Player Points - Chris Wells
By Chase Stuart
May 11th, 2010

Chris Wells is really, really young. In fact, he only turned 21 in August 2009, making him one of the youngest rookie running backs in league history. The table below shows all running backs drafted in the first round since the merger. I've included the year the player was drafted, his draft pick, his age on September 1st of his draft year, his VBD as a rookie, and his career VBD.

Player
Age
Year
Pick
VBD
CVBD
Rashaan Salaam 
20.9
1995
21
23
23
Jamal Lewis 
21
2000
5
34
362
Darren McFadden 
21
2008
4
0
0
Beanie Wells 
21.1
2009
31
0
0
Edgerrin James 
21.1
1999
4
205
796
Walter Payton 
21.1
1975
4
17
1348
Steven Jackson 
21.1
2004
24
0
393
Barry Sanders 
21.1
1989
3
139
1251
Rashard Mendenhall 
21.2
2008
23
0
32
Emmitt Smith 
21.3
1990
17
64
1377
Lawrence Phillips 
21.3
1996
6
0
0
Felix Jones 
21.3
2008
22
0
0
Marshawn Lynch 
21.4
2007
12
31
78
Rodney Hampton 
21.4
1990
24
0
277
Jonathan Stewart 
21.4
2008
13
0
37
Robert Smith 
21.5
1993
21
0
213
Reggie Bush 
21.5
2006
2
46
63
Marshall Faulk 
21.5
1994
2
126
1338
T.J. Duckett 
21.5
2002
18
0
10
Jerome Bettis 
21.5
1993
10
87
375
Laurence Maroney 
21.6
2006
21
0
0
Eric Metcalf 
21.6
1989
13
64
226
Michael Haddix 
21.7
1983
8
0
0
Leonard Russell 
21.8
1991
14
0
59
Elvis Peacock 
21.8
1978
20
dnp
16
Gerald Riggs 
21.8
1982
9
0
304
Willis McGahee 
21.9
2003
23
dnp
136
Charley Young 
21.9
1974
22
0
0
Craig Heyward 
21.9
1988
24
0
80
D.J. Dozier 
21.9
1987
14
0
0
Ki-Jana Carter 
22
1995
1
dnp
0
Kevin Jones 
22
2004
30
14
38
Archie Griffin 
22
1976
24
0
0
Thomas Jones 
22
2000
7
0
280
Neal Anderson 
22
1986
27
0
509
Joe Profit 
22.1
1971
7
0
0
John Cappelletti 
22.1
1974
11
0
0
John Riggins 
22.1
1971
6
0
391
Greg Bell 
22.1
1984
26
59
314
Gaston Green 
22.1
1988
14
0
5
Eddie Lee Ivery
22.1
1979
15
0
105
Charles Alexander 
22.1
1979
12
0
0
Barry Redden 
22.1
1982
14
0
0
Knowshon Moreno 
22.1
2009
12
18
0
Tony Smith 
22.2
1992
19
0
0
Joe Moore 
22.2
1971
11
0
0
Booker Moore 
22.2
1981
28
dnp
0
LaDainian Tomlinson 
22.2
2001
5
105
1406
Curtis Enis 
22.2
1998
5
0
36
Napoleon Kaufman 
22.2
1995
18
0
89
Ricky Williams 
22.3
1999
5
0
479
Sammie Smith 
22.3
1989
9
0
26
Don McCauley 
22.3
1971
22
0
16
Ronnie Harmon 
22.3
1986
16
0
86
Barty Smith 
22.4
1974
12
0
0
Freeman McNeil 
22.4
1981
3
0
265
Gary W. Anderson
22.4
1983
20
dnp
114
Lorenzo White 
22.4
1988
22
0
204
Donald Brown 
22.4
2009
27
0
0
Ricky Bell 
22.4
1977
1
0
53
Mike Pruitt 
22.4
1976
7
0
288
Steve Sewell 
22.4
1985
26
0
0
George Amundson 
22.4
1973
14
0
0
Marcus Allen 
22.4
1982
10
222
977
Adrian Peterson 
22.4
2007
7
93
334
Curt Warner 
22.5
1983
3
110
395
Ron Dayne 
22.5
2000
11
0
0
Franco Harris 
22.5
1972
13
67
576
Butch Woolfolk 
22.5
1982
18
21
50
Alonzo Highsmith 
22.5
1987
3
0
0
John Stephens 
22.5
1988
17
3
27
Greg Hill 
22.5
1994
25
0
0
Ted Brown 
22.5
1979
16
0
227
Rod Bernstine 
22.6
1987
24
0
41
Fred Taylor 
22.6
1998
9
150
449
Bubba Bean 
22.6
1976
9
0
0
Tim Biakabutuka 
22.6
1996
8
0
0
Charles White 
22.6
1980
27
0
103
Ottis Anderson 
22.6
1979
8
107
611
John Avery 
22.6
1998
29
0
0
Terry Miller 
22.7
1978
5
18
18
Warrick Dunn 
22.7
1997
12
57
298
Garrison Hearst 
22.7
1993
3
0
255
Cedric Benson 
22.7
2005
4
0
15
James Brooks 
22.7
1981
24
0
425
Chris Perry 
22.7
2004
26
0
0
Deuce McAllister 
22.7
2001
23
0
319
George Adams 
22.7
1985
19
0
0
William Green 
22.7
2002
16
0
0
Randy McMillan 
22.7
1981
12
0
0
Lawrence Gaines 
22.7
1976
16
0
0
Steve Owens 
22.7
1970
19
0
90
George Rogers 
22.7
1981
1
106
183
Larry Stegent 
22.8
1970
8
dnp
0
Darrell Thompson 
22.8
1990
19
0
0
Wilbur Jackson 
22.8
1974
9
0
18
Bo Matthews 
22.8
1974
2
0
0
Otis Armstrong 
22.8
1973
9
0
244
Jeff Kinney 
22.8
1972
23
0
0
Reggie Dupard 
22.8
1986
26
0
0
Chuck Foreman 
22.8
1973
12
40
715
Paul Palmer 
22.9
1987
19
0
14
Keith Byars 
22.9
1986
10
0
195
Bobby Anderson 
22.9
1970
11
0
0
Blair Thomas 
22.9
1990
2
0
0
Walter Abercrombie 
22.9
1982
12
0
54
Joe Washington 
22.9
1976
4
dnp
165
Eddie George 
22.9
1996
14
74
561
Tim Worley 
22.9
1989
7
0
0
Terrence Flagler 
22.9
1987
25
0
0
Chris Johnson 
22.9
2008
24
66
272
David Overstreet 
22.9
1981
13
dnp
0
Earl Cooper 
23
1980
13
75
75
Dexter Carter 
23
1990
25
0
0
John Brockington 
23
1971
9
25
159
Greg Hawthorne 
23
1979
28
0
0
Eric Dickerson 
23
1983
2
194
860
Shaun Alexander 
23
2000
19
0
761
Sam Cunningham 
23
1973
11
0
170
Michael Bennett 
23.1
2001
27
0
36
Don Hardeman 
23.1
1975
15
0
0
Roger Vick 
23.1
1987
21
0
0
Bill Thomas 
23.1
1972
26
0
0
Duane Thomas 
23.2
1970
23
0
50
Woody Green 
23.2
1974
16
0
0
Leo Hayden 
23.2
1971
24
0
0
Gerald Willhite 
23.3
1982
21
0
15
Cleveland Gary 
23.3
1989
26
0
171
Joseph Addai 
23.3
2006
30
34
193
DeAngelo Williams 
23.4
2006
27
0
158
Cadillac Williams 
23.4
2005
5
12
12
Brad Muster 
23.4
1988
23
0
41
Tony Dorsett 
23.4
1977
2
103
720
Earl Campbell 
23.4
1978
1
68
477
Chuck Muncie 
23.5
1976
3
0
427
Lorenzo Hampton 
23.5
1985
27
0
75
Vagas Ferguson 
23.5
1980
25
0
0
Trung Canidate 
23.5
2000
31
0
0
Steve Broussard 
23.5
1990
20
0
0
Tommy Vardell 
23.5
1992
9
0
0
Tyrone Wheatley 
23.6
1995
17
0
56
Darrin Nelson 
23.7
1982
7
0
68
James Stewart 
23.7
1995
19
0
149
Norm Bulaich 
23.7
1970
18
0
43
Ronnie Brown 
23.7
2005
2
0
37
Curtis Dickey 
23.8
1980
5
42
122
Larry Johnson 
23.8
2003
27
0
372
Rocky Thompson 
23.8
1971
18
0
0
Brent Fullwood 
23.9
1987
4
0
11
Robert Edwards 
23.9
1998
18
95
95
Vaughn Dunbar 
24
1992
21
0
0
Harvey Williams 
24.4
1991
21
0
133
Billy Sims 
25
1980
1
165
421
Antowain Smith 
25.5
1997
23
15
121
Leon Burns 
31
1971
13
0
0

Many of the best RBs entered the league at a really young age -- Walter Payton, Barry Sanders, Emmitt Smith and Marshall Faulk are arguably the four best RBs to enter the NFL since 1970, and all were 21.5 years of age or younger on September 1st of their rookie campaign. Jamal Lewis, Edgerrin James and Steven Jackson, three of the most productive backs in the past decade, were among the seven youngest backs. Clinton Portis, a second round pick, turned 21 on September 1st of his rookie season.

Eric Dickerson didn't enter the NFL until age 23, but he was born on September 2nd; ditto for Brian Westbrook. Shaun Alexander was born on August 30th. So is this just how the sample falls, or is this something about an late summer birthday? Who knows. But guys like Payton and Sanders and Smith and Portis and James probably couldn't have entered the NFL when they did if they had been born a month or two later; these guys all entered college right around their 18th birthday, with some of them probably enrolling while they were still 17 years old. Had they been born in October or November, they may not have entered college for another season. Their lives could have been significantly different; they would have grown up as the oldest members of their class instead of as one of the youngest. Chris Wells was taking snaps in Buckeyes practice when he was 17 years old, competing against players much more physically mature than him. He was doing the same thing in high school. And junior high school. That sort of development tends to do good things for athletes.

Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to stuart@footballguys.com.