All of a sudden, Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson is a deal-maker, as the normally conservative head cheese made his fourth trade of the 2013 NFL draft today. This time, though, he traded up, moving back into the fourth round to select UCLA running back Johnathan Franklin.
The Packers addressed the running back position yesterday in the second round with the addition of Alabama standout Eddie Lacy, but apparently, when Green Bay saw Franklin still on the board midway through the fourth round, the value was simply too good to pass up.
Maybe Thompson was sick of answering questions about the running back position, or maybe he finally got sick and tired of having to sign guys off the street to run the ball near the end of the season. One thing is for sure: The Packers are making a concerted effort to get more balance on offense, which will open things up for Aaron Rodgers and the passing game.
Green Bay has never been a great running team since Thompson's arrival back in 2005. In fact, the team has never finished higher than 12th in rushing yards for a single season during the Thompson/Mike McCarthy/Aaron Rodgers era. Yet it appears they are bound and determined to change that.
Franklin comes in at 5'10", 205 pounds, and is not the physical presence of Lacy, but he makes up for it with his explosiveness. The pick will also help alleviate concerns with depth behind Lacy, who has had numerous injury problems going back to his high school days. Franklin provides insurance against a Lacy injury while also adding yet another explosive dimension to one of the top offenses in the National Football League.
In four seasons with the Bruins, Franklin rushed for a total of 4,403 yards, including 1,734 yards last season and 15 total touchdowns.