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Recent History Supports Rookie RB Success
Last year, there were plenty of question marks surrounding the first-round rookies. All were going to teams that already had a running back cemented in place, but each of them made a major contribution when used. Reggie Bush was electric. Laurence Maroney made Corey Dillon expendable and Joseph Addai did the same to Dominic Rhodes in Indianapolis.
Recent rookies have done the same. Ronnie Brown and Cadillac Williams have been starters since Day One, Cedric Benson ran Thomas Jones out of Chicago, Steven Jackson forced Marshall Faulk to the bench and Larry Johnson made it easy to let Priest Holmes walk away.
All had big expectations as first rounders and most have produced. But how much can be expected of a rookie making the jump to the pros? Quite a bit, actually. While Peterson's situation will be as individual as any of the others, here are the first-year numbers for running backs drafted over the last five seasons and what sort of impact they made with their team in regards to rushes, yards rushing and rushing touchdowns.
Reggie Bush, New Orleans – 155-565-6; 88-742-2
Laurence Maroney, New England – 175-745-6; 22-194-1
DeAngelo Williams, Carolina – 121-501-1; 33-313-3
Joseph Addai, Indianapolis – 226-1,081-7; 40-325-1
Ronnie Brown, Miami – 207-907-4; 32-232-1
Cedric Benson, Chicago – 67-272-0; 1-3-0
Cadillac Williams, Tampa Bay – 290-1,178-6; 20-81-0
Steven Jackson, St. Louis – 134-673-4; 19-189-0
Kevin Jones, Detroit – 241-1,133-5; 28-180-1
Larry Johnson, Kansas City – 20-85-1; 1-2-0
Willis McGahee, Buffalo – Did not play
William Green, Cleveland – 243-887-6; 16-113-0
Looking back five years and beyond, the pickings seemed pretty slim, but in recent years, the numbers for rookies put in the right spot has trended upward sharply – even for rookies that came in with veterans already in place. While we won't get a true measure on Peterson until we find out how Brad Childress is going to use him, if he can keep pace with the rookies of the past two or three seasons, the Vikings will have nothing to complain about.
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