Green and Bold: Don't Sleep on John Crockett

John Crockett brings a change of style and pace to the Packers roster.

John Crockett brings a change of style and pace to the Packers roster.

The Packers will undoubtedly be playing a numbers game with their 53-man roster; subtracting a player at one position means another position gets the depth it may need.

In terms of the running back position, it's a given that the team will keep at least halfbacks Eddie Lacy and James Starks and fullback Aaron Ripkowski on the final roster...but what about second-year player John Crockett?

Anyone who has followed me on Twitter since last offseason knows that I'm high on Crockett. I thought the team made a mistake in sending him to the practice squad at the end of the 2015 offseason, and was excited when it promoted him to the active roster in December 2015. 

Now, Crockett played just 16 snaps in his rookie season. He hasn't produced much in the way of NFL film that lends itself to gushing. But he has all the tools to become a solid No. 2 running back for the Packers in the near future, and in his sophomore season, he will have the opportunity to prove that.

Back in the NFL combine, Crockett was a top performer among running back prospects in his draft class the vertical jump (40 inches) and the broad jump (125 inches) and ran a 4.62-second 40-yard dash.

At North Dakota State, he had three consecutive seasons of 1,000-plus rushing yards, setting school records his senior year for all-purpose yards (2,419), rushing yards (1,994) and rushing attempts (368).

Though he would land squarely at the No. 3 running back position on the depth chart if he makes the final roster this summer, Crockett doesn't offer more of the same as Lacy and Starks. His running style is different than the power-run style that both Lacy and Starks exhibit, making him a good change of pace on third downs. He's got a nice closing burst and can break away from defenders down the field. 

Crockett will also try to make an impact on special teams to earn his roster spot. He didn't do much in the way of coverage at North Dakota State, and returned only a handful of kicks during his college career. Proving he can bring something to the table if he does get on the field will be important as he competes for a potential third halfback spot. 

"You come back your second year and you want to contribute," Crockett said in June, per Michael Cohen of the Journal Sentinel. "You want to contribute when you're younger, but I think you've got to be realistic and understand you're not ready yet. Now, you're a little bit smarter and can stay in the scheme and just go out there and play freely. It is Year 2 and I feel like I should be ready to help this team."

Crockett made an impression on his team and coaching staff when he came into a game featuring lackluster running following the team's waiving Alonzo Harris and rushed five times for 22 yards in the second half. While those numbers aren't going to sway the outcome of a game, his energy was infectious. Mike McCarthy remarked at the time that Crockett gave the the team a spark, and depending on how Lacy looks following his physical transformation, the Packers may need Crockett on deck to do that again in 2016. 

Another skill Crockett offers to improve his chance at making the roster is his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. Sure, Starks does that well, but with a career-high five fumbles in 2015, Starks has to prove he can protect the football.

In the meantime, there's always Crockett, who has been ready and waiting for his chance. 

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Comments (22)

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

June 29, 2016 at 06:27 am

"sending him to the practice squad at the end of the 2015 offseason...." I think you mean at the end of the preseason, or after the last preseason game.

I always forget Crockett's combine stats. They are much better than what I see on the field. Yes, the 40" vertical, but also the 1.54 ten yard dash and the 125" broad jump are also very good for a guy that weighs 217 lbs.

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mnbruton's picture

June 29, 2016 at 12:24 pm

Maybe it's imprecise, but in my mind anything before Week 1 kickoff is "offseason."

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dobber's picture

June 29, 2016 at 08:09 am

Here are 3 RBs... which one would you pick...

RB#1
5-9, 217 lb
4.6 40 time
4.11 short shuttle
6.91 3-cone
Didn't bench

RB#2
6-1, 226 lb
4.7 40 time
4.53 short shuttle
7.09 3-cone
1.62 10-yard split
23 reps on the bench

RB#3
6-0, 217 lb
4.6 40 time
4.25 short shuttle
7.15 3-cone
16 reps on the bench

You likely know which one is Crockett, but one is Frank Gore and one is Arian Foster (who also went undrafted). Not saying Crockett is a Gore or a Foster, but numbers don't tell the whole story.

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John Galt III's picture

June 29, 2016 at 02:09 pm

Nice comparison - good work

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Amanofthenorth's picture

June 30, 2016 at 01:14 am

I'll take any of the three, but only after I have OL monsters. Moral is Rb's are really Diminishing in value

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Nick Perry's picture

June 30, 2016 at 05:26 am

Notice he never answers to someone with a rational response.

RB#4

4.60 40 time
4.24 short shuttle
6.75 3 cone
31 inch vertical
24 reps bench

http://www.nfldraftscout.com/ratings/dsprofile.php?pyid=105251&draftyear...

Le'Veon Bell

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croatpackfan's picture

June 29, 2016 at 06:35 am

Nice kid. Hope he will make that 2nd year jump everybody is talking about... Otherwise, he might be in problems...

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Handsback's picture

June 29, 2016 at 06:45 am

I see Crockett's running style similar to Smith from the Cowboys. It's a bold statement, but hes not fast as he is quick. He gets to that second level and is able to move and shake loose and get more yards. The problem I see is what is mentioned above by Michelle in that he has to impact the special teams. He won't be a returner, so his place will be determined by his desire to exceed on coverage and return teams.

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dobber's picture

June 29, 2016 at 08:23 am

"he won't have more than 150 TOTAL yards from scrimmage all year."

GOOD!

That means that Lacy/Starks are likely healthy and productive. Realistically, you don't want to have to rely on your third back, but there's going to be a third back in the mix, and I hope that third back has the potential to be a contributor when called on.

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RCPackerFan's picture

June 29, 2016 at 06:59 am

I can't remember the last time I saw someone come into a game and create as much energy as Crockett did in the Lions game last year.
He really seemed to wake up the sleeping offense in that game.

From what I have heard was Crockett didn't know his assignments which is why he didn't play as much down the stretch. With a new RB coach who has had success with young late round RB's, I wouldn't be surprised to see really big improvements from Crockett.

I am looking forward to watching Crockett this preseason.

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dobber's picture

June 29, 2016 at 08:47 am

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RCPackerFan's picture

June 29, 2016 at 02:34 pm

yeah, i don't remember that.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

June 29, 2016 at 09:44 am

@RC

DuJuan Harris

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RCPackerFan's picture

June 29, 2016 at 02:34 pm

I think that is a pretty fair comparison actually. Crockett is bigger, but have a similar running style. Very energetic. I think overall Crockett might have more skills but a good comparison.

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Ibleedgreenmore's picture

June 29, 2016 at 01:37 pm

I thought Montgomery did that last year, that kid will be special if he gets healthy.

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EdsLaces's picture

June 29, 2016 at 10:27 am

Dudes running style in 1 word....spastic. So much going on while he's running. Still kinda fun to watch though.

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Point Packer's picture

June 29, 2016 at 12:23 pm

"Davey, Davey Crocket! King of the wild frontier"

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lucky953's picture

June 29, 2016 at 12:54 pm

In a brief appearance, Crockett showed some ability to find holes and get through them (where big Ed struggled to get through the door before it closed). I think the concern with Crockett would be his consistency in understanding the nuances of the Packers offense. Like, can he reliably know where the pass rush pressure will be coming from and make the necessary block? There are lots of small adjustments needed to be successful: reading space through the QBs eyes, route release timing, variations in the rhythm of the OL depending on run call, etc. It's a BIG jump mentally from ND State, no matter the measurables. I think it will take two full seasons for this type of player to grasp the speed and complexity of the game at this level. We've seen the same thing with Janis.

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4thand1's picture

June 29, 2016 at 03:27 pm

It'll all come down to blocking. Ask Romo.

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Tundraboy's picture

June 29, 2016 at 06:38 pm

Big jump from ND is right. Based on limited playing time he most likely gets, just cant expect much. So unless he picks up all the nuances in practice.....

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marpag1's picture

June 29, 2016 at 03:23 pm

Didn't we hear something like this about the same time last year?

OK, I won't sleep on Crockett. But if anybody needs me, I'll be over here watching TV.

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al bundy's picture

June 29, 2016 at 04:36 pm

Stop! Its lacy left lacy right with ztarks comng in o ce in a while. Who was that other guy,,..........?

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