Today, Titletown Soundoff begins a series of “Where They Stand.” Our writers will examine the Packers’ strengths and weaknesses at various position groups. In addition, we will take a look at options, both in free agency and in the draft, for the Packers to bolster that position group. Thank you for reading.
The Green Bay Packers’ running back situation will be very thin when March 9 rolls around. Only Eddie Lacy and John Crockett are under contract through 2016. James Starks is an impending free agent. Lacy will be entering the last year of a $3.39 million rookie deal. Green Bay could target a running back through free agency or the NFL Draft.
The free agent pool is decent and full of names, including Matt Forte, Lamar Miller, Chris Ivory and James Starks. Starks could the free agent the Packers get because of his familiarity. Starks weakness the past year was ball security, he fumbled five times, losing three of those.
Forte is the sexy name being tied to the Packers because of his receiving abilities. Forte is 30 and, according to The Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs, Matt Forte could be worth no more than 3 million dollars in the market. If this is true this could be very good for Green Bay.
Miller is a fast running back that the Packers may covet due to his age (24) and has nice size for a RB at 5’10 225. Miller may cost more but his speed could be something the Packers want to complement Lacy’s power.
Ivory is similar to Lacy in that he is a downhill runner and likes to hit people. However, would a similar style running back of Lacy be what Green Bay needs? If it gets Lacy a kick in his butt, maybe.
The draft is full of mid-round running back talent which is where the Packers may take a running back if they choose not to pick one up in free agency. Running backs include: Kenyan Drake, Paul Perkins and C.J. Prosise.
Drake had 232 carries for 1494 yards and 18 scores in his career for the Alabama Crimson Tide. Drake also added 44 receptions for 549 yards and 4 more scores and is a good option on day 3. Drake suffered a broken forearm in 2015 against Mississippi St but returned later in the season. A broken leg cut short his junior season as well. Lacy and Drake were teammates in 2012 with the Tide. He also has kick return ability shown by his 95 yard touchdown against Clemson in the National Championship Game.
UCLA’s Paul Perkins could fit a role similar to Drake as the receiving back if Drake is gone. Perkins is not as fast as Drake, running a 4.54 40 at the scouting combine compared with Drake’s 4.45. Green Bay has shown interest in picking Bruins, selecting Datone Jones, Johnathan Franklin and Perkin’s old quarterback Brett Hundley, Perkins could be next in line. Perkins could be a match because of his ability to catch and pass protect. Perkins seems thin but was measured at the combine at 5’10 208 pounds.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish running back C.J. Prosise is another option in the mid rounds because of his background as a reciever. Prosise runs a little too upright for some. Prosise’s hands measured at only 8.5 inches and he is raw as a back, only playing the 2015 season as a running back. He does have nice size at 6’0″ and 220 pounds. Prosise could a nice back to use on screens and swing passes.
The Packers will more than likely add a running back in the draft than free agency. However, there are great options in both areas. Running back may not be as a pressing need as tight end or Offensive Line but depth is needed with the contracts of Lacy and Crockett expiring in March 2017.