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Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Why Taylor wasn't rated as underrated

By Paul Kuharsky
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

Several people who are friends of mine on Facebook wondered why former Jaguars running back Fred Taylor failed to make Football Outsiders' list of the most underrated players of the decade.

 Taylor

I took the question directly to the source, and our friend Aaron Schatz wrote me back with this, the conclusion of which is going to please a lot of Jaguars fans.

"Taylor has been a good running back for an extended period of time, but based on FO stats, he's certainly not been a GREAT running back for an extended period of time. On a per-play basis, his best seasons were probably 1998-2000, which is before this decade (and the very beginning of this decade). Since 2001, he has only been in the top ten for running back value (based on Football Outsiders rushing DYAR) twice, eighth in both 2002 and 2007. His 2003 season (1574 yards) was not as good as it looks at first because of an easy schedule, and it was his last year with a Success Rate above 45 percent (i.e. league average). He was below-average by our numbers in 2004, 2005, and 2008. So I think that the conventional wisdom on Taylor is about right -- he's been a good, not great, running back with good career longevity, neither overrated nor underrated.

"The Jacksonville fans are going to like me a lot more than they hate me in a couple weeks, because Football Outsiders Almanac projects the Jaguars to return to the playoffs."

He said he's got the Colts as the team most likely to win the division and the Titans and Jags in as wild cards.

Good June fodder. But I'm sure he'd be fine with me referring to this entry from last year, when he had the Texans going to the playoffs.

Thanks Aaron for the quick response.