2007 Running Backs Class: Where are they Now?

In this post, I look back to the running back class of 2007.  I ask for each guy, "where is he now"? And I answer my question.  I also say if he was a steal, bust, or simply a 'solid pick', by a number rating scale.  10 represents the absolute best value possible (also considering where he was drafted) and 1 is like JaMarcus Russell.


Rd 1, pick 7-  Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings.

Peterson was selected with the 7th overall pick in the draft by the Vikings.  Peterson busted out 1341 yards and 12 touchdowns in his rookie season.  He followed up his offensive ROY-winning season with a 1760 yard effort.  Peterson's numbers went down the next two seasons, but he still rushed for over 1,200 yards and 10 TDs in each.  Right now Peterson is the most complete back in the NFL, and the only thing that can slow him down is 9-man-in-the-box defensive setups.

The Verdict:  Tough to call him a steal taken in the Top-10, but 6 teams passed up on this future Hall of Famer, so I give Peterson a 10.


Rd 1, pick 12- Marshawn Lynch, Buffalo Bills.

Lynch was taken 12th overall by the Bills.  Lynch had a remarkable rookie season with 1,115 yards and 7 touchdowns.  His rookie season was overshadowed by Peterson's (see above), but Lynch was very productive.  His production continued into his next season, in which he amassed 1,036 yards and 8 touchdowns, and adding 300 recieving yards.  Lynch's production only went down from there, though.  In '09-10, his 3rd season, he gained only 450 yards and 2 TDs on only 120 carries, all career lows, while battling injuries.  He started out the '10-'11 season on a 4-game suspension, and was very unproductive even after he came back to the Bills.  The Bills were getting nothing out of Lynch, so they dealt him to the Seahawks, who got a monster effort from him in the postseason.

The Verdict:  Well, after his first 2 seasons, Lynch looked like a 8 or 9, but then he dropped off.  His postseason performance helps his stock a little, but I'll need to see a rejuvenated Marshawn in '11-'12 to give him anything higher than a 6.  I have higher expectations for the 12th overall pick.

Rd 2, pick 17-   Kenny Irons, Cincinnati Bengals.

I couldnt find an NFL picture of Kenny Irons, the 49th overall pick to the Bengals, because he has zero career NFL carries.  If you dont get the ball, they wont take a picture of you.  Irons blew out his knee in the first preseason game, was placed on the PUP list, and was later released.  That's it.

The Verdict:  Is a 0 appropriate?  I'll just be nice and give Irons a 1 for effort.


Rd 2, pick 18-  Chris Henry, Tennessee Titans

It was another tough task finding a picture of Chris Henry, the 50th overall pick to the Titans.  Henry had 119 yards and 2 TDs in his rookie season, and hasnt done anything near that the next 3 years, battling injuries and sometimes without a job.

The Verdict: A solid 2.  An absolute bust.  Henry only gets a 2 because Irons was a 1 and so much worse.


Rd 2 pick 20-  Brian Leonard, St. Louis Rams.

Leonard, the 52nd overall selection to the Rams, had a respectable rookie season with 486 yards from scrimmage, playing mostly fullback and appearing as a 3rd down RB.  He played in only 2 games his sophmore season because of injury.  Leonard was traded to Cincinnati, where he caught 50 passes for just under 400 yards the next two seasons.

The Verdict:  Leonard made a real impact his rookie season, but went downhill from there.  He hasn't been craptastic like the 2 guys selected before him, but Leonard certainly hasn't met expextations.  The grade is a 4 because he will be on an NFL roster making a small impact for 4-5 more years.


Rd 2, pick 31-  Brandon Jackson, Green Bay Packers.

Jackson, the 63rd pick to the Pack, had 397 yards from scrimmage as a rookie, a modest number.  When Jackson failed to make strides his next two season, he began to look like the makings of a bust.  But an injury to Ryan Grant opened the door for Jackson in 2010, a door in which he was happy to walk through.  Jackson didn't impress as the starting back, but still accumulated 703 yards and 3 TDs behind not much blocking.  Jackson did prove he was a very good pass-catcher, with 43 catches for 342 yards and only one drop.  When James Starks emerged during the playoffs, Jackson returned to the role he's best in...a 3rd down back.  Catching passes, draw plays, and picking up blitzes.

The Verdict:  7.  A late-2nd round pick isnt really expected to be a starting back.  B-Jax isn't a starting back.  He just plays his role as a 3DRB and plays it well.


I will only evaluate the first 6 players selected, but keep in mind Ahmad Bradshaw was taken in the 7th round, as well as Jason Snelling.  Those are two huge steals (Bradshaw obviously bigger) that boost this running back class that looked terrible in the 2nd round with Irons, Henry, and Leonard.


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