We’ve all seen the prognosticators and so-called draft experts predicting the Green Bay Packers will take a running back in the first round of the NFL Draft.
Some guys mentioned: Florida State’s Dalvin Cook, Oklahoma’s Joe Mixon and the latest we’ve heard, Tennessee’s Alvin Kamara.
All three of those guys are nice players, but I really see no way in hell the Packers make any one of them the selection in the first round.
There are three obvious reasons, which tells me the experts and prognosticators know nothing about the Green Bay Packers.
The Packers Don’t Value The Running Game
It’s pretty simple. The Packers are a passing team. No kidding, huh?
Even when they had a top-shelf running back, which they did when Eddie Lacy was in town and healthy, they didn’t run the football.
What did we say time and again? Hand the ball to Eddie Lacy more than 15 times, Lacy has a good game and the Packers’ offense is balanced.
Lacy played in five games in 2016. He carried more than 15 times twice and never more than 20 times, despite averaging a handsome 5.0 yards per carry.
Lacy played in 15 games in 2015. How many did he hit the 15 carry mark? Just five (and he topped 80 yards in each of them).
How about Ty Montgomery? He topped 15 carries just once (16) in 2016. Naturally, he ran for 162 yards in that game. Montgomery didn’t even reach 10 carries in any of the other games he played in.
The point here is, Mike McCarthy refuses to run the football. He refuses to commit to the run even when he has a runner capable of carrying the load.
So what is the point of drafting a running back in the first round when the coach is just going to let him sit around and collect dust?
You Can Find A Good Running Back Anywhere
Great running backs can be found anywhere.
Let’s look at the top five rookie rushers in 2016. Only one of them — Ezekiel Elliott — was a first-round pick.
The Chicago Bears’ Jordan Howard was second (among rookies and in the league) with 1,313 yards. He was an undrafted free agent. So were the third — Robert Kelley (Washington, 704 yards, 4.2 ypc) — and fifth guy — Jalen Richard (Oakland, 491 yards, 5.9 ypg) — on the list.
Fourth was the Denver Broncos’ Devontae Booker with 612 yards. He was a fourth-round pick.
How about the overall top 10 rushers in 2016? Here’s what round they were drafted in.
- Elliott (1)
- Howard (UDFA)
- DeMarco Murray (3)
- Jay Ajayi (5)
- Le’Veon Bell (2)
- LeSean McCoy (2)
- David Johnson (3)
- LeGarrette Blount (UDFA)
- Devonta Freeman (4)
- Lamar Miller (4)
You get the picture. Why spend your top pick on a running back when you don’t have to, and more importantly…
The Packers Have More Pressing Needs
Even if the Packers add zero running backs in the draft, their offense is going to be just fine. They rolled through the second half of the 2016 season with the same cast of characters they have at running back today — Ty Montgomery, Christine Michael and Don Jackson.
Would it be nice to have another running back? Sure, but it isn’t necessary.
The Packers have more pressing needs on the other side of the football, namely cornerback and outside linebacker.
The Packers were 31st in the NFL against the pass in 2016. They generated little pass rush, with the oft-injured Nick Perry the only player reaching double-digit sacks (11).
Cornerback and pass rush are areas that NEED to be replenished. Running back isn’t.
When your secondary and pass rush were as weak as the Packers’ was in 2016, you don’t spend your frickin’ first-round pick on a running back!
End. Of. Story.