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Running Back Analysis

Since RB Ahman Green left, there have been a number of running backs changing teams and the Packers could have acquired any one of them. Did the Packers make a mistake by passing on any of them?

  1. Travis Henry. After Tennessee released him, he was soon signed by Denver. Henry had over 1200 yards in 2006 to go along with a healthy 4.5 yards/carry. Unfortunately for Denver Football Outsiders says that Henry is only slightly better than the player he is replacing, RB Tatum Bell. The bottom line:
    "In general, he has always put up high yardage totals simply because teams kept giving him the ball as the starting running back."
    It doesn't sound like the Packers will regret passing on Henry.
  2. Willis McGahee. He has only averaged 3.9 yards/carry during his career but he still thinks very highly of himself. Unfortunately for him Football Outsiders says he is either the 24th or 27th best back in the NFL last season. It cost Baltimore two 3rd round picks and what looked like a $15 million signing bonus according to the ESPN ticker to acquire McGahee. RB Jamal Lewis would have cost much less, but he was much worse than McGahee last season. Instead Baltimore should have looked in house and just used RB Mike Anderson next season, who was great when given the chance in 2006. The Packers did well passing on McGahee and Lewis.
  3. Rueben Droughns. NFL Network's Adam Schefter was sure Droughns would end up with the Packers, but the NY Giants stepped up and traded for Droughns before the Packers could make a move for him. Schefter said:
    "Droughns could surface in Green Bay as a superb partner to Vernand Morency."
    If by "superb" he meant the worst possible choice, then he would have been absolutely correct. Football Outsiders says Droughns was the worst back in the NFL last season by a comfortable margin. Things were bad in Cleveland last season and Droughns had some injury problems, but he had an awful in 2005 too. There was no reason to even consider him.
  4. Thomas Jones. The best of the bunch, but would have Chicago traded him in their own division? Plus he will turn 30 years old right before the 2008 season and would have required a big new contract.
  5. Dominic Rhodes. Well he was pretty good back in 2001. Although he is only going to be a part time starter in Oakland, this might be the final sign that Al Davis is done. Even RB Justin Fargas is better than Rhodes.
Henry and McGahee would have provided an upgrade over Morency, but the Packers are better off looking to the draft.