I wanted to follow up on yesterday's post about the Scouts Inc rankings for ESPN. It's not worth our time to revisit each and every one of them, but there are a few things worth mentioning.
In the RB rankings, they put the Rams at number 14. While I was initially a little surprised, I had to remind myself that their ranking was based on our total RB corps, not just Steven Jackson. Travis Minor is likely to be a minor (ha!) part of the offense, and second round pick Brian Leonard doesn't have the NFL experience to be adequately judged. Fair enough. However, I was a little shocked to see the 49ers ranked ahead of the Rams at 9th. Like the Rams, the Niners have poor depth (Michael Robinson and Maurice Hicks) behind a top tier RB, Frank Gore.
Two things here. First, you can get into a pretty good who's better argument between Gore and Jackson fans. Still, Jackson has a longer track record of NFL success, last year was his second 1000+ yard rushing season and it was Gore's first. (Jackson has one more year of league experience than Gore.) Last season, Jackson had 4 total fumbles and lost just 2 of them. Gore had 6 and lost 5 of them. Gore had over 100 more yards of rushing, but Jackson doubled him up in receiving yards. Because of Jackson's ability to be a pass catcher as well, he gets the nod over Gore in my book. Then again, my rankings are just as arbitrary as ESPN's or those of Stats Inc.
Second, Brian Leonard's potential alone makes him a better number two than Robinson or Hicks.
Moving to a less subjective rankings system, Football Outsiders finds them to be pretty close in terms of total value last season. According to DPAR (Defense-adjusted Points Above Replacement), Jackson was worth 36.3 more points than a replacement RB would have been, putting him 4th overall. Gore ranked sixth over all in DPAR with a 34.6. (LT was #1 with a 52.9 DPAR).
Again, rankings like those from Stats Inc. are all subjective, and I think sometimes that they're done to actually drum up a little controversy.
Big Red has a diary up discussing the Vick thing here. Personally, I hope they suspend the guy for good. Animal abuse is a despicable act in my opinion for the same reasons child abuse is a despicable act: intentionally harming those that are less able to defend themselves.