Peterson / comparison with all-time backs
Posted Apr. 10 at 05:27 PM
A final thought on Adrian Peterson (and sorry if you’re getting tired of him, but is an important player).
At this point, can we proceed as if he’s going to be one of the top running backs of all time? (He’s one of only four who’s gone over 3,000 rushing yards in his first two seasons).
If we make the assumption that Peterson is going to be one of the all-time greats – another Tomlinson, Sanders or Dickerson – than it makes some sense to look at the numbers of those guys.
What kind of production, namely, do the great backs tend to put up in the third seasons? Is that the peak year?
So I’ve pulled the numbers on the top 15 rushers in NFL history. They appear below. For some of those guys, that third year proved to be a monster – about the best ever. Guys putting up giant numbers in that year include LaDainian Tomlinson, Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton, Marcus Allen, Barry Sanders, Thurman Thomas and Jim Brown.
For the other half of list, however, it didn’t work out. All eight of the remaining rushers missed at least one game, and a surprising number sputtered through disappointing seasons – in hindsight, they would have been overvalued in fantasy leagues.
I’m not assuming Peterson will last 16 games. He did it last year, but he’s a human trainwreck of a runner, and those kind of guys don’t tend to stay healthy. I think there’s a realistic chance he’ll get hurt. (In my gut, in fact, I feel Peterson will miss at least two games somewhere along the line because of some kind of injury).
So put Peterson down, based on this info, as a 50-50 kind of guy – either he puts up dominating, crusher-type of numbers, or he gets held by back by injuries and winds up being kind of a disappointment.
ALL-TIME RUSHING LEADERS IN YEAR THREE
How the top 15 current all-time rushing leaders fared in their third seasons in the pros.
Run Avg Rec TD FPts
1645 5.3 725 17 339.0 LaDainian Tomlinson
1713 4.6 335 19 318.8 Emmitt Smith
1852 5.5 269 16 308.1 Walter Payton
1168 4.2 758 18 300.6 Marcus Allen
1548 4.5 307 17 287.5 Barry Sanders (missed 1 G)
1297 4.8 532 13 260.9 Thurman Thomas
1329 4.6 190 14 235.9 Jim Brown
1234 4.2 126 12 208.0 Eric Dickerson (missed 2 G)
1107 4.4 375 7 190.2 Tony Dorsett (missed 2 G)
1160 4.2 296 5 175.6 Curtis Martin (missed 3 G)
1006 4.8 200 6 156.6 Franco Harris (missed 2 G)
587 3.0 428 7 143.5 Marshall Faulk (missed 3 G)
662 4.4 193 3 103.5 Edgerrin James (missed 10 G)
637 3.5 106 3 92.3 Jerome Bettis (missed 1 G)
482 3.6 158 4 88.0 John Riggins (missed 3 G)
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