What are the most important skills for a RB?

OSU_Sports_Nut

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The special RB's who are successful in college and beyond possess multiple skills (i.e. like Chuba Hubbard who ranks high in 4 out of 5 categories starting with speed, vision, balance, power, cutting ability). Below are a list of RB skills and how I would rank them in order of importance.

1) VISION - without vision, a speedy or even powerful RB will typically miss the hole and run into his own lineman decreasing his effectiveness. In addition, when a player has great vision they tend to more patient with finding the right hole and setting up blocks, rarely take direct hits, and some will even use their vision to slap away arm tackles (see Emmitt Smith, Barry Sanders, Ezekiel Elliott, Marcus Allen)

2) BALANCE - most RB's rarely make it to the line of scrimmage without being hit and they must be able to keep their balance to get more yards or break it for a touchdown (see Emmitt Smith, Barry Sanders, Ezekiel Elliott, Walter Payton)

3) POWER - the ability to finish runs and power through arm tackles to keep the play going for additional yards after contact (see Bo Jackson, Jim Brown, Adrian Peterson, Ezekiel Elliott)

4) CUTTING ABILITY/ELUSIVENESS - RB's must be able to make the first player miss. Additionally, once these RB's are in open space they can be difficult to tackle and make it difficult for defenders to get a clean shot on the RB (see Barry Sanders, Gale Sayers, Marshall Faulk, LaDainian Tomlinson)

5) SPEED - the ability to outrun defenders, outrun pursuit angles, and the ability to take it to the house on every play (see Bo Jackson, Barry Sanders, Marshall Faulk)

Disclaimer: a bunch of the above mentioned RB's possess more than a few of these skills, but didn't make my top 3-4 of all-time.
 

OSU_Sports_Nut

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In my opinion, the most important and least appreciated skill for a RB is vision. Additionally, I think coaches, players, and fans put far too much emphasis on speed and elusiveness in the game of football because it is fun and exciting to watch. Just watch the NFL draft and watch how there are always players who jump onto the radar of teams because of their special physical attributes like speed and strength, but more often than not it doesn’t translate to a special player. I had speed much higher earlier (speed #3 & power #5), but switched them when I had to look at the best RB's of all time and found it hard to find 4 players with great speed (who were some of the best who ever played the game). Instead, I found more RB's who were successful that possessed great power or elusiveness.

RB's can be successful in high school if they are really good at 1 or 2 of these skills (i.e. like LD Brown who is incredibly fast with good power, but rarely is able to show it because he lacks two very important skills for a RB like vision and balance). I think LD Brown will be successful when running against inferior competition and can display his superior athletic ability, but would love to see some of the other RB's get some reps in the next 2 games to see if they possess more of the skills listed above.
 

OSU_Sports_Nut

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In what order would you rank these five traits for the following RB's?

5 Traits
- Barry Sanders (vision, cutting ability, balance, speed, power)
- LaDainian Tomlinson (cutting ability, vision, balance, speed, power)

4 Traits
- Emmitt Smith (vision, balance, cutting ability, power)
- Walter Payton (vision, balance, power, cutting ability)
- Jim Brown (power, vision, balance, speed)
- Ezekiel Elliott (vision, balance, power, speed)
- Adrian Peterson (power, speed, balance, cutting ability)
- Marshall Faulk (speed, cutting ability, vision, balance)
- Gale Sayers (vision, cutting ability, balance, speed)

3 Traits
- Bo Jackson (speed, power, balance)
- Marcus Allen (vision, balance, power)
 

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