Over the next two weeks, we will take a look at each position group on the Packers and provide grades and insight on how they performed in the 2014 season. Today, we'll be looking at the running back position. Follow along with all of our positional breakdowns here.
James Starks returned to the Green Bay Packers after hitting the market as an unrestricted free agent last offseason. The Packers brought him back to stay behind starter Eddie Lacy, and his role as a complementary back was the same as it was a year ago. On the other side, the team brought in former University of Tennessee running back Rajion Neal as an undrafted free agent and kept him in reach by placing him on season-ending injured reserve. Even though Neal only played in one game, he showed promise in training camp and his lone game in the preseason.
How acquired: Free agent re-signing, two-year deal worth $3,165,626 million.
Stats: 16 games, 85 carries, 333 rushing yards (473 scrimmage), two total touchdowns.
Value: A healthy James Starks is still the same James Starks. Starks played in all 16 games for the first time in his career in 2014, but still saw his yardage dip on top of not getting a carry in two regular season games. He did provide a security blanket for Eddie Lacy in case of injury, but his action was still limited. A two-year deal at his price is fair enough for a backup.
How acquired: Signed as undrafted rookie free agent; three-year deal worth $1,532,000. Waived with injury settlement; later signed to practice squad and futures contract.
Value: Neal didn't play in a single regular-season game after the Packers waived him with an injury settlement. In his lone preseason game against Tennessee, Neal showed flashes at the next level, running for 39 yards on five carries, including a 12-yard touchdown. He was brought back on the practice squad late in the season and has been signed to a futures contract.