Packers Shore Up Offense with Drafted, Undrafted Running Backs

The Green Bay Packers’ prolific offense has long thrived on the big arm and elusiveness of Aaron Rodgers. However, with two fourth-round picks in the draft this year, the Pack looked to finally solve one of their biggest weaknesses that has haunted them since the departure of Ahman Green: a lack of running back talent. They drafted both Eddie Lacy out of Alabama and Johnathan Franklin from UCLA.

“Two different types of backs,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “Obviously Lacy is a bigger back. Frankly, I thought Franklin handled the ball on the punt and the kickoff, too. I was excited about that, too, so he seems very natural. But once again, they’re young players, they’re drafted players. We look for them to definitely help us and contribute.”

The Packers also have undrafted running back Angelo Pease from Kansas State in the mix, and McCarthy likes him, too. What was once a position of weakness for the Packers has become something of an embarrassment of riches this summer.

“He jumped out early in the run. That’s a big-time cut,” McCarthy said of one of Pease’s runs in camp. Frankly, I thought it was Eddie Lacy, the way he dropped his weight and hit the hole. Those are things we’re looking for.”

“He’s here for a reason,” McCarthy continued. “So that’s a credit to the player and that’s a credit to our personnel department. You’re also practicing in helmets and shorts and that’s why you have to be practical about what you saw today. It really confirms movement ability, athletic ability. Are they systematic? Do they fit what you’re looking for? So that’s really what this weekend’s for. The real football doesn’t start until training camp and we all realize that.”

Both Lacy and Franklin could bring a thunder-and-lightning style approach the ground game this season, and for a team that’s already loaded on offense and favored to win the NFC North, that’s a scary thought indeed for the rest of the division.

“I think it brings a little more balance to the offense. It’s not like they have to rely on just the pass or the run — we have a combination of both. As far as me and the other running backs that were drafted, as well as the backs that were here, we should have a pretty good running game this season,” Lacy said.

“It’s great, and it’s competition that’s going to bring out the best in you. We’re definitely going to find out what kind of man we are, and what kind of athletes we are. I’m excited to compete with Eddie and get better with him and learn from Eddie as well. Everybody wants to be the best, but at the end of the day, the best person on the team is the team, and it’s all about the team. We’re here to make the Green Bay Packers better,” Franklin said.

The Packers sit at very early 6/1 favorites to win the Super Bowl, and while the addition of two of the most dynamic offensive weapons in college football will certainly help their chances, there’s still a long way to go till the season kicks off. Rosters aren’t finalized, but with the pedigree that Lacy and Franklin bring into camp, the future is bright for the backfield in Green Bay.

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