There are a lot of reasons to avoid a running back—be it age, injuries, a crowded backfield or something else completely. Here are a few running backs that I am going to be avoiding this season for various reasons. (I've updated the list that I published about a month ago, as a lot has changed.)
Shonn Greene – New York Jets
Does anyone have any idea exactly what the Jets offense is going to be like? The Jets seem to want to make us think that it is going to be a ground-and-pound attack, but then why bring in Tim Tebow for the Wildcat (or whatever you want to call it)?
If the Jets do decide to focus on the running game, which I don’t believe they will, then maybe Greene finally can develop. After all, he did rush for 1,000 yards last season. Then again he only had two games of over 100 yards and has looked poor behind a leaky offensive line this preseason.
Throw in the fact that Tim Tebow could easily steal a significant number of goal line touches, and there are a lot of reasons to be skeptical. The truth is that this situation is a mess, and I would not trust any Jets offensive player.
Maurice Jones-Drew – Jacksonville Jaguars
We all remember Chris Johnson’s holdout from a year ago and the poor season he ultimately had. Did one lead to the other? There is no way to know for sure, but you would think that the lack of preseason reps and the time it took to get his conditioning up to par played a definite role in his struggles.
There are rumors circulating that Jones-Drew’s holdout could stretch into the regular season. I would be skeptical even if he signed now, especially since Rashard Jennings could eat into his carries, but the chance that this costs him any games could easily turn this into a lost year for him.
Michael Turner – Atlanta Falcons
Turner was included in my original list of running backs to avoid, and I don’t see much of a reason to think that things have changed.
He is still 30 years old—the age many running backs start on a steep and rapid decline…
The Falcons should still be a team centered around the past…
I know that he was productive a year ago, but the accumulation of touches over the past few years and the fact that the offense is now focusing on Roddy White and Julio Jones could ultimately lead to a disappointing year for Turner.
Beanie Wells – Arizona Cardinals
The fact that he is still working his way back from a January knee surgery has got to be a major concern. The fact that Ryan Williams is not only back but also looking productive in preseason games leaves Wells with a tough selection.
Even if he returns to full health in time for the start of the season (which now looks likely), can we say for sure that he is going to be able to force Williams to simply be a handcuff-type back? This has timeshare written all over it, at best, with Wells potentially missing time and hobbled throughout the season.
I would much rather target Williams a few rounds later than at this point.
Frank Gore – San Francisco 49ers
Let me preface this by saying that I could see myself drafting Gore, but it really needs to be the perfect situation. Even with Brandon Jacobs injured, the San Francisco backfield is crowded. While you would expect Gore to be the leading man, he is 29 years old, and the team could look to try and conserve him by spreading the carries around.
Throw in the fact that he managed just 15 receptions last season and eliminated a wrinkle from his game, the star power that was once there just no longer is. It’s tough to imagine investing a high draft pick on him.
What are your thoughts on these running backs? Are you avoiding any of them? What other backs are you skeptical of this season?
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