Running back DuJuan Harris was the forgotten man on the Green Bay Packers this season. He spent the entire season on injured reserve with a knee injury, after finishing strong down the stretch in 2012.
That late-season production got Harris anointed the No. 1 back by coach Mike McCarthy coming into training camp, even though the Packers selected Eddie Lacy in the second round and Johnathan Franklin in the fourth.
McCarthy spoke of the one-two punch he expected Harris and Lacy to form. Of course, we never got a glimpse of that and Lacy went on to have a Pro Bowl season.
There’s really no reason to take Lacy out of the lineup going forward, unless he’s injured. However, the Packers did spell him with James Starks during the 2013 season.
Starks responded with his best season as a pro, rushing for 493 yards and averaging 5.5 per carry.
Now Starks is an unrestricted free agent. Although he proved to be a valuable cog in the machine, everything points to him moving on.
The Packers have plenty of depth at running back with Harris returning, so they don’t have a need for Starks. They also have 19 other free agents to figure out.
Starks is likely to get a decent offer from another team. He might even get a shot to start elsewhere, which we know he would prefer.
The only way we see the Packers making Starks a priority is if Harris’ knee doesn’t check out. With a year off, it should.
That puts Harris in line to be next year’s version of Starks — the guy who comes off the bench to spell Lacy and pound the defense.
And let’s be honest, a tandem of Lacy and Harris is going to batter opposing defenses. They both love contact.
I’m having visions of the Christian Okoye and Barry Word tandem.