EDITOR'S NOTE: This is a good look at the individual running backs on the Packers' roster, and lays out some interesting predictions for the top backs. - Tex
The Packers have gone 43 straight games without a 100-yard rusher and have not had a 1,000 yard rusher since Ryan Grant did it in 2009. That might very well change this season.
The additions of Eddie Lacy, Jonathan Frankin and Angelo Pease to go along with DuJuan Harris, Alex Green and James Starks have the Packers loaded at the RB position for the first time in a long time. The question is what will the Packers RB depth chart look like when opening day comes around? Here are my predictions:
1. #27 Eddie Lacy, 5-11, 230.
Lacy has drawn comparisons to Steven Jackson and Marshawn Lynch due to his bulky size, powerful running style, solid vision and surprisingly nimble feet. What Lacy lacks in speed he makes up for in good vision and the ability to break tackles.
The Packers don't need a home run hitter, they need a guy that can consistently get on base. In other words, the Packers don't need a running back who breaks out the occasional 50-yard run, they need a running back that can consistently gain 4-5 yards. Lacy fits that mold better than anyone.
The only question on Lacy is whether he can protect the quarterback at this level. I believe he can.
Predictions: 195 Carries, 792 Yards, 4.1 AVG, 8 TD, 18 REC, 139 Yards, 7.7 AVG, 1 TD.
2. #23 Jonathan Franklin, 5-10, 205.
The reason why Franklin makes this competition so intriguing is because he has all of the skills that Lacy doesn't have. Franklin has exceptional speed, very soft hands, great acceleration and is a solid blocker.
I think Lacy will get the majority of the Packers carries in running situations, e.g., 1st/2nd down or 3rd and short, while Franklin will get his fair share of touches on special teams and in passing situations, e.g., 2nd/3rd and long.
I believe that Franklin will develop into one of the best screen pass-catchers in the NFL.
Predictions: 86 Carries, 414 Yards, 4.7 AVG, 2 TD, 33 REC, 273 Yards, 8.3 AVG, 2 TD.
3. #26 DuJuan Harris, 5-8, 203.
Harris provided a great story last year, going from a used car salesman to starting running back on the Green Bay Packers. While Harris does have decent speed and quick burst, he does not posses the ability to break tackles or hold up in pass protection.
I think Harris will prove to be a solid backup due to his play-making ability , especially on shovel passes and toss plays.
Predictions: 64 Carries, 238 Yards, 3.7 AVG, 1 TD, 4 REC, 22 Yards, 5.5 AVG, 0 TD.
4. #20 Alex Green, 6-0, 220.
Green led the Packers with 464 rushing yards last year on 135 carries, averaging 3.4 yards per carry. A long list of injuries has kept Green from ever fulfilling his potential. Even though he's healthy now, I doubt he will get the opportunity to produce much.
Predictions: 32 Carries, 122 Yards, 3.8 AVG, 1 TD, 12 REC, 78 Yards, 6.5 AVG, 0 TD.
5. #39 Angelo Pease, 5-10, 211.
The undrafted free agent from Kansas State got some notice at Packers rookie orientation with some nice cuts and long gains, He is a long shot to make the opening day 53-man roster but he has a good chance a beginning the season on practice squad.
6. #44 James Starks, 6-2, 218.
After struggling with injuries over the last couple seasons I think Starks is the odd man out. I think he will either be traded or cut before the start of the season.