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Packers pre-draft roster analysis: Running backs

Nov. 6, 2013
 
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Once again this April, Press-Gazette Packers beat writer Rob Demovsky will provide a pre-draft breakdown of the Packersí roster at each position heading into the April 26-28 NFL draft. Hereís the position schedule: Monday: Defensive line Tuesday: Linebackers Wednesday: Defensive backs Thursday: Offensive line Today: Running backs Saturday: Receivers Sunday: Tight ends Monday: Quarterbacks Tuesday: Special teams Running backs What they have: James Starks, Alex Green, Brandon Saine, John Kuhn (FB), Jon Hoese (FB). Position analysis: In parts of two seasons, James Starks has averaged 4.2 yards per carry, which probably is good enough for a team thatís as pass-heavy as the Packers. But availability, not performance, has been Starksí bigger issue. He has played in just 16 of a possibly 32 career regular-season games, though he did play in 13 last season. However, by seasonís end, he was hobbled by a bum ankle. He missed three of the last four games because of the injury and was a nonfactor in at least three others late in the year. With some rest, he rushed six times for 43 yards (a 7.2-yard average) in the playoff loss to the Giants. Undrafted rookie Brandon Saine (18 carries, 69 yards) showed some power and elusiveness plus has decent skills as a receiver. He was elevated to the roster after Alex Green tore his ACL in October. Green has all the makings of a third-down back but he faces a long road back. John Kuhn can fill in at halfback in a pinch but is really just a short-yardage back and special teams stud. Jon Hoese was out of football most of the season until he came back to the practice squad in December. The future: It looks like Ryan Grantís days with the Packers are over. Coach Mike McCarthy liked having two running backs share the load, so expect the Packers to address this position in the middle rounds. It would seem unlikely for general manager Ted Thompson to take a running back in the first round, although Sports Illustratedís Peter King suggested it would be a good idea for them to take Boise State running back Doug Martin in his mock draft.  

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