The Green Bay Packers have a clear-cut starting running back in Ryan Grant and they have several more pressing needs to fill, but word is, the team may consider picking a running back high in this year’s NFL draft.
Dan Arkush says the main reason is one we discussed previously – the lack of any viable option behind Grant.
We hear there are a couple of reasons the Packers might seriously explore the RB route. The most obvious one is that, aside from featured back Ryan Grant, who ended up having a very solid 2009 season (finishing third in the NFC with a career-high 1,253 rushing yards), the team’s RB situation is currently mediocre at best. Primary backup Brandon Jackson really can’t do anything well except pass-block, and unrestricted free agent Ahman Green, who is currently third on the depth chart, is clearly on his last legs.
Beyond that, Grant’s contract status could also factor into the decision.
… another compelling reason the team could make the backfield one of its bigger priorities is the contract status of Grant, who could pocket as much as $9 million with escalators included in 2011 if he matches his ’09 rushing total next season. As solid as Grant appears to be at the moment, the consensus seems to be that a figure that hefty could be pretty hard for the Packers to stomach two seasons from now short of a contract extension or pay cut.
It would be tough to see the Packers choosing a running back in the first round with the needs at tackle, outside linebacker and cornerback, but the team seems to be keen on Mississippi’s Dexter McCluster, who is similar to San Diego’s Darren Sproles and is likely to be around in the second round. Clemson’s C.J. Spiller may also be tempting if he drops into the late first or even the second round.
As we’ve noted, the Packers could certainly use a dynamic runner behind Grant who can offer a change of pace and catch the ball out of the backfield.