The past few years, we have seen the running back position on a steady decline in terms of positional value. In fact, last year was the first time a running back was not selected in the first round. Snapping a trend that dates back to 1936 and the soft running back market in free agency this past March, those are the clearest examples of why draft value has gone down.
There are many more factors that are playing roles in the devaluing of the running back, the most obvious being that the NFL, in general, is trending more toward a passing league. Offensive coordinators are becoming more creative in spreading the field with formations, motions and shifts and looking to create mismatches on the perimeter. In many ways, second down is becoming the new third down.