2013 Combine: Buying and Selling Running Backs for the Packers
Sunday saw the "skill position" players take the field at Lucas Oil Stadium, and while we know the Green Bay Packers are likely to look at a wide receiver in April's draft, there is also a good chance they will take a running back as well.
However, we can more than likely expect them to pass on guys in the first couple rounds and shoot for quality upside later.
With that in mind, let's take a look at five running backs who look like they could be available in the middle rounds and performed well at the combine and say "Buy" or "Sell" on the Packers drafting them.
Onterio McCalebb, Auburn—SELL
McCalebb got everyone talking with a fast 4.34—especially when, by and large, the running backs looked slow in the 40.
He also looked pretty good in drills. But in every ranking I see, he has a sixth- or seventh-round grade on him.
And if you look at his height and weight, you know why. At 5'10", 168 pounds, I put the over/under on carries before injury at 10.
OK, that's harsh, but he's really too thin to withstand any regular pounding and his frame isn't carrying enough weight to contribute as a blocker—so the pass-catching skills he showed off won't do much good.
McCalebb is a kick returner at best, and while his speed might tempt some team to give him a shot, it'd be a waste of the Packers' time.
Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy should toss the film out the window on this guy.
Knile Davis, Arkansas—SELL
Davis may be short, but he has the weight and frame to withstand a pounding—except he doesn't do so.
He can't stay healthy, and for a guy who runs with a bruising style, that's a problem.
With an absolutely blinding 40 time of 4.37, Davis is all upside, but that injury history is a bit terrifying.
As many injuries as the Packers have had at the position, the last thing they need is another guy prone to injury.
The Packers will have to weigh his upside—and their own conditioning program—against the very real possibility that he won't be on the field enough to make a difference.
Green Bay has not had the best run when it comes to drafting healthy running backs. So I'd say they should steer clear of Davis, upside or no.
Johnathan Franklin, UCLA—BUY
Franklin really stood out to me in Senior Bowl practices, and I made sure to take another look at his tape. This is a guy who is a potential three-down back and the Packers should take a close look at him.
With a 4.49 40 time, he's plenty fast and looked agile in the 3-cone and short shuttle. I also liked what I saw in the positional drills, with Franklin flashing his hands and overall agility as well.
There is a bit of a disconnect between his combine/Senior Bowl performance and his tape, but he was terribly productive. There were definitely some games in which he struggled, but his overall season gave you a lot to like.
It's worth Green Bay's time to go back for another look, and Franklin could be a great prospect to grab in the third round.
Joseph Randle, Oklahoma State—BUY
Randle didn't blow the doors off anyone with the timed drills, but looked solid in positional work, which is far more important anyway.
While he has good speed and can run over people, he does get too upright at times and occasionally has issues moving the pile due to size. At 205, he definitely has the size to get the job done, so his issues aren't just due to that.
I liked what I saw Sunday, enough to take another look at the tape, and the Packers should do the same. Randle has a lot of skills they can use and would be an excellent third-round pick.
**All observations are from watching combine feed unless otherwise specified**
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