Packers' Draft Haul Emphasized Running Backs

It won't be for lack of trying on Ted Thompson's part if the Packers aren't improved in the running game. 

Heading into the 2017 NFL Draft, the Packers were strikingly thin at the running back position, with Ty Montgomery, Christine Michael and Don Jackson the only names on the running back list.

Ted Thompson brought in three new running backs Saturday from rounds 4-7 to infuse a fresh feeling of competition in the running back group. 

Perhaps the Packers bore in mind that it’s likely not all three will pan out in the long run, but one or (hopefully) two of them might. So, insurance in numbers.

Both Aaron Jones and Devante Mays missed significant time or were hampered in 2016 by injury, and the same is true of Jamaal Williams’ 2015 season. However, the words “underrated” and “sleeper” were seen in multiple places I was reading about them. So, of course, the Packers are hoping they got a diamond in the rough to help at running back.

Let’s look again at the three new running backs.

Jamaal Williams was very productive last season, gaining 1,375 yards rushing (5.9 per carry) and 12 touchdowns. Watching his highlights, he is shifty and elusive in traffic for a bigger guy. He’s not a breakaway runner necessarily but his longest run was 62 yards last season. He ran a respectable 4.59 40 yard dash. 

He has some ability to catch the ball out of the backfield but based on the numbers it seems inconsistent. His freshman year he had 27 catches for 315 yards. Last season, he had just seven catches for 80 yards and eight for 47 in 2014. 

Williams is a powerful player who can break tackles. For an example, go to 4:13 in this video. According to Packers draft personnel, he is "tough and durable" which should help him "in the elements." I like the sound of that. 

Aaron Jones brings a strong pass-catching ability to the Packers' backfield. In 2014, he had 30 receptions for 293 yards. See 1:48 of this video for a good example. 

From what I've seen, and feel free to post footage or highlights you've found, Jones can play bigger than he is at times but doesn't have the tackle-breaking ability of Williams or Mays.

Another positive on Jones is that he spent some time on kickoff return duty in college, so that's just one more asset he brings.  

Devante Mays is a very intriguing player to me. I had a high school coach who used to say that football isn't a contact sport, it's a collision sport (Or maybe that's a common phrase, either way, that's where I heard it). Mays' highlights reminded me of that phrase. He is a big back at 5'11" and 230 pounds, and he is powerful. Most of his runs, and particularly 2:30 in this video show some of his powerful tackle breaking ability. Mays was derailed by an ankle injury last season which the Packers hope is in the past, but the potential is there and that is as much as you can expect from a seventh round draft pick. 

Packers.com put up a nice summary video of these guys as well. 

What do you think of the Packers' choices at running back? How about the decision to wait until later in the draft to focus on it?

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, and Go Pack Go. 

0 points

Comments (53)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Handsback's picture

April 30, 2017 at 01:21 pm

A friend sent some film clips of Mays, he was that excited about the pick. The kid looks like Lacy but has a few moves.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
OrganLeroy's picture

April 30, 2017 at 01:31 pm

And his 40 time is in the 4.4's.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
dobber's picture

April 30, 2017 at 02:05 pm

Now...if they can keep his weight under 260 lbs...

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Lphill's picture

April 30, 2017 at 01:47 pm

We are going to wind up with a better running game to go with maybe the best passing game in the NFL , if the defense improved and it should , we may be in for something special, J . Williams is the real deal.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
NickPerry's picture

April 30, 2017 at 02:02 pm

The Williams and Jones picks have grown on me a bit. I think Ted accomplished what he wanted, he got more guys at the RB position.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
dobber's picture

April 30, 2017 at 02:07 pm

I like these two...Jones better than Williams, personally. The way I look at it, those 7th round guys are just the priority-FAs that you don't want to compete for once the draft ends. They must've liked what they saw out of Mays. Whatever the case, MM likes to split carries between his backs and 20 is a high carry total for a RB. It's likely that we're going to see significant carries going to a rookie this season.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Tundraboy's picture

April 30, 2017 at 07:14 pm

"The way I look at it, those 7th round guys are just the priority-FAs that you don't want to compete for once the draft ends."

Brilliant point.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
PatrickGB's picture

April 30, 2017 at 02:05 pm

I liked Mays. I think he was flagged for '"excessive force" when he ran too hard at defenders. I like that. But he also has some evasive moves in him when needed.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
dobber's picture

April 30, 2017 at 02:10 pm

On a separate note...many speculated on Hundley.

profootballrumors.com/2017/04/packers-nearly-traded-qb-brett-hundley-during-draft

Hard to say what they would've gotten for him at this stage, but if it was on day 2, they must've been looking at trying to wrangle a 2 or 3.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
worztik's picture

April 30, 2017 at 02:24 pm

Can anyone tell me why we're bringing in a 27 y/o QB as a free agent???

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
dobber's picture

April 30, 2017 at 02:27 pm

Camp arm.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
worztik's picture

April 30, 2017 at 02:31 pm

Thanks Dobber... that's what I kinda knew but, it's still a bit confusing! Why not use the spot for a player that could be a potential keeper? 27 is not an age to start a career in the NFL!!!

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
HankScorpio's picture

April 30, 2017 at 02:38 pm

It was for Kurt Warner. He turned out ok.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
worztik's picture

April 30, 2017 at 04:00 pm

True... true... can you say BIG exception to the rule?

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Zack Mcdonald's picture

April 30, 2017 at 05:08 pm

Disclaimer: Best guess as an arm chair GM...

I think you're putting too much stock into age. Most QB's fizzle out in the pros and I don't think it's quite as tied to age as you're implying.

We're looking for a replacement for hundley as bu QB. IMO we would have traded him this year for a mid round pick if we had another viable bu. Late round pick who we could possibly make our bu for the next few years and have trade bait for a desperate team with a losing record? Amazing asset if it pans out. Look what Chicago gave up for a subpar- average college prospect to move up one spot in the draft. If hundley can convince a team that he is their future he will pay huge dividends. Personally I would rather chance it on Aaron Rodgers bu who spent 3-4 years learning the game from the best in the business than a green rookie straight out of college with 0 pro exp and as many red flags. We could get a WHOLE lot for hundley next year I hope he has an amazing preseason!

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
HankScorpio's picture

April 30, 2017 at 06:22 pm

There are no rules. There are only opinions of GMs/scouts on players. Sometimes those opinions are correct and sometimes not. Teams that follow rules are teams that miss opportunities.

Someone in the Packers scouting dept saw something to warrant choosing him over the 100s of other possible 4th QBs. I can think of a lot of things to worry about with the Packers before I worry about what went into that choice.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Otto's picture

April 30, 2017 at 10:23 pm

Roger Staubach. He turned out ok.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
HankScorpio's picture

April 30, 2017 at 02:35 pm

I wanted to go into camp with a pathway to a final 53 that doesn't include Christine Michael. That was accomplished yesterday. So that's a good thing in my book.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
hodge555's picture

May 01, 2017 at 02:11 pm

Both C-Mike and Don Jackson have been cut today, so your wish has come true already.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
HankScorpio's picture

May 01, 2017 at 03:54 pm

I heard that on the radio this afternoon. That is good news indeed. They didn't have much option in the middle of last year. But he sure looked like the kind of guy you find on the street in the middle of the year to me.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
MITM's picture

April 30, 2017 at 02:37 pm

The king pick was a no brainer after the trade back. The Josh Jones pick really caught me off guard initially.I said in a comment on another article that Burnetts upcoming FA aside, the only sense I could make of the pick was that he was going to see time at ILB ala Bucannon/Cravens. I was a huge Cravens fan last year and was hoping we'd draft him. 3rd round I am very high on Adams and was surprised he lasted as long as he did. I dont get why some people arent as high on him. 4Th round played out like a dream with Biegel/Williams. Jones and Yancey i am also completely on board with. Dupree could be the steal of the draft in the 7th. In between there I really would have liked to see some more defense. This was such a deep draft for all LB spots, wanted to see at least 1 more, and I am confused as to why we didnt take one. I would have been fine with Williams and Jones being the only 2 rb additions. And I like Yancey and Dupree but I could have lived with one of them being another defensive pick, same goes for the 3rd RB we drafted. Still VERY excited about the combination of rookies and veteran FAs we added.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
marpag1's picture

April 30, 2017 at 04:11 pm

I completely agree with you on Dupre. I was stunned and pleasantly surprised that the Packers got him at the very end of the draft. He probably won't be the best player they got, but he'll be a tremendous value, IMO.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
ThxJackVainisi's picture

April 30, 2017 at 04:42 pm

Regarding why some are negative on Adams. The first scout quoted in jsonline's "What scouts say" is quoted as saying, "… Never going to be a dependable, consistent player because of lack of instincts and the stiffness. Interesting because of size, quickness, ability. He is stiff. I don’t think he’s very instinctive. He doesn’t see the ball. Poor block awareness." Here's a link to the story:
http://www.packersnews.com/story/sports/nfl/packers/2017/04/29/montraviu...

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
packrulz's picture

May 01, 2017 at 10:11 am

You have to remember these quotes are from before the draft. A scout isn't going to talk up a player they may be interested in drafting themselves. Also, every year these scouts remark how a player is lazy and "takes plays off", when the guy has been on the field the whole game and is tired.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Spock's picture

April 30, 2017 at 02:55 pm

Okay, now I'm completely frightened: the draft gurus gave the Packers an A+!!! Ha, that has never happened that I can remember! Love the draft and looking forward to seeing our Packer's team this year! http://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nfl/2017-nfl-draft-final-grades-how-did-...

LOL!

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
al bundy's picture

April 30, 2017 at 03:03 pm

Hey mental Mike, how about we see how these guys fair out before you make monty king. He aint that good.
Just like your screwy idea that mathews will be you prime pass rusher. Hell he was much better in the middle but your stuborn my way or the highway crap is another bad decision on your part.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
4thand1's picture

April 30, 2017 at 03:38 pm

I'll bet they watched film to see if these guys could block.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
RCPackerFan's picture

April 30, 2017 at 05:32 pm

I really like the 3 RBs they came away with. I think they each offer something different. Williams being the most complete he will likely get the most playing time early. Also he will really compliment Montgomery.
Jones I think will be a guy that gets more time as the season goes on. He could be a really good receiving type of RB. A really good weapon out of the backfield in the passing game.
Mays is really intriguing. He could be a real steal. His size to speed ratio is great. He runs with real power and could be a great power back that we need.

I can't wait until preseason to see these guys play in games.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Thegreatreynoldo's picture

May 02, 2017 at 02:03 am

I do wonder though if MM is the right coach to utilize 3 RBs with different skillsets. If we are not going to substitute by down and distance but rather by series, not sure how often the situation will match the skillset that happens to be on the field.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Packer_Fan's picture

April 30, 2017 at 06:02 pm

I think the first two picks were planned, or it not planned, considered if the players were available. But the third is increasing chances that one of the three will stick. Jones as a change of pace to Williams makes sense. But Mays is just insurance. I rather doubt all three will make the team. Just like the two wide receivers. Somebody won't make the team.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
hodge555's picture

May 01, 2017 at 02:16 pm

With GB cutting C-Mike and Don Jackson today I think that all 3 will have a very good chance of making the team.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Since'61's picture

April 30, 2017 at 08:50 pm

I think what the Packers have done this off-season with their FAs and the draft is add versatility to their position groups, especially at RB with the 3 draft picks. Monty is already a versatile back but add the 3 draft picks and the Packers can attack a defense with speed, power and/or receiving out of their backfield and hopefully provide some blocking support for AR. In Free agency TT added versatility to the TE position group by signing two TEs with complimentary strengths. The same has been accomplished with the FA signing of House and the 2 drafted DBs. The WR picks can become viable boundary options if they work out allowing Jordy to play out of the slot. In this era of the NFL you attack defenses with offensive concepts. The more versatility that your skill players possess enables a no huddle offense to keep moving the ball without changing personnel during the drive. Different personnel packages enable different concepts but not necessarily concepts exclusive to each package. The converse is true for the defense. You need players who are versatile enough to stay on the field against your opponents no huddle offense and yet be able to stop the run and the pass. With Burnett, Dix, and now the two DB draft picks the Packers secondary can support the run defense and hopefully now have enough speed to defend the passing game. Versatility will be a key to success going forward in the NFL. IMO, the Packers have taken a big step in that direction during this offseason, especially at the RB, TE, WR and DB position groups. Thanks, Since '61

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
PackEyedOptimist's picture

April 30, 2017 at 06:56 pm

I can't believe that the Packers drafted my favorite player coming into this draft: Jamaal Williams. My second-favorite was Obi Melifonwu, and though they passed on him, they picked up Josh Jones who is the closest thing to Obi. I'm pretty darn happy!

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
MarkinMadison's picture

April 30, 2017 at 07:27 pm

Cut downs at RB will be interesting. Health will probably knock someone out. All in all though, if I'm Christine Michael, I'm worried.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Otto's picture

April 30, 2017 at 10:37 pm

The way this team goes through running backs, all three of those guys will be living in Green Bay next fall. I don't know who will be on the 53 or practice squad, but they'll be here. My guess is, they will all get a shot to play next year, too.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
WinUSA's picture

May 01, 2017 at 03:56 am

Of the 3 Mays video impressed me the most. He has it all. Speed, elusiveness, and an can read his blockers. Psyched for this season. Personally I think this will be a supreme draft for Thompson... A all the way. Go Pack!

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
croatpackfan's picture

May 01, 2017 at 05:58 am

I agree. He is the fastest of all drafted RB. I think he fall in draft that low because of his last season knee injury. He did not needed surgery, so it is good info...
To be honest there is lot of guys which looks as real deal in college that never become valuable NFL player. So, we will know at the and of TC who is capable of what...
Good choice of RBs...

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
tm_inter's picture

May 01, 2017 at 08:12 am

If Mays can overcome the knee and ankle injuries he suffered in his senior year, he might outperform both Williams and Jones. I'm really excited about the Packers' new running backs.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
zekester's picture

May 01, 2017 at 05:28 am

Is Ron Wolf back running this team from behind a curtain like the Wizard of Oz because this years free agency and draft make way to much sense compared with the usual Teddy Bear approach to things...Depth and competition have been improved dramatically at most levels of this team giving Packers fans real optimism instead of just hope for the 2017 season!

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
croatpackfan's picture

May 01, 2017 at 06:01 am

Yeah, sure. And he is doing that for free, just from pure love... Ridiculous & hilarious at the same time...

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
sheppercheeser's picture

May 01, 2017 at 06:03 am

Was a little surprised when GB drafted the 2nd running back (we already have one good one with two backups), but a little ticked when they drafted a 3rd, when we shoulda been after an edge rusher.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
dobber's picture

May 01, 2017 at 07:26 am

Realistically, what are you going to get from a 7th round edge rusher?

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
ironman3169's picture

May 01, 2017 at 08:44 am

Well, Sam Shields was an undrafted, right? He became a near shut-down corner. (I consider shut-down to be Revis or Sherman types). Maybe you find something in the seventh. Heck, maybe you find a complete bust in the first. Point is, until the drafted compete in the NFL, nobody knows what they have.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
dobber's picture

May 01, 2017 at 10:25 am

Very true...you can hope, but to expect that the 7th round pick is going to turn into James Harrison or Julius Peppers is asking a lot. I realize the irony in my comment when I was pulling for Price or Odenigbo to make it to the Packers at the end of round 7... ;)

I always used to laugh at the draft coverage when they would talk up 7th rounders and how team X picked a guy and how he immediately would do this or that...when in reality you knew that it was far more likely that the player would struggle to hold a spot on the bottom of the roster for more than a couple years.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
HankScorpio's picture

May 01, 2017 at 04:10 pm

Montgomery looked ok after converting from WR but he's hardly a workhorse back. Plus, he's been dinged up a lot so far in his career. The two backups were cut today before the rooks even attended an orientation camp....which tells you all you need to know about them.

I'd love for the Packers to add more pass rushers, even if they only amount to camp bodies. You can't hit the lottery if you don't have a ticket. And I don't place much value in the RB position in today's NFL. But I have zero issues with 3 RBs drafted on day 3 of this draft, given what we saw last year and the roster makeup going into the draft.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
WinUSA's picture

May 01, 2017 at 10:25 am

Now...I know that it won't happen...but wouldn't it be sweet if we picked up Sherman?????? Go Pack

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Dzehren's picture

May 01, 2017 at 11:01 pm

Would rather have King then Sherman

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
dobber's picture

May 01, 2017 at 11:41 am

Packers released Don Jackson today.

No surprise...gives him a chance to catch on somewhere else, maybe.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Dzehren's picture

May 01, 2017 at 12:40 pm

Michal and Jackson cut. Monty also will play some WR sets.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
dobber's picture

May 01, 2017 at 12:45 pm

Not wasting any time, are they?

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Dzehren's picture

May 01, 2017 at 12:48 pm

I called it on Saturday they would be cut. I'm gonna lay off Monty Position upgraded

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
dobber's picture

May 01, 2017 at 02:57 pm

I had figured that Michael would make it into, if not most of the way through, camp. RBs take too much punishment to be too confident that all the guys they have will make it to September uninjured.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Dzehren's picture

May 01, 2017 at 08:28 pm

At the moment RB Floyd Underwood, Arkansas-Pine Bluff signed as tryout. 2 of the 3 new big "3" Trifecta draft prospect RB's will make roster per TT's operandi modus.

Your right dobber- need 1 more UDFA $5K camp body W/ injury settlement LOL...

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0

Log in to comment and more!

Not a member yet? Join free.

If you have already commented on Cheesehead TV in the past, we've created an account for you. Just verify your email, set a password and you're golden.