It’s a pretty simple question. Should you buy Ray Rice? Or avoid the Baltimore Ravens‘ veteran running back like the plague?
Let me put it this way. If Rice was a $100 stock heading into last season and he dropped all the way down to $20 after his extremely disappointing 2013 campaign, I’d sell the stock without hesitation. Heck, if I could only get $10 for my $100 investment, I’d still sell.
I’m going nowhere near Rice in 2014.
According to Pro Football Focus, out of 55 qualified running backs (based on playing time), Rice was the worst running back in football. He was graded lower than guys like Bilal Powell, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Bernard Pierce (his teammate) and Rashard Mendenhall.
When you sort those 55 running backs by their grades as just pure runners (not taking into account things like blocking, pass catching) it gets even uglier. Not only was Rice the worst runner in the league, he was by a long shot. Maurice Jones-Drew had the second worst rushing grade at -6.6; Rice’s grade was -12.5 — only five guys received a grade of -5.0 or worse.
When you watch Rice on film it becomes clear pretty quickly that he’s no longer capable of routinely getting by tacklers, and the numbers back it up. He only made nine would-be-tacklers miss last season (he had 20 in 2012), he was last in the NFL with 1.5 yards after contact per attempt, 52nd (of 55) with 3.1 yards per carry and his 7.3 elusive rating (pro football focus) was easily the worst in football (Willis McGahee had the second worst at 14.5).
Rice was, without a doubt, the worst running back in the NFL last season and it’s not like we should expect some drastic bounce-back at age 27, after six years and 1,430 carries. I want absolutely nothing to do with him, and I haven’t even touched on the fact that you’re not going to be able to use him in the first two games.
Rice is currently going as a late seventh round pick. Do you really want to spend a seventh round pick on an aging running back, coming off of not just the worst season of his career but an absolutely horrendous season for any running back who can’t even be played for the first two games? I’ll pass and take Joique Bell ten times out of ten.
I am 100 percent selling Ray Rice.