Joe Thomas recently had some surprisingly strong things to say about the running game in today's NFL.
Among them: Unless a team has Adrian Peterson, the star running back is becoming an endangered species. If a team has a 100-yard game? "Whoop dee do," Thomas said. "It doesn't win you games anymore."
He also said he would not draft a running back in the first round unless it's an Adrian Peterson, using Alfred Morris as an example. Morris was a Redskins sixth-round pick who ran for 1,613 yards a year ago. Another would be Arian Foster, who has gained 5,063 yards for Houston as an undrafted free agent.
In the last three years, 18 backs were selected to the Pro Bowl's NFC and AFC teams (don't spend a lot of time looking for Browns). Just as many (four) were picked in the fifth round or later or were undrafted free agents as were first-round picks. And one of those first-round picks (Marshawn Lynch) made the Pro Bowl after being traded from the team that drafted him.
Thomas said the trend has changed since he was drafted in 2007, and he's right.
From 2007 through 2013, 13 first-round backs made the Pro Bowl, while only three fifth-round/undrafted guys did.
One interesting note: Of the 11 running backs who made the Pro Bowl in 2007 and 2008, only two are still in the league.
Those are the numbers Thomas would point to support his points.