South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore has endured significant obstacles on his way to the NFL draft. Just over one year removed from a torn knee ligament that cut his 2011 season short, Lattimore suffered a gruesome injury in an October 27 game against the Tennessee Volunteers.
After another long and painstaking rehab process—in which his commitment to coming back was on full display—Lattimore made a full recovery and declared for the 2013 NFL Draft.
While many have reservations about drafting the 21-year-old out of South Carolina—his draft stock slipped due to his injury history—there are several teams in desperate need of a potential feature back.
Let’s take a look at three teams that could be interested in Marcus Lattimore’s services.
Green Bay Packers
One of Green Bay’s goals heading into the draft is to regain a decent running attack. Sporting a trio of Ryan Grant, James Starks and John Kuhn, the Packers ranked 20th in rushing during the 2012-13 season.
Their hope was that James Starks would eventually take over as the team’s primary rusher—after showing flashes of brilliance during his rookie year—but he has failed to make a longstanding impact. Injuries have been a problem for Green Bay, which is why they may be hesitant to take a chance on Lattimore. But when healthy, he will surely provide a solid boost for the team’s sputtering ground game.
Reggie Bush has been one of the few bright spots for the Dolphins over the past two seasons. After several disappointing seasons with the Saints, Bush found new life in Miami, playing in 31 games over two seasons and logging 2,072 yards for 12 touchdowns.
But Bush’s departure as a free agent—he signed with the Detroit Lions on March 13—means the Dolphins will once again have to rebuild the backfield. If they are willing to take Marcus Lattimore, they could potentially revitalize their running attack.
New York Jets
The Jets are a complete mess. They fired general manager Mike Tannenbaum this offseason (it’s a miracle Rex Ryan wasn’t fired as well), traded away their best player in Darrelle Revis and they have yet to find a serviceable quarterback—or a dynamic running back capable of dictating the offense.
As of right now they have four running backs on the roster: Mike Goodson, John Griffin, Joe McKnight and Bilal Powell. In order to restore some form of excitement, the organization must go after a big-name offensive talent such as Lattimore.