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Draftable RBs who fit the Green Bay mold

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Draftable RBs who fit the Green Bay mold

Packers fans clamoring for a free agency acquisition at running back may have to make due with a new rusher coming via the draft. 
Big names like Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles are still out there, but with legitimate questions their regarding price tag, age and durability – not to mention a fairly loaded draft class at running back – the more likely scenario is Ted Thompson and the Green Bay intelligentsia target a new set of legs come April 27-29 in Philadelphia. 
This post will attempt, as others before it, to get a sense of who Green Bay might be interested in.
In the interest of full disclosure, one of my favorite NFL draft writers out there is fellow Packer fan Justis Mosqueda. He's one of the very best in my opinion, and he's the one responsible for finding the exact metrics referenced below. (His pre-draft analysis last season had the Packers taking Kenny Clark in the first round. He knows his stuff.)
Mosqueda dug into the numbers to see the type of running backs Thompson has been interested in. The findings paint the following set of minimums: 
  • Height: 5-foot-10
  • Weight: 205 pounds
  • 40 time: 4.55 seconds
  • 3-cone: 7 seconds
Based on the available data, several backs nearly meet the criteria. Let’s take a look at them. 
Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey has the height (5’11”), 40 time (4.48) and a ridiculous 3-cone result (6.57), but he comes in light at just 202 pounds. His otherwise impressive combine also showed a lack of strength in the bench press (just nine reps), but he showcased other skills – like route-running ability exceeding most wide receivers. McCaffrey is a bonafide playmaker who could instantly help a pass-happy offense like Green Bay’s. Pairing him with former Stanford teammate Ty Montgomery would give the Packers some truly versatile set pieces to move around, flex out, and of course, take handoffs out of the backfield. Can McCaffrey hold up to an NFL pounding? And will he even be on the board at pick No. 29? Those are the biggest question marks. 
Alvin Kamara of Tennessee hasn’t participated in all of the requisite drills, and his 4.56 40-time would appear to be a touch slow, but he has good size (5-10, 215) and his burst and agility jump off the tape – leaning me to think his 3-cone would be well within Thompson’s standard. Kamara could be gone in the second round, though he’s good enough to merit a first-round pick. He has excellent lateral quickness and he’s a decisive runner. Most accounts say he needs to bulk up, and his pass-blocking leaves much to be desired, but he’s a monster in space and has excellent hands. 
Jeremy McNichols of Boise State meets all the prerequisites (215 pounds, 4.49 40-time, 6.93 3-cone) but he stands just 5-foot-9. That said, I don’t think size is an issue. He’s pretty solidly built, and he’s quite nifty with his feet. His vision is among his strengths – McNichols is great at finding a cutback lane. He’s also fantastic in the screen game and generally excels as pass-catcher. The jack-of-all-trades skill set is exactly what you’d like to see added when your goal is to build depth. McNichols could definitely improve in pass-pro. He’s another guy that isn’t expected to be gone before the 3rd or 4th round. 
Brian Hill of Wyoming has the size (6-1, 220) to run over defenders and the speed (4.54) to run away from them, making him an exciting prospect when aligned with Ty Montgomery, one of the NFL’s best after contact on a per-rush instance. He’s more of a traditional, early-down back and thusly makes sense as a potential fill-in for Eddie Lacy. His 3-cone time of 7.03 is right at Thompson’s traditional cut-off, but it’s worth mentioning that Thompson has taken guys before who didn’t his traditional mold (Eddie Lacy is a perfect example). Hill leaves plenty of room for improvement as a pass catcher, but he’s a solid pure runner and has impressive speed to match his most obvious trait: power. Most folks see Hill being selected anywhere from the 3rd to 5th round. 
Aaron Jones of UTEP is another “almost,” coming in at 5-9 like McNichols and a tad slow (4.56) like Kamara. He also barely makes weight at just 208 pounds, so questions as to why a smallish rusher doesn’t have better home run speed is legitimate. But on a per-snap basis, Aaron Jones was one of the most productive running backs in all of college football, and he did so on a crappy team. I’ve seen plenty of running back rankings where Jones doesn’t crack the top 20. It’s hard to believe in light of how productive he was. Jones last year rushed for 1,773 yards with 17 touchdowns, averaging 7.7 yards per carry, and added another 28 receptions for 233 yards and three TDs in the receiving game. That he’s physically so close to what the Packers typically covet, he seems like he’d be well worth a 5th or 6th round flier. 
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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (41) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

EdsLaces's picture

I like Hill . I like Mack from USF. I lover the dude from Michigan, and last but least Perine might be the best RB in the draft imo.

Ryan Graham's picture

Perine Hill or Gallman

OrganLeroy's picture

Gallman is a big time fumbler.

Doug Niemczynski's picture

I believe the time has come to give aaron rogers All the weapons he needs to dominate. The nfl.
1. RB.Christine mcaffery
2. Guard
3. RB Donta earl campbell
4., TE Jake Butt
5a. WR
5b. OT
6. Center
7. KR/PR

We have given dumb crappers ..all defense..Practically every year. And he dOes nothing with the talent. And every year..McCarthy hires him back..general george patton would say I don't want somebody good..I want somebody lucky..well dom capers is neither..I am sick of giving him anything else when it is Aaron Rodgers..who makes this team look good when they play bad...don't make the same mistake with Brett Favre..we c could have had Randy moss for a 4th round pick..we could have had Tony Gonzalez for a 2nd..and we could have had marshawn lynch from the bills for a 4th round pick...get Rogers the players he needs to be UNSTOPPABLE!!!

Handsback's picture

I'm sort-of stuck on Mixon. 1st round potential and maybe 3rd selection. If not him...I don't know.

dobber's picture

It's too bad. I think he's going to be a great back.

Instead, he'll end up in MInnesota where his issues are small potatoes and he'll punish the Packers for years.

canadapacker's picture

What Mixon did was a few years ago. I am pretty tired of what the NFL has allowed to happen to Ray Rice.

WKUPackFan's picture

"Mixon hit a woman in public" is oversimplifying the incident. Regardless, I don't think Mixon is off the Packers board. TT didn't bow to the moralist's blowback on Colt Lyerla. He wouldn't on Mixon either.

RCPackerFan's picture

I don't know how good the RB's are after the top 4 guys. But there are guys that i think will come in and be able to play roles in offenses.

Dare I think is a RB that plays faster then he times. He is a quicker type of RB. He catches the ball extremely well and can pass block really well too. IMO he will be a really good find later in the draft. He has only played the RB for a few seasons after transitioning from CB. I think the more experience he gets the better he will do.

dobber's picture

Loved what Ogunbowale did for the Badgers later in the season. I thought he really matured into that role and played with heart, while the enigmatic Corey Clement seemed to shuffle along (or be nicked up) at times. I think Ogunbowale's background will help him to earn a role with someone on ST while he has a chance to creep up the depth chart at RB.

I want no part of Clement in GB.

Colin_C's picture

I don't want to see a RB in the first few rounds unless Fournette falls into our lap or something. This year's class is deep, but I like next year's much more. Chubb, Freeman, Wadley, Scarborough and college footballs best RB (this year included) Saquon Barkley. Ted needs to find a way to draft him. I honestly think he'll be the next Barry Sander. Best RB prospect I've ever seen. I will be riding the Barkley hype train all the way until he's a top 5 pick. That said, I think we should look at someone in the mid to late rounds. Joe Williams would be nice. Guy has legit speed and shiftiness. Would be a nice duo with Monty if he adds a little more weight, plus throw in the Ripper. If we do go with a RB early though, Kamara is my guy.

akeemthedream's picture

I agree 100% on Barkley.
I can't believe how good he is.

This year I like Hill, Jones, Perine, Hunt, and Carson.

McCaffery would be fun.
Not 100% sure about the guy but can't say I wouldn't be excited if they drafted him.

Ferrari Driver's picture

Need that 1st pick for TJ or a corner, so our Stanford guy will be gone before we come up in the 2nd round.

We might also be wise to pick up an OL in the 2nd or 3rd. I forget the name of a guard who I really like, but he will likely go in the 1st, but he looks like he would be ready to line up and play from day one in the NFL.

May be looking in the mid rounds and while no jumps out, there are a group of guys who will be upgrades from Peterson or Charles who are on their last legs.

The TKstinator's picture

I think based on previous years it is very reasonable to expect a decent OL in middle rounds: Sitton, Bakh, Lang were all 4ths IIRC.
For a running back:
1. Ball security
2. Pass pro
3. Decisive runner
4. Don't suck

stockholder's picture

No to a OL in rd. 2 or 3. Plenty of good ones later. Watt should be taken, if McCafferey is not there. (If both are gone I'd take a safety!) I just believe the packers could get a good cb later. (Shields and Williams were not top picks)

dobber's picture

Neither Shields nor Williams were drafted at all.

stockholder's picture

Right. I keep forgetting about williams.(thought 5) Point was that the packers did pretty good for not drafting a CB at #1.

dobber's picture

I agree...but there's a trap in finding a couple street or UDFA guys who pan out and become major players. Maybe you start to believe that you're always going to find those guys...but for every Sam Shields or TWill, how much crap do you have to sort through to find them? I think TT has fallen into that trap.

William Dickson's picture

yeah not sure about McCaffrey everybody else is great but McCaffrey's wait why would you want him ,fast , can catch ,decent blocker, really good human being, would be a really good teammate yep not sure about McCaffrey people crack me up. yeah let's take Mixon, that's the ticket

UmpireMark's picture

Ogunbowale and Clement won't hear their names called in the draft. I would be satisfied if the Packers took either one as UDFA provided they've signed Michael by draft time (or OTA's).

On Wisconsin.

William Dickson's picture

oh that's right he's white

S.L.C.Cheesehead's picture

Wish they'd take a serious look at Joe Williams. 5-11, 205 lbs, with a 4.41--40. Dude's going to be one of the biggest steals in the Draft.

ebongreen's picture

The question with Williams: is he committed to balling now? Ted loves his draft picks, and he'll have to be very satisfied to spend one on a guy who walked out on his team, then came back.

stockholder's picture

I like mcCaffferey. If TT wants him at #29. Great value. After him, I would only draft two backs S. Perine and foreman. TT has just had bad luck with this position. But Monty needs help. Veterans can fumble just like rookies. Forth or later.

ebongreen's picture

I too am aboard the Aaron Jones train as a later pick. He fits a different mold than the Packers usual: namely the DuJuan Harris/Brandon Burks/Don Jackson mold of stubby small-school athletic HBs.

If there's a high pick, it'll be McCaffrey or no-one. His skills as a receiver set him apart and would make him an alternative to Montgomery if TM's injured, saving the offense from derailing into a pass-only zone. I've heard McNichols has fumbling issues and issues in pass blocking, and neither he nor Kamara will see the field if they're not ready to pass protect.

In the later rounds I too think Corey Clement might get a call. He redeemed himself somewhat at the Badger pro day, and he fits what the Packers want in terms of scheme and relative gifts as a runner. I think they'd take him over Hill from Wyoming, as they've got more-or-less got Hill already in John Crockett (if they bring him back, which is as likely as not).

slit's picture

I don't understand the height minimum. I actually think it's an advantage to be a bit shorter, if you understand how to use that to your advantage. Barry, Emmitt, MJD, Rice (before the boxing career) were all some of my favorite RBs. I believe all of em are under 5'10".

MarkinMadison's picture

Not sure how McCaffrey will look in pass pro at 202 with a 9 bench press. Not good I would assume.

I'm on the TJ Watt train. The Packers will be lucky to see him there at the end of round 1.

Nick Perry's picture

Ouch....202 and 9 Reps = getting your ass run over. With the needs on defense I can only hope a 202 pound RB isn't TT 1st pick. Thompsons history suggests he won't be.

I'm with you on Watt, I think that kid has only scratched the surface of the player he'll become. Sure wish we had Kevin Greene still. Winston Moss coaching him up doesn't fill me with confidence. My only concern on Watt is his injury history. He injured his right knee in 2014 and left in 2015 and had surgery. But LOOK at what he did in one season playing defense! He's GOING to get better.

MarkinMadison's picture

Combine web site has him at 10, but whatever. The only RB lower who tested was Pumphrey, who weighted in at 176 lbs. Numbers aren't everything, but when you see guys test like this you have to wonder how their game will translate to the pros, and you sure as heck can't trust them in pass pro for at least a year.

Nick Perry's picture

Totally agree, especially when he's your #1 pick. Most RB's who come out have to work on their pass pro but they have something to work with. How much stronger will he get without losing speed.

dobber's picture

Some people look at him and see a Jamaal Charles. I look at him and see a bigger and faster Dexter McCluster.

JacFrost's picture

I think McCaffrey would fit nicely in the Lions org, I know they are hot for Mixon and if available he is gone to them, They did a good job filling holes in FA so they can address run game and possibly another reciever to tighten up the offense.

Ted has his hands full filling O line and Pass D, then Pass rush so running backs will have to be late rounds and undrafteds. This is what happens when you dont get FA help.

Tugboat2's picture

I like Elijah McGuire from Lafayette. You can get him in like round 6 and he has good explosiveness and is at a good weight. No way TT would draft a running back in the first round.

croatpackfan's picture

I'm certain in only one thing: Ted Thompson will not pick Christian McCaffrey in the first round.
How I know that? It is because he never ever pick player who was predicted from certain draftnks as first rounder for Packers...

Nick Perry's picture

Nick Perry and Datone Jones were both popular picks for the Packers by "The Experts" before the 2012 & 13 drafts.

croatpackfan's picture

Well it is obvious when you have 250 "draftnik" and every and each of them trying to be unique, you can find 10 to 15 that made bingo. I'm talking of average prediction from draftnik. They are mentioning Christian McCaffrey because they are thinking of supposed Packers need for RB1. Packers have RB1. I'm sure that Ted Thompson will pick either OLB or CB, depending who is left on the board and have better value... In this speculation, it is very small chance that TT will pick DE, with idea to play him as DL and elephant.
My humble opinion, but I may be wrong as well.

Nick Perry's picture

I think you're right Croat, I think it's an OLB or a CB in the 1st. I've seen McCaffrey in some too as well as the Guard from WKU, Forrest Lamp. Lamp seems to be the popular choice by most of the guys at CBS Sports.

Do any of them pay attention to Ted T?

dobber's picture

"Do any of them pay attention to TT?"

Of course not. All they pay attention to is the number of clicks their junk generates.

I think Lamp will be overdrafted, anyway, at least for a guy who projects as an interior lineman at the next level. I think he's going ahead of #29...which means someone is going to fall to the Packers who we might not anticipate being there.

vj_ostrowski's picture

If you're talking specifically about the ESPN guys, Kiper & McShay had Kenny Clark to the Packers in a couple of their mocks. Same with Bulaga

If McCaffrey is the BPA (no comparable CB, EDGE or Big man there) then I can absolutely see him taking McCaffrey. After all, by Thompson analytics, he's one of the only RBs that fits TT's mold.

What "experts" say has nothing to do with it one way or another.

dobber's picture

You can correct me if I'm wrong, but many draftniks had Bulaga as a top-10 pick leading up to the draft. I thought it was last-minute concerns about his athleticism and whether he really could play LT that pushed him down boards. I thought it was a pretty solid pick where the Packers got him (#22 or so, right?).

WKUPackFan's picture

Shockingly, I'll suggest a Hilltopper as a UDFA possibility. Western Kentucky RB Ace Wales - 2016: 237 carries, 1621 yards, 6.8 ypc, 27 TDs. Career: 490 carries, 3337 yards, 6.8 ypc, 43 TDs.

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