A great metric for measuring the value of runningbacks is explosive plays. We're talking runs of over 20 yards. And believe it or not no one does it better than DeAngelo Williams. In fact, every 14th time he carries the ball, he rips off a 20+ yarder. He finished the season tied for third in the NFL in runs of over 20 yards. When you take into account his limited number of carries, he is by far the most explosive back in the league. Let's take a look at the numbers, after the jump...
LeSean McCoy 273 carries, 14 runs of 20+ yards, 1 explosive play every 19.5 carries
Matt Forte 203 carries, 12 runs of 20+ yards, 1 explosive play every 16.9 carries
DeAngelo Williams 155 carries, 11 runs of 20+ yards, 1 explosive play every 14.1 carries
Michael Turner 301 carries, 11 runs of 20+ yards, 1 explosive play every 27.4 carries
Frank Gore 282 carries, 11 runs of 20+ yards, 1 explosive play every 25.6 carries
As you can see, DeAngelo is the most consistent back in the game in terms of breaking off big gains. There has been a bunch of gum-bumping about how we gave him too much money or about how Stewart should get 75% of the carries, etc, etc. Sure, DeAngelo does get stopped for no gain more than we would like, but he maintained a 5.4 yards average for much of the year, and nearly reached 1,000 yards on only 155 carries.
Like it or not arm-chair GMs, DeAngleo will be here earning his money for at least a couple more years. I'm not trying to start a Double Trouble argument, but just in case you are curious, Jonathan Stewart carried the ball 142 times and had 6 runs of 20 or more yards, or one every 23.6 carries. Stewart is the more consistent short-yardage back, yes, but not the more explosive.