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Oakland Raider Draft Update: Is This The Best Running Back Class In My Time?

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Being that there are as many as 11 running backs that can be drafted in the first two rounds of the 2008 draft I began to wonder IF 2008 would be the BEST Running Back class of MY Time.

I decided to start with 1982, because that is the draft that produced the first names that I became REALLY familiar with.

There were 7 Running Backs selected in the first round alone!!!

Names like Marcus Allen, Joe Morris (2nd Round), Darrin Nelson, Gerald Riggs and Barry Redden were the headliners of a VERY deep first round for the running back position.

1983 is seen as one of the best draft classes ever for running backs.

The 1983 Draft produced Eric Dickerson, Roger Craig, Gary Anderson and Curt Warner in the first two rounds. In total, 4 of the first 13 and 8 of the first 56 picks (There were only 28 teams back then) were running backs.

Out of the 8 running backs selected in the first two rounds, 3 were cornerstones for their respective teams for nearly a decade.

Perhaps if the same percentages hold true in this draft, there will be 4 cornerstone backs.

There have been other drafts since 1983 that have had some intriguing names, but there aren't any that have had the potential that this draft does at the running back position.

Here is a look at some of the running backs that have been drafted in the first two rounds in each year after 1983.

1984 - After two HUGE years, 1984 was a BUST for RB's. Only Mike Rozier was even a semi-impact player that was drafted in the first two rounds.

1985 - The Drought continued in 1985 with Steve Hampton and Steve Sewell being the cream of the crop.

1986 - 1986 should be known as the "Bo Jackson and Everyone Else" draft. Keith Byars and Ronnie Harmon top the rest of the list.

1987 - Christian Okoye (2nd Rd) headed another weak class of running backs.

1988 - The best back chosen in this draft was once again a second rounder. Thurman Thomas lasted into the second round. He was chosen after some very BIG backs, like, Icky Woods, Craig Heyward and Brad Muster.

1989 - I wonder how many times the Broncos wondered how life would have been had they NOT selected Bobby Humphrey over Barry Sanders?

Sanders heads this otherwise weak class. The next best back was Daryl Johnston (2nd Round).

1990 - The "Second back taken is MUCH better than the first" trend continued in 1990. The Jest chose  Blair Thomas over Emmitt Smith...OUCH!!!

1991 - Other than Harvey Williams, 1991 was a two round drought. In fact ONLY 6 running backs were chosen in the first 2 rounds.

1992 - This was the worst RB draft in 10 years. "Touchdown" Tommy Vardell was the cream of the crop. That should sum it up!!!

1993 - There was a bit of a rebound in 1993. After two very weak years, Jerome Bettis, Robert Smith, Natron Means and Garrison Hearst were difference makers for their teams that were chosen in the first two rounds.

1994 - 1994 Gave the NFL, Marshall Faulk, Charlie Garner (2nd Rd) and Mario Betts.

1995 - 1995 was the year of the BIGGEST BUST at the running back position. The Bengals chose Kijana Carter NUMBER ONE OVERALL and at the top of a class that  included Napolean Kaufman, Tyrone Wheatley and James Stewart.

1996 - The Busts continued in 1996 as the first back chosen was Laurence Phillips. Philips was chosen at the head of a class that included, Eddie George and Mike Alstott.

1997 - Warrick Dunn, Tiki Barber and Corey Dillon made 1997 the best running back class in 3 seasons.

1998 - If not for Fred Taylor being drafted, 1998 would have been the WORST running back draft ever. Curtis Enis was drafted #5 overall by Chicago...OUCH!!!

1999 - 1999 gave us long and mini dreads. Ricky Williams and Edgerin James went #4 and 5, with James being chosen first.

2000 - The 2000 draft started out well. Jamal Lewis and Shawn Alexander were drafted in the Top 20. The bad news for the Giants and Cardinals is that Ron Dayne and Thomas Jones were chosen over Shawn Alexander!!!

2001 - The first two rounds of 2001 gave the NFL another MVP, LaDainian Tomlinson, and not much else, other than Deuce McAllister.

2002 - If not for Clinton Portis, the first two rounds of 2002 would have been a near air ball. It was BY FAR the worst first round of this segment. The first round picks were William Green (#16) and TJ Duckett (#18).

2003 - There were only 3 backs taken in the first two rounds of 2003. 2 of the 3 were great selections. Willis McGahee and Larry Johnson are currently stars in this League, while the Texans pick, Tony Hollins is probably selling shoes somewhere.

Here is one fans take on that Texans pick:

http://blogs.chron.com/fanblogtexans/2007/05/texans_draft_history_a_long_an_1.html

2004 - The Only real STUD of 2004 was Stephen Jackson. Other names include, Kevin Jones, Julius  Jones and Greg Jones. That's a bunch of Jones's!!!

2005 - Three of the Top 5 picks were running backs in 2005. Cadillac Williams, Cedrick Benson and Ronnie Brown head this list.

The jury is still out on the 06 and 07 classes, except for Adrian Peterson, so I'll stop here.

With so many talented backs available and so many top teams loaded with picks, NE (#7), Dal (Two First Rounders), I expect at least five running backs drafted in the first round to make an impact in 2008.

With backs like Jamaal Charles and Steve Slaton possibly available when the Raiders pick in the 2nd round, it may be difficult to pass on a back with the second pick.

Then again, the Raiders may just draft McFadden and then trade their second rounder to someone who has their sites set on Charles or Slaton and get more picks.

What I DO know is that I have NEVER been so excited for a draft class.

That's all I have for now...Gooooo RRRAAAIIDDDEERRSS!!!!!!