Tag Archives: Running back

Absurdly Premature, Non-First Round Draft Look: Dennis Johnson

Dennis Johnson | RB | Arkansas | 5’9 | 213

National Football Post

NFL Draft Scout

Summary: Usually I would have three links, but these are the only two that I trusted to put forth. Johnson is projected by NFP as a 3rd/4th round pick, and considering the Packers need for a RB I feel like he would offer good value in the mid-rounds. NFP says that his build reminds them a lot of Jones-Drew and Sproles. In fact if you click the link, they really praise him to the point where he would seem like an high pick yet is still considered mid round material. There isn’t any mention on what cons he possess as a prospect.

NFL Draft Scout has the game by game coverage of Johnson and is praising his game vs. Auburn. He took over the starting job from starter Knile Davis and has shined. They discuss the same positives as NFP, but go on to say he isn’t overly explosive.

Both links really praise his game, calling him a three down back who does a good job running with power while also showing good hands out of the backfield. It is interesting that with that praise he is still considered a mid round pick. If he continues to play well, he could climb as high as the second round. But regardless, he seems like a player who could produce in Green Bay’s system both out of the Shotgun and the I-Form/Stack Formations while also being great value in terms of draft position.

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Trade Talk: Who could the Packers pick up before Thursday?

The trade deadline in the NFL, as opposed to other leagues, has always been a non factor. The early date of the deadline and NFL’s focus on drafted players or free agency render it essentially another passing day on the calendar. However, with the deadline moved back this year there could be some more action before Thursday.

To be clear, I’m certainly not saying the Packers are going to make a trade. Signing the number of free agents that Thompson did over the past off season was ground breaking enough. A mid season trade would cause me to wonder if Thompson was ill or crazy. But just because its not in his nature to make sudden moves mid-season (see: M. Lynch) doesn’t mean I can’t fantasize.

That being said, I’m going to focus on the Running Back position because after the Rams and Jaguars it’s clear that’s an area of concern. Certainly the offensive line isn’t helping (I’m looking at you Saturday) but it is what it is.

So here are three big name backs rumored to be in trade talks:

1. Stephen Jackson | St. Louis Rams – NFL fans have are very aware of Jackson’s skill set. The man who was considered to be carrying that Rams offensive for years is still a big boy, standing 6’2 and weighing in at 240 pounds. He is a solid, bruising runner and has the ability to contribute in the passing game. The problem is he’s nearing 30 years old and has had a number of injuries in recent years. Not to mention the $3.7 million left on his contract, which the Packers are likely not looking to pay.

Verdict: Highly Unlikely – To much money, to much risk.

2. DeAngelo Williams | Carolina Panthers – Another high profile runner who has seen a downturn in value recently. Seemingly being phased out in Carolina, his running style and skill set could be of use to the Packers. The problem with Williams is again money related, as he has $2.7 million remaining on his salary.

Verdict: Highly Unlikely – Too much money, not to mention that the Panthers would have to pay $1.4 million if they traded him. That is a lot of money to pay for a player who they would no longer have.

3. LeGarrette Blount | Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Another bruiser who has fallen out of favor with his team, his bruising style is well-known to Packer fans after his huge run last season. The Bucs have the depth to move him and his inexperience/lack of production means he is inexpensive both contract and trade wise. He does have that incident in college to his name, but since entering the league has straightened up.

Verdict: Possible – Yes. Possible. Would likely cost a late round pick, doesn’t have a huge contract and can fill in until Benson returns. I’m just saying, it is vaguely, maybe, possibly possible.

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Losing the Safety Net: Why Benson’s injury may not be all bad for Green Bay

It’s never easy to see a key player get injured, but you have to feel a little extra for Benson. After 8 years and 3 teams, he’s been treated like a disposable camera through out his career. His past run ins with the law and the NFL haven’t helped his case, but he was continuously asked to carry the ball at an above average rate then let go as teams felt he was used up.

Let’s also not sugar coat what this means for the team. This is bad. Benson brought a balance and a tenacity, which I mentioned before, to a team that didn’t have that traditionally at running back. He may not have struck fear, but teams knew he was an established back who could run for power and grind you down as the game went on. But it may not be all bad.

Rodgers hasn’t exactly been himself this year. While his numbers aren’t terrible, it can’t be ignored that he hasn’t played at an MVP caliber like in the past. He’s been holding the ball too long, missing throws and that edge that drove him in past years is missing.

In those past years, Aaron Rodgers knew he was the guy. There was no running game to lean on and he was going to have to carry the load himself. Yet this year, it was clear that Benson could be a threat in the run game. Rodgers was still the man, but he was no longer the only guy.

I’m not going to say that this is the reason Rodgers hasn’t been on point this year. I’m just saying that in the past years the offense was all Aaron Rodgers and there was no real running game. So when Green Bay got one, its possible Aaron realized he didn’t have to be superman anymore.

But now Green bay needs their Superman back and they need him more than ever. Sometimes when you take away the safety net, you have no choice but not to fall.

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