The Packers have spent yet another season struggling to find their identity on the ground. After bringing in veteran starter Cedric Benson and then losing him to injury, the running game has been essentially a non-factor.
Combined with the offensive line woes that have plagued the offense this season, the lack of a feature running back is not a sustainable situation.
While the Packers will likely always be a pass-first team, the powerhouse teams in the NFL increasingly feature both a strong aerial game and a strong ground game. In order to remain competitive in the long term, they need to find a strong running back who will force defenses to open themselves up to damage from the passing game.
If 2013 is indeed the year that Ted Thompson sets his sights on a running back, here is the most likely candidate:
It is unlikely that Mike Gillislee will be the first running back off the board this draft, which is actually to his benefit. By targeting an electric playmaker currently flying under the radar of Oklahoma State’s Joseph Randle, the Packers could come up with great talent without having to trade up as aggressively to secure it.
Gillislee has been having an excellent senior season, averaging 4.5 yards per carry and finding the end zone often. He has also demonstrated that he can be an effective blocker in blitz situations, which would be a great asset to an ailing offensive line in Green Bay.
Other prospects include: