Tuesday, November 16, 2010

All-Time College Backfield?

Ronnie Brown and Carnell Williams going #2 and #5 overall, respectively, in the 2005 NFL draft both out of Auburn seemed aberrant. Then three years later Darren McFadden and Felix Jones went #4 and #22 overall, respectively, out of Arkansas. Also in that same draft--although on day two--McFadden and Jones's fullback, Peyton Hillis, went as the 20th pick in the 7th round to the Denver Broncos.

While in college McFadden (4.6K yards, 40+TDs, threw a couple too) and Jones (3K yards, 23 TDs) considerably outperformed Hillis (960 yards, 23 TDs, and played one more year than both) statistically. But, in their third year in the NFL Hillis has run for about 500 yards less than McFadden, and 200 less than Jones but has two less TDs (16) than McFadden and Jones combined.

This season after taking over starting RB for the Browns, Hillis is having a career year averaging over 80 yards and 1 TD per game. Compare that to Jones (40 ypg, 0 TDs) and McFadden (108 ypg, 0.6 TD per game), and Hillis isn't looking so bad for a seventh rounder. With McFadden finally getting healthy (remember, McFadden in college = Adrian Peterson X Reggie Bush), Hillis emerging, and Jones continuing to contribute for the Cowboys, the 2007 Arkansas backfield was arguably the greatest college-pro line-up of the 21st century.

(Fortunately for Bronco fans, like DBSF, Wunderkind Josh McDaniels was able to determine Hillis's true value before the rest of the NFL and trade Hillis [plus a draft pick] this last off-season for Brady Quinn, who is allergic to completions and has a fetish for throwing interceptions.)


  1. From 1979-82, Craig James & Eric Dickerson combined for 8,193 rushing yards at SMU. Fortunately, James' son turned out to be a pussy....giving the Terps faint hopes Mike Leach will take over for Fridge

  2. 20th century for sure. You could also throw in Barry Sanders and Thurman Thomas at Ok State, Lawrence Phillips and Ahman Green at Nebraska, or Ricky Williams and Priest Holmes at Texas. But, in the 21st, its tough to argue with Arkansas.

  3. In the 21st century? Whoop de doo. That's like being the tallest midget. Come talk to me in 80 years.

  4. OJ SIMPSON! No question the greatest tandum in backfield history. One player acted like TWO STAR RUNNING BACKS. Get your facts straight bammas.