Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Best battle: Isaiah Pead vs. Daryl Richardson vs. Zac Stacy, St. Louis Rams
St. Louis is in unfamiliar territory.
Between Marshall Faulk and Steven Jackson, the Rams knew who their workhorse running back was for over a decade. The only certainty at the position they have heading into camp is that Jackson is gone.
The good news is they have three young and talented backs vying for the starting gig. Isaiah Pead and Daryl Richardson are both second-year players with potential, and St. Louis selected Zac Stacy in the 2013 draft.
Richardson was listed as the projected starter heading into camp, according to Bleacher Report's Bill Riccette.
But, as NFL.com's Chris Wesseling points out, Richardson was ineffective in his last five games of his rookie season. It's possible that his mediocre finish could hurt his chances to earn the starting spot.
Pead barely played in his rookie year, as he tripped down the depth chart early. He is also suspended for the first game of the season, which could already have him in the doghouse.
Stacy, however, should not be forgotten. The former Vanderbilt star is reminiscent of Doug Martin coming out of college, without the hype of course.
It will be a fun battle.
Runner-up: Eddie Lacy vs. Johnathan Franklin vs. DuJuan Harris, Green Bay Packers
How long has it been since the Packers had a running game?
Really only a few seasons—Ryan Grant did have back-to-back 1,200-yard seasons in 2008 and 2009—but it seems like it has been quite a while. That may finally change this year.
The Packers ponied up and drafted not one, but two running backs in the 2013 draft. Eddie Lacy comes up from Alabama, where he had a dominating season in Mark Ingram's and Trent Richardson's wakes. Johnathan Franklin is an underrated dynamo from UCLA.
They will compete with DuJuan Harris for the starting gig this preseason unless there is a hiccup in his recovery from having a fist-sized cyst removed from his lung. (Incidentally, that sounds terrifying—was an alien chestburster in there?)
It is easy to think one of the rookies will come out ahead, but that didn't stop ESPN Wisconsin writer Jason Wilde from predicting Harris will be Green Bay's leading rusher in 2013.
It's likely the Packers will emerge with a committee of some sort, but they have a nice stable in that backfield going forward.