clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2015 Packers Running Back Preview: Ripkowski, Crockett, Harris provide new blood

The Packers added a trio of new running backs to the mix this offseason, and each brings a different set of skills to the table.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Over the next few weeks, we will break down each position on the Green Bay Packers' 2015 roster in detail, discussing each player and making our predictions for the final 53-man roster.

Not since 2009 had the Green Bay Packers elected to spend a draft pick on a fullback, but they broke that drought this spring and added some youthful competition for veteran John Kuhn. Meanwhile, the team added a pair of tailbacks to the competition for the #3 job behind Eddie Lacy and James Starks, and now they sit with a trio of solidly-built young backs ready to fight for a roster spot.

Here is our breakdown of the new additions to the Packers' running back unit.

Aaron Ripkowski

Acquired: sixth-round draft pick, #206 overall
Age: 22
H/W: 6'1", 246 pounds
College: Oklahoma
College Stats: 8 rushes, 41 yares (5.1 average), 2 touchdowns; 6 receptions, 13 yards (2.2 average), 3 touchdowns

Contract: first year of four-year rookie deal worth $2.39 million, with $106,396 signing bonus; 2015 cap hit of $461,599

Aaron Ripkowski is, in many ways, the ultimate version of what John Kuhn is now. He's a masher, first and foremost. He's a 257 pound, lead-blocking dynamo who will put up a highlight-reel pancake on a regular basis. He's never been that successful in either aspect of the passing game, but he's also, young, huge, and unlike Kuhn, likely to be a valuable special teams contributor.

He could use some work on his fundamentals, as he sometimes sells out to lay a guy out and can get sloppy because of it, but Ripkowkski is the obvious heir apparent to the legacy of John Kuhn. He has an old-school, Midwest football name, and it's more a matter of when, not if, he replaces John Kuhn on the roster.

John Crockett

Acquired: signed as undrafted free agent on May 8th
Age: 23
H/W: 6'0", 217 pounds
College: North Dakota State
College Stats: 752 carries, 4,309 yards (5.7 average), 41 touchdowns; 43 receptions, 485 yards (11.3 average), 1 touchdown

Contract: three-year contract worth $1.58 million, with $5,000 signing bonus; 2015 cap hit of $436,666

The North Dakota State product went undrafted and joined the Packers as a free agent. He's about what you would expect for a late-round running back. He's a bit slow, but he has a reputation as a smart, polished runner who can play on any down and avoid being exploited in any part of the game. If this scouting report sounds familiar, see also: James Starks, Rajion Neal, though I think that may do Crockett a bit of a disservice. He is shiftier than either, and while he lacks straight-line speed, I could see him becoming an open-field weapon in the future.

Ted Thompson has a type, and the fact that Crockett fits that type gives him a puncher's chance of making the team. Failing that, he's a likely practice squad addition who sticks around until the guys in front of him get hurt.

Alonzo Harris

Acquired: signed as undrafted free agent on May 8th
Age: 22
H/W: 6'1", 237 pounds
College: Louisiana-Lafayette
College Stats: 704 carries, 3,330 yards (4.7 average), 44 touchdowns; 29 receptions, 234 yards (8.1 average), 1 touchdown

Contract: three-year contract worth $1,578,500, with $3,500 signing bonus; 2015 cap hit of $436,166

Two-hundred thirty-seven pound running backs with 100+ speed scores (based on his pro day numbers) don't grow on trees, and it's easy to see why a team would be interested in the Louisiana-Lafayette star. He's been talked about as a fullback and halfback, and still has some room to grow if he were to switch to lead blocker. In any case, he's a good but raw prospect as a power runner, and his future will probably be determined by reps in the gym and injuries to others. If he can add ten pounds of muscle, he could become a force. He will most likely get a chance to prove himself as part of the practice squad.