By Jacob Bourgeois; Twitter: @JacobBourgieFFB
I did a quick exercise to mine the last bunch of draft classes to see where the value lies on a draft year basis for RBs.
Note 1: Trey Sermon, Damien Harris, Kareem Hunt, and David Johnson were all picked from 86-88.
Note 2: This is the full list of guys who have pretty high value and were drafted with a later pick than David Montgomery (73).
Trey Sermon (2021); Michael Carter (2021); James Robinson (2020); Myles Gaskin (2019); Kareem Hunt (2017); Aaron Jones (2017); Chris Carson (2017)
Of the above, for all intents and purposes, the first four names are still trying to prove their value, whereas the last three names were all part of an incredibly deep 2017 RB class, and it’s possible because of the depth of that class, we can dismiss those results as outliers. In fact, if you remove 2017 from the below image, the trend looks a lot better.
Note 3: The elite guys from each class should give you 6-7 years, which is a much larger window than analysts typically account for. But in that range, we’ve lost Rashaad Penny, Sony Michel, Kerryon Johnson, Leonard Fournette who are going into years 4 and 5.
Note 4: Think about this list of names going into year 7: Todd Gurley, Melvin Gordon, Tevin Coleman, David Johnson, T.J. Yeldon, Ameer Abdullah — all top 90 picks and outlasted for relevance by Mike Davis (ok maybe not over Melvin).
What to do?
It’s an impossible situation you need to offload veteran RBs if you’re not contending and contenders typically don’t have a ton of need at RB so the market is pretty bare. The only move/play I can see is hold until they have a pop week during the season, and/or a contender loses a RB to injury then flip your Melvin Gordon, Kareem Hunt, Ezekiel Elliot, Derrick Henry for whatever you can get — the earlier in the season the better.
If you’ve got good talent, do this exercise with me, but see if you can trade Henry or Elliott for Kamara, Dalvin, CMC, Aaron Jones, Saquon, or Nick Chubb. Then try to trade what you get for a 2020 or 2021 RB you like – 2020 is shaping up so far like 2017 but time will toll/tell.