A Pre-Draft Look At Our Running Backs

Part 6 in a position-by-position analysis of where the Packers stand going into the draft.

Starters
It appears Ty Montgomery will enter camp as the starter, barring a high draft pick. I’m ok with this and I actually think it’s the Packers plan. They don’t value the position highly in the draft and, with the short shelf life of the position, I think it’s a wise choice.

Yukon Ripkowski has proven to be a very good lead blocker and a surprisingly effective runner (as long as he’s not inside the 5 in a conference championship). He’ll be FB1 to open camp. That doesn’t mean much in a lot of places, but Green Bay used fullbacks more than almost any team in the league (which still isn’t all that much – Rip was in for just over a quarter of the offensive snaps last year).

Backups
Christine Michael is beloved among the fans from one play, but really was pretty terrible every other time he touched the ball (or attempted to, as is the case when he ran the wrong way on multiple draws, leaving our quarterback holding the ball out to no one and having to think fast to avoid getting blindsided). Don Jackson was a young prospect who spent the year on IR. In limited opportunities, he has underwhelmed, but he does have the physical traits of a compact runner that the Packers seem to prefer.

Joe Kerridge is FB2. That means special teams pretty much exclusively unless Rip gets hurt. He played 20 snaps on offense last year. With the offseason pick up of two tight ends capable of blocking, he may be hard pressed to make the team at all, let alone see 20 more snaps.

Talent on Roster
We loved Lacy, but he wasn’t a good fit. He’s a big powerful back who needed the ball 20 times a game to be at full effectiveness and that’s just not what the Packers want to do when they have a QB that has trouble finding his flow when he’s handing off that much.

Ty gives them a different kind of runner, more of a cannon ball that can break off in bursts and is killer as a backfield receiving threat. Forget your fantasy stats, this is the guy that gives the Packers offense what it needs.

After that, however, the cupboard gets bare in a hurry. Rip can provide enough of a change up as an occasional RB2, but he’s no more a workhorse than John Kuhn was (and he wasn’t). Michael and Jackson (hee hoo!), or should I say Christine and Don, have shown very little in this offense.

Draft Need
Fairly High – Not high as in that they need to use a high pick, but high as in they need to get another body in here. Monty looks capable and Rip has shown the ability to provide some tough yards, but that still means the top two ball carriers are guys who didn’t enter the league as halfbacks and combined for 621 yards in their two year careers. They look good, but there’s not a long track record there. Plus, Ty has not shown the ability to remain healthy. I think his build and running style can hold up to 14 carries a game, which is about what they need out of him, but a bad ankle injury and sickle cell trait have limited him so far.

The backups, minus one play, have pretty much been zeroes to date in Green Bay. The current crop of wide receivers on the team doesn’t look primed to be converted, either. We need someone here, but we don’t necessarily need to spend a premium pick to find a complementary back in a deep crop of rushers.

 

Other parts in the series
Part 1: Quarterbacks
Part 2: Defensive Line
Part 3: Wide Receivers
Part 4: Cornerbacks
Part 5: Tight Ends
Part 7: Linebackers
Part 8: Offensive Line
Part 9: Safeties
Part 10: Specialists

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