John Murphy - Part 3 - The running backs

There were a total of 23 running backs, up from 16 in 2005, that topped the 1,000-yard mark this past season.

A total of nine running backs scored over ten touchdowns, while two others scored at least nine times on the ground. Nine of the 23 running backs that reached the 1,000-yard total advanced to the NFL playoffs, while the combined rushers for the Indianapolis and Chicago, who met in the Super Bowl, combined for 3,680 yards and 31 touchdowns.

The Patriots and Saints who lost in the AFC and NFC Championship games, respectively, each had top rushing attacks that combined for over 3,700 yards and 39 touchdowns on the ground between them.

Atlanta, Jacksonville, Washington, Tennessee and San Francisco all had Top-5 rushing attacks, but failed to make the playoffs, while the five lowest ranked rushing offenses in the league, which in descending order were Tampa Bay, Oakland, Arizona, Cleveland and Detroit, all happen to also hold a Top-5 choice in this April's NFL Draft.

Since the 2000 NFL Draft there have been a total of eight rookie running backs that have eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark. There are two running backs, Oklahoma's Adrian Peterson and California's Marshawn Lynch, that seem to have the best chance of landing in the first-round of this year's draft, so the trend of the leading ground attack teams earning spots deep in the playoffs should help increase the draft-day chances of those two backs coming of the board among the Top-10 to 15 picks, as well as make teams like the Cleveland, Houston, NY Jets, Green Bay and even Detroit or Baltimore evaluate the idea of adding another quality runner to their backfield early in the draft.


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