Green Bay Packers: Five Running Backs Who Can Replace Ryan Grant
When Ryan Grant went down with a season-ending injury, it left the Green Bay Packers' running game in the hands of Brandon Jackson and John Kuhn.
While Kuhn has proven to be a capable runner in limited duty, Jackson has been a disappointment. He has failed to give the Packers' running game any sort of presence.
What Green Bay needs to do is either trade for a capable running back or sign one out of free agency. What they can't do is wait for the draft.
So, what will Packers' general manager Ted Thompson do? He'll wait for the draft, of course. He hates giving up draft picks, even for proven products who can help his team get back on the path to a Super Bowl Championship.
So, even though Ted Thompson isn't going to make a deal, let's take a look at five running backs who could help the Packers.
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The San Francisco 49ers clearly have no interest in Brian Westbrook. He's only carried the ball one time this year, gaining zero yards.
While Westbrook is past his prime, he could add a veteran presence to the Green Bay backfield that they desperately need. Plus, he knows how to make big plays.
Jackson has shown no big-play ability and often looks timid when he hits the holes.
Jackson might benefit from playing with a strong veteran presence like Westbrook.
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Jones is another running back who has been under-utilized by his team. He was recently released by the Seattle Seahawks, but he only received 12 carries for 30 yards while he was there.
Though Jones probably can't handle a full workload at this stage of his career, he is good for about 175 carries a year, which fits the Packers' need perfectly. That would allow Jackson to be the third-down back, and Kuhn to be an occasional change-of-pace runner.
Jones is even more enticing because of his free-agent status. Thompson wouldn't have to give up any of his precious draft picks to bring Jones in for a look.
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Larry Johnson is another former big-name running back who is having a rough year. So far in 2010, Johnson has accumulated five carries for a grand total of two yards.
Johnson is probably the biggest high-risk, high-reward back on this list. If Johnson comes into Green Bay with a good attitude, he could immediately instill fear in opponents, but that's a big if.
Johnson is another free agent, so what do the Packers have to lose?
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Steve Slaton has been in Texans coach Gary Kubiak's doghouse for about a year now. Add in the emergence of Arian Foster, and the Texans don't really have a place for Slaton any more.
Well, Green Bay certainly has a place for Slaton. He's young, healthy, and displays occasional bursts of explosiveness.
Since he's still young and in the prime of his career, his price tag will probably be a little bit higher, likely costing the Packers a third- or fourth-round pick.
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Willie Parker, cut by the Washington Redskins before this season, makes the most sense for the Packers.
He has had a 1,000-yard season as recently as 2007. He is also a small, fast runner, the perfect complement to the stronger, larger Kuhn and Jackson.
And, most importantly to Ted Thompson, he is a free agent.
This deal makes so much sense, one has to wonder why it hasn't happened yet.