Don't be surprised if Johnathan Franklin becomes the Packers' starting running back from day one.
While many Packers' fans were excited about Lacy becoming the team's No. 1 running back, the name they'll really want to be aware of is Franklin. Let's break down why Franklin should start from day one over Lacy.
Let's start with one of the main reasons why Lacy was even available late in the second round for the Packers to draft him; his recent string of injuries.
It started with a hamstring injury before the 2013 NFL combine. Then reports came out after the NFL draft that the Pittsburgh Steelers took Lacy off their draft board completely due to worries about a toe injury stemming back from the 2011 season.
Not surprised at all Eddie Lacy wasn't drafted in the first round. Teams scared off by injury history. Factor for sure.— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) April 26, 2013
Former NFL player Shaun King, and current college analyst for Fox Sports Net, also told us what he was hearing about Lacy's injuries:
I'm hearing teams have a medical flag on Eddie lacy based on the turf toe injury that plagued him at bama— shaun king (@realshaunking) April 26, 2013
Simply put, Lacy has injury concerns that need to be addressed. Franklin, on the other hand, has never had a serious injury during his collegiate career.
While it's certainly possible that Lacy will be at 100 percent health for the start of the 2013 season, the main reason why Franklin will start over Lacy is because he's a better all-around playmaker.
Where Lacy uses his strength and power to do damage on the ground, Franklin has better speed, quickness and agility than Lacy. He's more dangerous in the open field and more of a home run threat than Lacy.
In the short video above, it's easy to see just how dynamic of a player that Franklin is. So, not only is Franklin a better playmaker in the open field, but he's also just as good a receiver out of the backfield and just as solid in pass protection as Lacy.
Even before the draft, Franklin was considered by many to be the better running back than Lacy. Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net let us know that NFL teams even placed Franklin above Lacy:
I'm am told a number of teams now have Jonathan Franklin/RB/UCLA ahead of Eddie Lacy/Bama...comparisons to Frank Gore & Doug Martin...— Tony Pauline (@TonyPauline) April 21, 2013
Even Bleacher Report's own NFL draft lead writer, Matt Miller, had Franklin as his top running back heading into the draft:
Two rankings where I think I differ: Tank Carradine as top DE and Johnathan Franklin as top RB.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) April 22, 2013
In terms of how this talent produced on the field in terms of statistics, Franklin was just as good, if not better, than Lacy in every statistical category during the 2012 season:
|Player||Attempts||Rushing Yards||Yards Per Carry||Receptions||Receiving Yards||Total TDs|
While Franklin had more attempts than Lacy, he also didn't have the luxury of running behind the greatest offensive line in all of college football.
All in all, Franklin possesses better playmaking abilities than Lacy, put up just as good statistics and is less of an injury risk. He's not only talented enough to see playing time as a rookie, but he's talented enough to start from day one over Lacy.