Steelers Draft Study: Reasons why taking a RB early is a waste of a pick
By Andrew Falce
How have the day two backs fared?
Just as I did with the first-round backs, here are the average stats from the past eight drafts with runners taken in the second and third round.
Now, looking at those numbers, some may say “the first-round picks have averaged more yards, that means the Steelers should take a running back in the first” and they would be wrong. Yes, these backs have on average had fewer total yards per season, but they are inhibited from a surplus of busts due to the roughly quintuple number of runners drafted on day 2 over day one.
What you do notice is that while the risk for a bust is higher, the cost of investment is far lower. In the second round, the average pick a running back was taken was 49.3 while in the third it was 82.76. Those are entire rounds different from the top-15 pick averaged in the first. While the risk of getting a dud is higher, you are investing significantly less in the player beforehand.
After these rounds, the numbers continue to decrease, and the odds of getting a starting running back decrease. Thus, if the team wants to add a more complete back, it will have to be within the first three rounds. Given the success second and third-round running backs have had, it would make much more sense for the Steelers to get a back on day two instead of day one.