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Draft Kit '04: Running back Report

Originally Published: July 20, 2004
By Scouts Inc.
Jason Langendorf
Priest Holmes scored an NFL-record 27 rushing TDs last year, part of his epic three-year scoring output of 61 total TDs, and has turned in back-to-back-to-back 2,000-yard seasons ... and still isn't considered a consensus No. 1 overall fantasy pick.

Why? Because being an NFL running back is a young man's game, and Holmes, by occupational standards, no longer is a young man. He also has shouldered a substantial load the last three years -- more touches, in fact, than any other back this side of LaDainian Tomlinson and Ricky Williams -- and has been nicked up a fair amount along the way.

It is the ultimate catch 22: For a running back to reach the pinnacle of his profession, he must pay a steep physical toll and give away a part of his future in the doing. It isn't coincidence that the early burnouts (Terrell Davis and Jamal Anderson to name two recent vintages) far exceed those at other positions, or that the game's Emmitt Smiths and Walter Paytons are considered one-in-a-million athletes not only for their skill but their durability.

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