (2nd round, #55 overall), Carlos Hyde (2nd round, #57 overall).  Overall, there were seven backs taken in the first three rounds of the draft, and that includes backs from Towson and Georgia Southern.

2013: Giovani Bernard, UNC (2nd round, #37 overall), Le’Veon Bell, Michigan State (2nd round, #48 overall), Montee Ball, Wisconsin (2nd round, #58 overall), Eddie Lacy, Alabama (2nd round, #61 overall), Christine Michael, Texas A&M (2nd round, #62 overall).  Furthermore, there was one running back taken in the third round, meaning six backs went in the first three rounds.

2012: Trent Richardson, Alabama (1st round, #3 overall), Doug Martin, Boise State (1st round, #31 overall), David Wilson, Virginia Tech (1st round, #32 overall), Isaiah Pead, Cincinnati (2nd round, #52 overall), LaMichael James (2nd round, #61 overall).  There were two running backs taken in the third round, for a total of seven backs selected in the first three rounds.


The overall number of running backs taken in the first three rounds is pretty similar every year.  However, there hasn’t been a running back picked in the first round since David Wilson, and two drafts have come and gone since then.  Judging how those first and second round backs from the 2012 NFL Draft have fared, I can hardly blame NFL GMs and coaches.

Trent Richardson: 1,513 yards, 3.3 yards per carry.  Richardson has proven to be nothing resembling a #3 overall pick