NFL Rookie Showdown: Ryan Mathews vs. CJ Spiller

Zac Fluewelling@@ucant_beatmeCorrespondent IMay 6, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 28: Running back Ryan Mathews of Fresno State runs during the NFL Scouting Combine presented by Under Armour at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 28, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)
Scott Boehm/Getty Images

CJ Spiller or  Ryan Matthews?

With over 1700 yards and 16 TD's on offense alone for Spiller his senior year, most will be favoring the 5’11”, 195 pound Spiller. Sure, the former Clemson running back will offer plenty in the return game as well, but did Buffalo make a mistake by taking this electrifying back?  

Perhaps it wasn’t a mistake as much as it was a risk.

Buffalo has weather issues as we all know and they have a versatile back already in Fred Jackson. Jackson is another pass-catching-return-guy, and rumor has it that Marshawn Lynch will be gone by the time the season starts.

This means Spiller and Jackson will be counted on to take a majority of the carries (and the punishment) in Buffalo.  I understand what Buffalo was thinking in taking Spiller. They were trying to add some more speed and offense to their roster. I just hope Spiller understands that his tools will not shine as bright as if he were with a warm-weathered team.

On the other hand we have the much thicker and stronger 5’11”, 220 pound Ryan Mathews. Mathews ran for almost 600 more yards than Spiller last year as a junior. Although the new San Diego Charger has little (if anything at all) to offer on special teams; the acquisition of Mathews allows Darren Sproles to concentrate on the return game (where he belongs) and let Mathews get the bulk of the carries on offense.

He will be playing in warm weather and should be the starter going into the year with little competition. Many people will argue that Mathews had an easier schedule than Spiller last year. To that I say, he ran for 234 yards on just 19 carries against Boise State. How many teams did Spiller play that can be compared to Boise State? You can stretch it by saying two teams, but that is all.

Edge: Mathews, with a prediction of 1,200 total yards and 8 TD's