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Are NFL running backs easily replaceable: the story of the 2018 NFL season

Dec 30, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Rams running back C.J. Anderson (35) celebrates after scoring on a 1-yard touchdown run against the San Francisco 49ers in the first quarter at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

A wild and crazy NFL season ended with a throwback Sunday, with the Patriots winning the Super Bowl by a score of 13-3 in Atlanta. For a campaign in which it looked like both defense and the Patriots were dead to rights, both emerged victorious on the league’s biggest stage to crown Bill and Tom for the sixth time. Be that as it may, conventional wisdom took a hit over the last 12 months, with discussions about going for it on fourth down, attempting two-point conversions, and the lack of value inherent in run defense taking a subversive turn in real time. No topic was discussed in greater detail than the running game and the value of particular running backs in general.

The debate intensified this season when the Giants drafted Penn State star Saquon Barkley with the second-overall pick, in lieu of taking one of the five remaining first-round quarterbacks to replace the aging and ineffective Eli Manning, or trading down and accumulating a haul that would have likely exceeded the great portfolio of players the Colts received from the Jets for the subsequent pick. In response to criticism over taking Barkley, the Giants’ general manager mocked any and all criticism in a post-draft press conference.

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Cris Collinsworth

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