No RB Drafted in First Round for First Time in 50 Years: Exclusive Study Shows Linemen Better Picks

No RB Drafted in First Round for First Time in 50 Years: Exclusive Study Shows Linemen Better Picks

Offensive tackle Eric Fisher became the sixth offensive lineman to go No. 1 in the draft, and no running back went in the entire first round for the first time in 50 years. The first pick has been a quarterback or running back in 54 of 84 NFL drafts, but a study by Breitbart Sports shows that the linebackers and offensive lineman taken first have produced many more Pro Bowl seasons (see table below).

Position No. 1 Pro Bowls Ave Two with most Pro Bowls
Linebackers 4 21 5.3 Chuck Bednarik 8, Tommy Nobis 5
Offensive line 6 21 4.2 Orlando Pace 7, Ron Yary 7
Receivers 6 16 2.7 Irving Fryar 15, Keyshawn Johnson 11
Defensive line 13 25 1.9 Bruce Smith 11, Buck Buchanan 8
Quarterbacks 31 53 1.7 Peyton Manning 11, John Elway 10
Running backs 23 34 1.5 OJ Simpson 6, Earl Campbell 5
Defensive back 1 0 0.0 Gary Glick 0
Total 84 170 2.0

The five previous offensive linemen to go No. 1 have made 21 Pro Bowls, or an average of 4.2 per player. The average running back taken No. 1 have produced only 1.5 Pro Bowls, with even OJ Simpson (6) and Earl Campbell (5) breaking down after just a handful of elite seasons. 

The Chiefs have a great chance to get great production from Eric Fisher, and with this track record there is little surprise the top four picks included three offensive lineman and a linebacker.

Just eight years ago, two running backs from the same team (Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown of Auburn) were among the Top 5 players picked, and the next year most were shocked running back Reggie Bush did not go first. Here is a list of the top running back picked in each of the last nine years:

Year Top RB Picked by Player Team
2012 3 Cleveland Browns Trent Richardson Alabama
2011 28 New Orleans Saints Mark Ingram Alabama
2010 9 Buffalo Bills C.J. Spiller Clemson
2009 12 Denver Broncos Knowshon Moreno Georgia
2008 4 Oakland Raiders Darren McFadden Arkansas
2007 7 Minnesota Vikings Adrian Peterson Oklahoma
2006 2 New Orleans Saints Reggie Bush USC
2005 2 Miami Dolphins Ronnie Brown Auburn
2004 24 St. Louis Rams Steven Jackson Oregon State