The departure of Eddie Lacy saw the Packer’s RB depth chart with only one name Ty Montgomery, a converted wideout. The team has since resigned Christine Michael to a one year deal, but I do not see him as much more than a 3rd running back on the depth chart. I thought Ty Montgomery did a fantastic job last year, and he should come into next season a better player having a full offseason playing his new position. I presume TyMo is the starter week one, however he is not a guy who can carry the ball an abundance of times each game in my opinion.
The Packers need to get another difference maker to some of the load off of Montgomery. They are likely draft a back at some point during the draft. I do not like the prospect of drafting a RB in the first round, and it doesn’t seem like Ted does either if past drafts are any indication. That said, I chose to focus more on rounds 2-7 in this post. Here is my take on 6 running backs in this years draft class…
D’Onta Foreman 6′ 233Lbs – Texas
40 Yard Dash: 4.45
College Statistics: A part time starter in his freshman and sophomore years at Texas. He exploded during his junior year in 2016, despite the struggles of the Texas Longhorns. Foreman led the FBS in rushing yards with 2028 yards on 323 carries for an average YPC of about 6.3 yards. His 15 rushing touchdowns added to his already fantastic season, and he was later named the Doak Walker award winner for best running back in the nation.
How He Fits With Green Bay: Donta Foreman is by far my favorite player featured in this post. What really sets him apart from the rest is his combination of size and speed. Foreman ran a 4.45 sec 40 time at his pro day, which is somewhat unheard of for a man who is 6′ tall and over 230 pounds. To put this into perspective, Eddie Lacy boasted almost an identical height and weight when he was drafted, but ran a 4.57 40 time. Not to say that athleticism is everything at the position, but Foreman is certainly a tailback that will outrun some defenders. I could see the Packers front office staying away from him because he is a serious liability in pass protection. Despite this, I think he is exactly the kind of runner the Packers need to compliment Ty Montgomery. If he can improve on his pass blowing wows, D’Onta Foreman’s athleticism could carry him into a great career in Green Bay.
Strengths: I’ve already detailed his athleticism, it is the best quality of his game. The combo of speed and size will allow him to bust off some big runs. He carried the ball a lot at Texas, and showed he could carry the workload. Knows when not to bounce runs outside. Good at converting in short yardage situations. Utilizes hurdle when defenders attempt to go too low to tackle. Won’t make it easy on a defender attempting an arm tackle.
Weaknesses: He could utilize his size more instead or relying of athleticism. Very poor pass blocker. Ball security issues with 6 fumbles lost in the past year. Doesn’t keep his feet moving upon contact.
Pro Comparison: Combination of speed and size remind me of Michael Turner when he came out of Northern Illinois way back when.
Wayne Gallman 6′ 215Lbs – Clemson
40 Yard Dash: 4.6
College Statistics: After being a part time starter his freshman year (2014) for Clemson, Gallman really arose to to an outstanding player as a Sophomore. In 2015 he set a school record with 1527 rushing yards, and was named first team ALL-ACC. His play saw a bit of a drop off in 2016, but he still managed to rush for 1000 yards on his way to a second team ALL-ACC honors.
How He Fits in Green Bay: Wayne Gallman was overshadowed by Deshawn Watson and Mike Williams at Clemson, both of the two are potential top 10 picks in this years draft. When I look at Gallman I see a more pro ready back who is not quite the athlete that guys like Foreman or Joe Mixon are. With that being said, he is likely to be a more affordable player than the other two. He has potential to be a 3 down back, because of his ability to contribute as a receiver.
Strengths: Tackle breaking machine, especially when breaking runs into the second level. Good burst . Utilizes the jump cut in a big way at the line of scrimmage. Capable pass catcher. Good at converting short yardage situations. Effort runner.
Weaknesses: Poor vision at times. Not always moving forward when tackled. Sub par pass protection at times. Long strider. Could benefit from lowering his pad level at times. Impatient runner.
Pro Comparison: James Starks. Jump cuts and long strides, what more do I have to say? Starks may have been a better athlete, which allowed him to bounce runs outside early in his career.
Joe Mixon 6’1 226Lbs – Oklahoma
40 Yard Dash: 4.43
College Statistics: Mixon has had his fair share of off the field issues preventing him from playing on the field. He was still able to rush for 1,274 yards and 10 TD’s this past season at Oklahoma. Big contributor through the air and in the return game as well.
How He Fits in Green Bay: This is the most talented back on the list, with by far the most off the field issues. From punching a woman in the face, to terrorizing a parking attendant who gave him a ticket, Joe Mixon is far from a model citizen. A video of the incident in which he punched the woman surfaced, you can check that out online if you care to. Based upon his recent visit with the Packers, clearly there is some interest within the Packers organization to see if Mixon’s character concerns are worth taking a risk on. With that being said, It is generally accepted that Mixon will be drafted before the third round. This means that Green Bay would have to pull the trigger in the second round to grab Mixon. The Packers would undoubtedly get some extra on the field value with that pick, but would also run the risk of a complete bust. Is Green Bay a good place for Mixon to stay out of trouble compared to elsewhere in the league? Absolutely. Does Green Bay need a running back? Most definitely. On the field, the two sides are a good fit, but for the record I am against using a second round draft pick on Joe Mixon. He is a 3 down back. He will contribute as a runner, pass catcher, blocker, and even a returner. His potential is through the roof, but he has to escape his status as a prospect with poor character to reach that potential. I don’t have a whole lot of bad things to say about him as a player on the field.
Strengths: Great overall athlete with good size. Good short range speed. Outstanding ability both as a receiver, and occasionally as a pass blocker. Utilizes his ability as a runner after the catch. Falls forward on runs. Possesses a full package of possibilities when it comes to being able to break tackles.
Weaknesses: Bad moral fit for teams. Poor vision at times. Needs to let the play develop more on occasion. Not Great between the tackles.
Pro Comparison: David Johnson. I’ve seen him compared to Le’Veon Bell a lot, I like the comparison, but Bell is a lot more patient of a runner. David Johnson had nearly identical size and speed coming out of college, and is a big weapon in the passing game just like Joe Mixon.
Elijah Hood 5’11” 232Lbs. -UNC
40 Yard Dash: 4.58 Sec.
College Statistics: His sophomore season in 2015 was his best statistically. Hood ran for 1,463 yards and 17 touchdowns with a 6.68 yards per carry. There was a regression in his junior season, he still managed to rush for 858 yards and 8 TD’s for 5.9 YPC in 11 games. His play was recognized with second team All-ACC honors in 2015 and third team in 2016.
How He Fits in Green Bay: Hood is a day three kind of draft pick, not a guy you should get excited about being a huge contributor right away. This is a guy I would love to see Green Bay pick in the later rounds. He is a great fit in the Packers offense because of his ability in pass protection. His status as a downhill runner makes him a good compliment to Ty Montgomery’s skill set.
Strengths: Hood is a power runner, not an easy guy to tackle. His size and speed combo is similar to that of Eddie Lacy when he was coming out of Alabama. Gets consistent yards after contact. Good vision, takes advantage of cutback lanes. Avoids direct contact. Pass blocking is very solid. Can run block, which could allow him to be part of two back sets.
Weaknesses: Slow to accelerate through the hole. Not an overly impressive athlete. Probably a between the tackles runner in the NFL, shouldn’t be utilized on sweeps or tosses often. Slow cuts.
Pro Comparison: After much deliberation, he reminds me of a less talented Jonathan Stewart.
Corey Clement 5’10” 220Lbs. -Wisconsin
40 Yard Dash: 4.68 Sec.
College Statistics: After his junior season in 2015 saw him play only 4 games, Clement rebounded with second team All-Big10 honors in 2016. His final season at Wisconsin resulted in 1375 yards on 314 carries along with 15 TD’s. Clement also showed production as a backup to Melvin Gordan in his first two years in Madison.
How He Fits in Green Bay: While I’d like to remind everyone that only one Wisconsin Badger has been chosen in the draft during the Ted Thompson era, Clement would be a fan favorite within the state. Clement is a power runner like most guys on this list, but he plays a lot faster than his 40 time suggests I assure you. Clement would serve as a runner primarily in the Packers offense given Ty Montgomery’s presence.
Strengths: The Jump cut is a huge part of his game. Much more athletic than given credit for. Uses quick cuts and large frame to break tackles. More of an outside runner. Great when reaching the second level on runs.
Weaknesses: Mild character concerns. Can get himself in trouble with over use of the jump cut. Impatient runner at times. Lacks the athleticism to burn defenders as an outside runner. Less effective between the tackles. His lack of playing time on passing downs suggests that he doesn’t posses the skills to thrive in Green Bay’s offense.
Pro Comparison: I’m running low on big running backs to make comparisons to, CJ Anderson. Mostly because of the jump cuts.
Donnel Pumphrey 5’8 176Lbs. -SDSU
40 Yard Dash: 4.48 Sec.
College Statistics: Pumphrey is an NCAA record holder for most rushing yards in a career. He did play against poorer quality defenses than others on this list, but there’s no denying he can produce on the field. Rushed for over 2100 yards this past season.
How he fits in Green Bay: Pumphrey is unlike any back in this draft class. He’s simply a skilled player, and it will make up for his lack of size and overwhelming speed come draft day. Don’t expect him to go until the later rounds, but he is likely to be drafted on day 3. He has shown some ability to as a pass catcher, but won’t be able to pick up blocks in the passing game because of a lack of size. As a Packer, he would likely be a late round experiment and not a part of our long term plans.
Strengths: Vision is his best quality in my opinion. Great burst. Very good athlete, but isn’t going to overwhelm anyone. Good jump cutter. Can fit in gaps others cannot. Always a threat to cutback. A lot better at running between the tackles than his size suggests. More agile than fast. Potential match up nightmare running routes out of the backfield. Good weapon to have for screen passes.
Weaknesses: Lacks NFL size. Poor hands at times. Not big enough to pass protect. Won’t break many tackles.
Pro Comparison: Remember how I said Pumphrey was unlike any back in this draft class? He’s also not like many NFL running backs. I like the comparison of Warrick Dunn.
What rookie running back would you like to see wearing Green and Gold next year?