Saturday, June 8, 2013

2013: Looking Around The Division: RB

I already did the first edition of looking around the division, rating each quarterback against each other.  Obviously there was a lot of talent at QB, with all 4 being first round draft picks.  Now I'm going to do a post on the running backs around the division.  Putting both running backs and fullbacks in the same category.  Let's start at the bottom and then move through the division to the best.

4. Green Bay Packers
  1. Eddie Lacy #27 (23, 5'11" 230 lbs)
  2. DuJuan Harris #26 (24, 5'8" 203 lbs)
  3. Johnathan Franklin #23 (23, 5'10" 205 lbs)
  4. Alex Green #20 (24, 6'0" 220 lbs)
  5. James Starks #44 (27, 6'2" 218 lbs)
  1. John Kuhn #30 (30, 6'0" 250 lbs)
  2. Ryan Taylor #82 (25, 6'3" 254 lbs)
Eddie Lacy & Johnathan Franklin are both rookies, DuJuan Harris wasn't on our team to start last season.  Last season's opening day starter has fallen all the way down to 5th on the depth chart.  Harris has 43 career carries, with 2 TD last year toward the end of the season.  Alex Green had 464 yards last year, which is a team high for returning rushers last year.  DuJuan Harris had the most rushing yards for a game with 70 yards against Minnesota in the final regular season game.  Kuhn has long been a fan favorite, and even scored 6 touchdowns in 2011 & 2012.  But the main thing that I think of when I am looking at this roster is potential, because there are no proven NFL rushers.  No proven NFL running backs puts the Packers at the bottom of the list, because everyone else has better experience.

3.  Chicago Bears
  1. Matt Forte #22 (27, 6'2" 218 lbs)
  2. Michael Bush #29 (28, 6'1" 245 lbs)
  3. Armando Allen #25 (24, 5'10" 190 lbs)
  4. Harvey Unga #45 (26, 6'0" 235 lbs)
  5. Michael Ford #32 (23, 5'10" 216 lbs)
  1. Evan Rodriguez #48 (24, 6'2" 239 lbs)
Matt Forte is a strong running back, which is what places the Bears ahead of the Packers.  Forte's best season to date was actually his rookie year, where he had 1238 yards rushing, 63 receptions, and 12 total touchdowns (all career highs).  Ron Turner was the offensive coordinator that season and operated a west coast offense with Orton, then they traded for Cutler (not a west coast qb), and Turner was out the next year.  Obviously he hasn't thrived the past 3 years under the Mike Martz era.  It's tough to throw it deep when you have no one to throw to, except for Marshall last season.  Matt Forte is the cream of the crop here.  Bush is not exactly a NFL caliber starter.  He probably should be more of a goal line back, but he was only able to score five touchdowns last year.  Who knows exactly how Forte will be used under the new coaching staff this season

2.  Detroit Lions
  1. Reggie Bush #21 (28, 6'0" 203 lbs)
  2. Mikel Leshoure #25 (23, 6'0" 227 lbs)
  3. Joique Bell #35 (26, 5'11" 220 lbs)
  4. Theo Riddick #41 (22, 5'10" 201 lbs)
  5. Steven Miller #40 (22, 5'7" 172 lbs)
  1. Montell Owens #34 (29, 5'10" 225 lbs)
Some people will probably think that I'm crazy for putting the Lions ahead of the Bears at the running back position.  Bush was able to survive the past two seasons getting over 250 touches each season, which solves the durability question that I at least had about him when he was on the Saints.  Leshoure & Bell both almost totaled over 1000 yards each last season from scrimmage.  Montell Owens is a strong fullback that has spent many years on the Jaguars.  They just brought him in and I think that it will be a major improvement and probably a stronger focus on the rushing attack this season.

1.  Minnesota Vikings
  1. Adrian Peterson #28 (28, 6'1" 217 lbs)
  2. Toby Gerhart #32 (26, 6'0" 231 lbs)
  3. Matt Asiata #48 (25, 5'11" 229 lbs)
  4. Joe Banyard #23 (24, 5'11" 205 lbs)
  5. Jerodis Williams #43 (5'11" 185 lbs)
  1. Jerome Felton #42 (26, 6'0" 246 lbs)
  2. Zach Line #48 (23, 6'1" 230 lbs)
Tough to pick against the guy who has over 1200 yards each season (except 2011 when he tore his ACL), and 10 touchdowns each year.  One of my most frustrating NFL draft moments was the 2007 NFL draft.  I had read that if Adrian Peterson had fallen to the seventh pick in the draft (Oakland), that the Packers were going to trade up (probably where I should have known it wasn't true) and draft him before the Vikings could.  Peterson has consistently been one of the league's best running backs since he entered the league.  This would explain why the Vikings are listed as the top group of running backs in the division.  Gerhart isn't a bad backup, but there probably could be better ones, it's just tough to know how good he is since he doesn't play often in their offense.

So that concludes the running back study.  Let's check the updated overall points standings.

1.  Detroit Lions-6
2.  Green Bay Packers-5
2.  Minnesota Vikings-5
4.  Chicago Bears-4

Next one up is going to be the Wide Receivers of the NFC North, so keep your eyes peeled for it.  

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