The Green Bay Packers, like every NFL team, are going to have some important decisions to make in the upcoming 2016 NFL Draft. One of the most important for the Packers will be what are they doing at running back?
Before the 2015 season, asking that question would have seemed silly. Eddie Lacy had the look of a franchise running back after back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons in 2013 and 2014. Yet, we all know what happened last year — Lacy got out of shape and failed to take a step forward.
That leaves us wondering, do you the Packers have their current long-term starting running back on the roster? And if not, will Ted Thompson address the position n the draft?
These are good questions. I don’t begin to think I have any idea what Thompson will actually do on draft day. I don’t think he probably sees running back as a big priority. James Starks is signed for two years and had nearly 1,000 yards from scrimmage last season. He also averaged more than four yards per carry, so the Packers can get by with Starks if Lacy continues to go in the wrong direction.
However, even if Lacy does bounce back this season, which I believe he will, he is set to be a free agent and a big season could mean a big-money contract that the Packers aren’t willing to pay. So an influx of young talent at the position wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.
John Crockett had a couple good moments last season and has some potential for the future, but an upgrade would still be helpful. Especially if that upgrade includes drafting someone like Notre Dame’s C.J. Prosise.
In some ways, Prosise reminds of Starks, in the fact that he has a similar build at 6-2, 220. Like Starks, Prosise is also explosive and runs a 4.48 in the forty-yard-dash. During his time with the Irish, Prosise proved to be an impact player.
As a junior, Prosise caught 29 passes for 516 yards and two touchdowns. That’s over 17 yards per reception and that’s skill the Packers backfield could definitely use. Then, last season, he showed the potential to be an every-down back as he rushed for over 1,000 yards and averaged 6.6 yards per carry. He also caught 29 passes for 308 yards and he scored 12 total touchdowns.
Right now, Prosise is being projected by many draft experts to go in the second or third round. That means the Packers would probably need to use their second-round pick in order to get him. That may be a little too rich for their blood, especially with some of the offensive lineman, defensive lineman and linebackers that could be available.
However, if Prosise somehow falls to into the third round, I think they would be wise to give him consideration. He’s a talented, explosive back that can catch the ball and is a proven special teams contributor. He could add value right away on special teams, while also providing short and long-term insurance for both Lacy and Starks.
Running back may not be an immediate need, but if things don’t work out with Lacy, it could become one sooner rather than later. Drafting Prosise would satisfy that need and give Mike McCarthy yet another weapon to utilize.