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Packers trade up in 4th round for UCLA's Franklin

Apr. 27, 2013
 

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UCLA running back Johnathan Franklin, left, carries the ball against Oregon State on Sept. 22, 2012, in Pasadena, Calif. File/Getty Images

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The Green Bay Packers’ backfield has officially been renovated.

A day after drafting Alabama’s Eddie Lacy in the second round, the Packers traded back into the fourth round to take UCLA running back Johnathan Franklin with the 125th pick.

The Packers sent fifth- (No. 146) and sixth-round (173) to Denver to move back into the fourth round after taking offensive linemen David Bakhtiari and J.C. Tretter.

Franklin started 45 of 53 games for the Bruins with 788 carries for 4,403 yards (5.6 average) and 31 touchdowns. Franklin’s 4,403 yards rank fifth in conference annals. He set a school record with the 788 carries, along with a single-season record for rushing yards (1,734) as a senior.

He’s the eighth Bruin to record more than one 1,000-yard rushing campaign and his 4,936 all-purpose yards surpassed Maurice Jones-Drew’s previous mark of 4,688.

The Packers cut running back Brandon Saine this past week, but now have five currently on the roster, joining DuJuan Harris, James Starks and Alex Green.

Johnathan Franklin at a glance

Position: Running back

School: UCLA

Height, weight: 5-foot-10, 205 pounds

Highlights: Is considered by many the second-best running back in the draft behind Packers second-round pick Eddie Lacy. Franklin set school records with 4,403 rushing yards in 53 games at UCLA, while rushing for 1734 yards last season. Was a Doak Walker Award finalist for the nation’s best running back and was named to the all-Pac 12 Conference second team. Ran a 4.40 40-yard dash while benching 225 pounds 17 times. Has reliable hands out of the back field catching 33 passes for 323 yards as a senior.

Strengths: Exceptional competitor. Very good balance, body control and vision – is extremely patient and finds small creases to squirt through. Sees the cutback. Good feet. Natural receiving skills – very reliable catcher. Willing gritty blocker – sits to anchor in pass protection and throw his weight around. Outstanding football intelligence. Is highly motivated and driven to succeed. Exceptional football and personal character.

Weaknesses: Undersized and has limited inside run power or strength to push the pile. Lacks top-end, breakaway speed and elite stop-start acceleration and short-area bursts. Not built to carry a heavy workload. Shows stiffness in his body and is not a graceful route runner.

Noteworthy: A native of Los Angeles, Franklin does have some carries under his belt, starting 45 career games while carrying the ball 788 times. Ranked fourth in the Pac-12 with 147.29 all-purpose yards per game last season…Off the field Franklin is considered a high character and intelligent individual.

Quote: "Man, I'm just blessed to be picked. I'm blessed to be drafted. There's so many people out there who would just dream of being in my shoes. I've dreamed of being drafted, I am happy that I did get picked and I am happy to be a part of a great organization."

Johnathan Franklin highlight reel from Fox Sports

Strengths and weaknesses according to Pro Football Weekly.

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