At a time when teams across the NFL are showing little to no interest in most of the big-name running backs available in free agency, the Patriots have signed two running backs. And in doing so, they’ve shown they’re at the forefront of the analytics movement, even if they don’t like to say so.
Today the Patriots signed restricted free agent running back Mike Gillislee to an offer sheet that they hope the Bills won’t match, and previously the Patriots signed running back Rex Burkhead away from the Bengals. What do Gillislee and Burkhead have in common? The average fan may not know a lot about them, but the analytics people love them.
Analytics website FootballOutsiders.com ranked Gillislee as the most efficient running back in the NFL last year, and Burkhead as No. 2. Analytics website NumberFire also had Gillislee first and Burkhead second. Analyst Warren Sharp’s metrics had Gillislee first and Burkhead second in success rate, and …
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