A lot of the top running back prospects are older guys – not ancient, but guys in the second halves of their careers. That makes me nervous, with it tending to be a younger man’s position.

On typical boards, the top 10 at running back is crowded by players who came into the league in 2017. Christian McCaffrey, Leonard Fournette (pictured), Aaron Jones, Dalvin Cook, Austin Ekeler, Alvin Kamara, Joe Mixon and James Conner all entered the league in 2017, so they’ve all got five seasons on their odometers.

Derrick Henry and (for some) Ezekiel Elliott have been around even longer, entering the league in 2016.

I’m not suggesting that these guys are done, but historically, running backs tend to put up their best seasons earlier in their careers.

Consider, for example, the best running backs of the last 10 years. Of the last 50 running backs who’ve finished seasons with top-5 numbers, only 13 of them were guys who had already played five seasons.

Those 50 top-5 running backs are listed below (using PPR scoring). For the guys who were in the sixth season (or later) in their careers, I’ve got them tagged with black dots. Only four of the top 29 on the list were players who entered those seasons with at least five seasons of experience.

There are a good number of these older backs in play this year who’ll be going in the second rounds of drafts. Some in the back half of the first and some in the third round. I would think a good number of them will fall short of expectations.

One of the nice benefits of selecting Jonathan Taylor at the top of the draft is that it might help you avoid having to force a second-round pick on a running back you don’t truly have confidence in.

TOP-5 RUNNING BACKS (last 10 yrs)
2019Christian McCaffrey, Car.31,3871,0052,39219471.21
2016David Johnson, Ariz.21,2398792,11820413.81
2018Christian McCaffrey, Car.21,0988671,96513388.01
2017Todd Gurley, LAR31,3057882,09319387.31
2018Saquon Barkley, NYG11,3077212,02815385.82
2013• Jamaal Charles, K.C.61,2876931,98019382.01
2020Alvin Kamara, N.O.49327561,68821377.81
2021Jonathan Taylor, Ind.21,8113602,17120377.11
2018Todd Gurley, LAR41,2515801,83121374.13
2014LeVeon Bell, Pitt.21,3618542,21511370.51
2014DeMarco Murray, Dall.41,8454162,26113361.12
2018Alvin Kamara, N.O.28837091,59218354.24
2012• Adrian Peterson, Min.62,0972172,31413351.41
2014• Matt Forte, Chi.71,0388081,84610350.63
2021Austin Ekeler, LAC59116471,55820349.82
2017LeVeon Bell, Pitt.51,2916551,94611345.62
2020Dalvin Cook, Min.41,5573611,91817343.82
2013• Matt Forte, Chi.61,3395941,93312341.32
2020Derrick Henry, Ten.52,0271142,14117337.13
2013LeSean McCoy, Phil.51,6075392,14611332.63
2018Ezekiel Elliott, Dall.31,4345672,0019331.15
2016Ezekiel Elliott, Dall.11,6313631,99416327.42
2017Alvin Kamara, N.O.17288261,55414322.43
2015Devonta Freeman, Atl.21,0565781,63414320.41
2016LeVeon Bell, Pitt.41,2686161,8849319.43
2019Aaron Jones, G.B.31,0844741,55819318.82
2019Ezekiel Elliott, Dall.41,3574201,77714315.73
2012Doug Martin, T.B.11,4544721,92612313.62
2019Austin Ekeler, LAC35579931,55011313.04
2014• Marshawn Lynch, Sea.81,3063671,67317306.34
2012Arian Foster, Hou.41,4242171,64117306.13
2021Najee Harris, Pitt.11,2004671,66710300.73
2019Derrick Henry, Ten.41,5402061,74618300.65
2016• LeSean McCoy, Buff.81,2673561,62314298.34
2017Kareem Hunt, K.C.11,3274551,78211297.24
2013Knowshon Moreno, Den.51,0385481,58613296.64
2016• DeMarco Murray, Ten.61,2873771,66412295.95
2021Joe Mixon, Cin.51,2053141,51916289.94
2017Melvin Gordon, LAC31,1054761,58112288.15
2012Ray Rice, Balt.51,1434781,62110283.14
2014• Arian Foster, Hou.61,2463271,57313277.65
2013• Marshawn Lynch, Sea.71,2573161,57314277.35
2012• Marshawn Lynch, Sea.61,5901961,78612273.65
2020David Montgomery, Chi.21,0704381,50810266.84
2015• Adrian Peterson, Min.91,4852221,70711266.72
2020Aaron Jones, G.B.41,1043551,45911258.95
2021James Conner, Ariz.57523751,12718257.75
2015• Danny Woodhead, S.D.73367551,0919243.13
2015Doug Martin, T.B.41,4022711,6737242.34
2015• DeAngelo Williams, Pitt.109073671,27411235.45

—Ian Allan