Running the Numbers: Things Looking Up in Cowboys’ Backfield
My latest post at DallasCowboys.com deals with rookie running backs. I broke down some of the numbers of the top rookie running backs since 2000 to determine which stats are the best predictors of future success. It turns out rookie yards-per-carry is highly predictive of overall career value, more so than carries and yards. From the post:
When looking at the numbers of the other top 40 rookie running backs, I saw the same trend: Rookie YPC was a solid predictor of future success. In the graph below, I used Pro Football Reference’s Approximate Value as a measure for NFL success. At a position like running back where players prosper by racking up stats, I think AV (or in the case of this study, AV per season) is an accurate judge of value. Since 2000, the top five running backs in terms of AV per season are Chris Johnson, LaDainian Tomlinson, Maurice Jones-Drew, Adrian Peterson, and LeSean McCoy.
You can see that rookie YPC is just behind total yards in terms of how accurately it can predict future NFL value. The AV per season of the top 20 running backs (in terms of yards) was 7.0. It was just 0.1 point lower for the top 20 backs in terms of YPC. Meanwhile, the number of carries received by the top 40 rookie running backs had little impact on their future success.
I have another one of those “horrible, slide rule, team-colored graphics” at the site, but hopefully the bright colors won’t distract you from the content. You can head here to check out the rest of the article and see why DeMarco Murray has both statistics and the eye test on his side.
You have to be excited about the Murray-Jones combination in 2012.