I've always been of the opinion that this new cliff being 27 years old is bologna specifically because of the consecutive classes that showcased Carlos friggin Hyde and Bishop Sankey as top RB prospects. Just think about the logic that led us to this new RB cliff theory: why would RB's bodies suddenly break down faster when the NFL is protecting it's players more than ever before? Horse Collar tackles, clip blocking, spearing.. it's not just QBs that are enjoying these rule changes..stoneghost28 wrote: ↑Tue Jan 12, 2021 8:56 amWe'll see if it's smart. I've been committed to the RB Age Cliff Theory for a while yet, and last year my blood went cold when a writer wondered if the Age Cliff might be distorted by what I tend to call the Great RB Drought of 2009-2014 (six consecutive crummy RB classes), which would artificially drive down RB age curves considering the '09-'14 generation of RB prospects was the worst drought anyone's seen since I've been playing ('98). That's the kind of counterargument that can really scare the heck out of me because it's compelling. If you have a ton of RB's basically repeatedly crash out of the league early because they're awful prospects, that will drive the curve down. I'm super curious what the age cliff looked like w/a 20 year sample size of say, 1989-2009, as compared to the 2000-2020 sampling, because it's hard not to imagine that it isn't just the changes in the league that matter, but the ups and downs of classes in relatively small windows over time.
Regardless, by the time I read about that possibility I was pot committed with more than 2 dozen '20 firsts, and a pile of 2nds (all used on WR's for the most part), and had already been drafting these guys all spring and summer. Thankfully the scary start to the season where other than CEH, nobody looked impressive turned over to reveal the opposite after September, with everyone slowly either taking the starting gig completely in hand (Taylor, Akers, GIbson) or nearly so (Dobbins, Swift), so I'm pretty happy w/what I did, even if I'd apportion the picks differently, preferably w/my pre-draft rankings (which would've meant I'd have even more Dobbins and Swift, and zero CEH in retrospect, but still be understaffed in terms of Akers).
Anyway, time will tell, I love all the guys, they're all generally quite young, and so I can roll through them through the next two suspect RB classes while I try to acquire picks for '23 and beyond to restock and keep an eye on the age cliff to get a better feel for whether what happened with the the big boys of the '15 and '16 classes is definitively relevant for the big boys of the '17 and '18 (and more) classes moving forward.
However, while I don't think we're going to see these older RBs fall off a cliff I do believe this class is going to be looked back as special.
Akers has had an 86% opportunity share since the 2nd half of the SF game on a run first offense, with a top 5 graded O-line... and it's only a matter of time before he fully takes over the 3rd down back duties going forward (the process has already started). Regardless of how you feel about his talent (I personally think he looks like Thomas Jones) his opportunity share trending forward is elite.
Gibson, along with JT and Saquon are the only RBs in NFL history to run a 4.4 forty at 225+ lbs and have a 25 reception college season. That's two historically freak athletes from the same draft class.. his situation looks murky into the future but his physical talents put a ceiling on him that few RBs have.
I don't think we need to talk about JT Elite power, deep speed, and he just keeps getting better and better as he gets acclimated to the NFL game. Rivers has been absolutely awful for half the season. A new QB that can stretch the field would actually open up this offense.
Dobbins has been phenomenal, and every bit the playmaker we thought he'd be. The only concern is Gus Edwards being a far better RB than most people realized... his game perfectly complementing Dobbins will likely have him siphoning enough touches to prevent Dobbins from ever becoming a workhorse.
Swift looks like the frankenchild of MJD and Lesean McCoy.
If you bet on this draft class, your future is looking very, very good.