Sporting Charts

CJ Spiller: A Statistical Preview of the Bills Running back

It seems as if every year about this time, hopes have reached their highest point of the season for the Buffalo Bills, and this season is no different.  Ever since the legendary Jim Kelly retired there have always been question marks at quarterback.  Names like Todd Collins, Rob Johnson, J.P. Losman, Trent Edwards, and Ryan Fitzpatrick never panned out.  The running back position is another story with the Bills, starting with Thurman Thomas, Travis Henry, Willis McGahee, Fred Jackson, and now the future star CJ Spiller.

Entering his 4th season out of Clemson, Spiller has shown sparkles of greatness since being the first running back taken in the 2010 draft (9th overall).  Up until the end of the 2012 season he played backup to an ellusive Fred Jackson.  But Spiller's game could open up even more this season with what should be an upgrade at the receiver position, and 16th overall draft pick EJ Manuel will get every opportunity to be the starting quarterback over veteran Kevin Kolb.  Manuel could be the next star dual threat quarterback...opening up the rushing game even further.

It’s no secret among the Fanstasy Football crowd that Spiller is primed to have a big year and in all likelihood will be a first round pick in every FF draft.  If he can stay healthy a lot of experts have him rated as the best running back in football this year.  On that note we decided to compare his 3 year statistics, in particular his 2012 season, to some of the current and past greats.


It's way too early to say that CJ Spiller is in Adrian Peterson company, but with over 200 attempts there was no one better on a per carry basis than these two (except for Robert Griffin III).  

Let's take it a step further and look at the most elite rushing seasons on a per attempt basis since 1990:


That is some elite company to say the least. What is equally as impressive to Spiller's rushing numbers is his threat in the receiving game.  Below are the top Yards after the Catch on a per reception basis since the 1990 season.


At the end of the day, it's a long season and staying healthy at the runningback position is nearly impossible in the current NFL.  But no matter how the Bills' season shakes down, most of us can all agree to expect big things from CJ Spiller in 2013.