Packers Roster Predictions - Running Backs: Lacy Takes the Reins

Mike McGinnis

We release our roster predictions for the running backs, and the future is now for the Packers’ rookie runners.

Earlier today, we broke down the Packers' roster by taking a look at the running back position. As for whom we predict will start, the wait is now.

In case you forgot the voting process, we had five writers submit their full roster predictions, complete with projected starters and backups. We took the number of players at each position that were chosen most frequently, and the individual players who were put on the roster most often. At the running back position, all the writers agreed on a starter. The rest of the group wasn't quite as unanimous.

Running backs on the 53-man roster: FIVE

Projected Starter: Eddie Lacy

Perhaps we're making too much of the front office's investment in Lacy, but he's our projected starter for 2013 by unanimous vote. No one questions Lacy's ability when he's healthy, but his history of lower body injuries suggests that the Packers shouldn't expect him to go a full season without issues. The Packers don't need Lacy to be a workhorse back; they just need him to convert short yardage situations and provide a viable running threat to take a little bit of pressure off Aaron Rodgers. If he can provide that, Lacy will be a game changer for Green Bay in 2013.

Projected Backups: Johnathan Franklin, Alex Green, DuJuan Harris, John Kuhn

There's no scenario where Franklin isn't on the roster given that the Packers traded up in the fourth round to select him. Accordingly, he was included on every APC writer's final roster. As we discussed in the Self-Scouting, Franklin's biggest challenge will be running inside. We project that he'll struggle there, at least in 2013. That doesn't mean he won't have a big role, as the coaching staff has often talked about his receiving ability and vision. Franklin should fit nicely into a role such as Brandon Jackson's circa 2010.

As for Green and Harris, they may not have defined roles in the offense. Rather, whoever between them has the hot hand will pick up whatever scraps of carries are left by Lacy and Franklin. Their best shot at increasing their playing time is improving as pass blockers, but Harris' height and Green's inconsistency don't bode well there. Each may appear and disappear in the game plans seemingly at random throughout the season. Regardless of their playing time, all the APC writers included Green and Harris in their final roster.

Kuhn has been the team's best pass blocker since Brandon Jackson's departure. With only rookies and the aforementioned Green and Harris ahead of him, that's unlikely to change in 2013. While Kuhn's time as a runner is probably over, he'll still see the field on third and long situations until someone else proves capable of keeping Aaron Rodgers upright. Only one writer did not include Kuhn on their final roster.

Left Off the Roster: James Starks, Angelo Pease

Starks' body has betrayed him since his college days, and it's probably a reason why the Packers decided to draft Lacy and Franklin in the first place. There's just no room for a sixth back, and the none of the APC writers believe the team will bet on Starks with his injury history. As for Pease, he's impressed the coaching staff so far. If his performance remains strong through training camp, a spot on the practice squad could be waiting for him.

Coming up Wednesday: Dan takes on the Wide Receiver position.

Read More from our Training Camp Preview series
QB Self-Scouting QB Roster Predictions Full roster preview post schedule

Jason Hirschhorn covers the Green Bay Packers for Acme Packing Co. He has previously written for Lombardi Ave, College Hoops Net, LiveBall Sports, and the List Universe. He is also currently a senior writer for Beats Per Minute, an indie-music webzine. Follow him on Twitter: @JBHirschhorn

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