The Green Bay Packers head into training camp with multiple running backs fighting for a roster spot. Starter Eddie Lacy and two other running backs are expected to make the team.
After years of struggles, running back has become a strong position for the Green Bay Packers. This is largely due to the emergence of Offensive Rookie of the Year Eddie Lacy, who rushed for 1,178 yards and 11 touchdowns.
The power back will enter his second season as the Packers’ starter. Head coach Mike McCarthy wants him to become a three-down back, but he will have quality depth behind him.
After emerging in the Packers’ 2010 playoff run, James Starks was an underwhelming full-time starter. However, he performed excellently as the No. 2 running back in 2013. Starks led the league in yards per carry with 5.54 and rushed for three touchdowns.
The third spot was assumed to belong to Johnathan Franklin, but he was forced to retire after enduring a serious neck injury. The former UCLA Bruin had shown potential as a rookie against the Cincinnati Bengals when he rushed for 103 yards.
DuJuan Harris, who sat out the 2013 season with a patellar tendon injury, is expected to be the third-string running back for the Packers. However, he may jump Starks and steal the No. 2 job.
He has starting experience that dates back to 2012. He started to receive playing time in December and became the starter. His potential shined in the playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers when he rushed for 53 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.
Undrafted free agents Rajion Neal, Ina Liaina and LaDarius Perkins will also compete for roster spots. Liaina offers a physical presence that could make him a solid fullback. Perkins and Neal are both speedy backs who could become diamonds in the rough.
At fullback, John Kuhn will return for his eighth season in Green Bay. He is a fan favorite because of his tireless work ethic, and he still has the ability to fight for first downs in short-yardage situations.
Since NFL teams can only carry 53 players, the Packers will likely keep three running backs. Lacy, Starks and Harris are expected to be these players. The undrafted rookies may earn practice squad spots if they cannot make the roster.