Mike Davis and Jamaal Williams look like key running backs. They’re older, lightly regarded running backs who haven’t done much yet as pros, but they’ve been signed by teams that are looking for them to be contributors.

Davis is in a promising enough situation that he might be selected about 20 running backs into drafts. He had some success filling in for Christian McCaffrey last year, and now he’s about all the Falcons have at the position. They signed him to a two-year deal worth $5.5 million.

Williams (pictured) signed an even more lucrative deal with the Lions – two years for $6 million. He’ll face more competition in his backfield (the Lions also have D’Andre Swift), but offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn back in May stated very clearly that he believes it will be Williams rather than Swift who’s Detroit’s main running back. And the Lions are putting together what appears to be an above-average line. With Swift (who’ll be picked before Williams in most drafts) throwing up a considerable smoke screen, Williams looks like a good later-round investment.

With both of these veterans, you’re getting modest overall talent. Both are well below average in the speed department, and they have ordinary elusiveness. Both were originally fourth-round draft picks. Davis is in his seventh year, and he’s never run for 700 yards in a season (he had a career-high 642 last year). Williams is in his fifth year, and he’s never run for 600 yards in a season.

If you draft these guys, it would be with the hope they’ll run for 800-plus yards, with a healthy number of catches and some touchdowns. But there aren’t a lot of backs who’s done what these guys are attempting to pull off.

Since 2000, only 18 running backs have had their first 700-yard rushing season after their first four seasons. And of those 18, only eight were running backs no longer with their original teams who were chosen after the first three rounds (I’ve got those guys in bold; Powell, Ward and Graham also weren’t chosen in the first three rounds of the draft, but they were with their initial team).

In the chart, backs tagged with black dots were originally picked in the first or second round – those guys came into the league with higher expectations than either Williams or Davis.

In the chart below, you’re seeing the rushing stats for each back. The PPR total shows his fantasy points, including receptions and receiving yards and other touchdowns (but those stats aren’t printed). The final column shows where the player ranked among running backs that year using PPR scoring.

2000Lamar Smith, Mia.73091,1393.714261.013
2003Moe Williams, Min.81747454.35251.912
2004• Thomas Jones, Chi.52409484.07235.512
2005• LaMont Jordan, Oak.52721,0253.89296.86
2006• Ladell Betts, Was.52451,1544.74242.910
2007Earnest Graham, T.B.52228984.110231.210
2007Kenny Watson, Cin.51787634.37207.714
2007Justin Fargas, Oak.52221,0094.64166.724
2008Derrick Ward, NYG51821,0255.62193.920
2008Sammy Morris, N.E.91567274.77147.836
2008Michael Turner, Atl.53761,6994.517282.04
2011• Reggie Bush, Mia.62161,0865.06223.213
2013Rashad Jennings, Oak.51637334.56174.524
2014Justin Forsett, Balt.72351,2665.48246.98
2014Joique Bell, Det.52238603.97200.213
2016Bilal Powell, NYJ61317225.53199.017
2017Dion Lewis, N.E.71808965.06203.013
2019Raheem Mostert, S.F.51377725.68169.226

Since I’ve got the numbers in front of me, I’ll also share the running backs who had their first season with 700-plus rushing yards in their fourth season. Former first- and second-round picks tagged with black dots.

2000• Tiki Barber, NYG2131,0064.78296.58
2000James Allen, Chi.2901,1203.92198.124
2002Amos Zereoue, Pitt.1937624.04176.326
2003Troy Hambrick, Dall.2759723.55154.130
2004Reuben Droughns, Den.2751,2404.56228.115
2004Nick Goings, Car.2178213.86208.520
2008• Cedric Benson, Cin.2147473.52125.243
2009Jerome Harrison, Cle.1948624.45184.222
2009Fred Jackson, Buff.2371,0624.52218.713
2010• Brandon Jackson, G.B.1907033.73171.524
2011Michael Bush, Oak.2569773.87224.512
2014• Mark Ingram, N.O.2269644.39193.915
2015Ronnie Hillman, Den.2078634.27163.425
2015Latavius Murray, Oak.2661,0664.06206.810
2016Spencer Ware, K.C.2149214.33199.816
2017Orleans Darkwa, NYG1717514.45137.736
2018Tevin Coleman, Atl.1678004.84193.618
2019Kenyan Drake, Mia.-Ariz.1708174.88216.217

—Ian Allan