Kevin over at our network's Washington Redskins site, Hogs Haven, has an interesting post on Mike Mayock's rules for drafting successful running backs. Mayock is NFL Network's primary NFL Draft analyst and does a terrific job. He says teams should only select running backs with over a 5 yard per carry average or more in college.
I am not one for hard and fast rules because there are always outliers. There are guys who have legitimate excuses for not hitting that mark. For example, a guy who has to start as a freshman might see his average take a hit compared with a guy who can sit on the bench during his early and presumably less productive years. I do think this might be a good guideline, though. The NFL is a huge step up from the college game. Successful pros are the cream of the crop who dominate the college game.
In case you were wondering about the two young backs on the Jets, Shonn Greene averaged 5.9 yards per carry in college. Joe McKnight averaged 6.3 per run at USC. The Jets are thus in good shape according to this rule.