NFL Free Agency: 4 Options for the Rams at RB
The rumors of free agency are constantly swirling, and the St. Louis Rams have been linked to numerous running backs. With what's happened do far this offseason, who the Rams bring in is anybody's guess. There isn't much rhyme or rhythm to the Rams signings. These four guys have all been linked by rumored to the Rams, and would be great fits for the 3rd down back role.
The Rams have made many moves so far in free agency adding a starting caliber wide receiver, offensive guard, and outside linebacker. Does this mean that maybe they will put the number two running back position off for yet another year?
The Rams shouldn't and can't wait another year to find another running back. Steven Jackson is getting older and older and he can only take so many bumps and bruises.
Kenneth Darby is an average running back, but it is safe to say that all of the players mentioned in this slide would be upgrades over Darby.
With that said, let's look at the potential running back options for the St. Louis Rams.
The rumors connecting the Rams to Jason Snelling have really picked up in the past couple of days. Snelling isn't the change of pace, electric back that many fans want, but he has been very productive in his four seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. He is also a young option at just 27 years of age.
In the past two seasons, Snelling rushed for 937 yards with a 4.0 yards per carry average. I'm sure most fans would be happy with that type of production over Darby's 259 yards rushing. Snelling has also been a productive receiver. The past two seasons he's caught 74 balls for 562 yards. With these types of numbers it seems as if Jason Snelling will be the favorite for the Rams 3rd down back position in 2011.
Ronnie Brown is a faster option than Jason Snelling as he ran a 4.49 at the NFL Combine coming out of college. The main problem with Brown is that he has struggled with injuries while he was in Miami. In his six seasons with the Dolphins he was only able to play in all sixteen games twice. The other problem is that he may not be happy having to take the back seat to Steven Jackson.
Statistically he'd be a great fit with the Rams. He's only rushed for 1,000 yards once, but that is one more time than anybody else on this list. He also reeled in 30 or more catches in 5 of his six seasons. As a Rams fan, I think Brown would be a very good 3rd down back for the Rams, and, if need be, he is a very capable number one back if Steven Jackson is injured.
Jerome Harrison is a guy that it seems most people have forgotten about. Just a season ago it appeared that he was due for a serious breakout year, only for the Browns and Eagles to toss him to the side. I'm surprised that more teams aren't trying to sign Harrison.
Jerome Harrison is still young at just 27 years old, and his light load a season ago means that he should be fresh. If you want to talk about serious stats, let's look at the final three games of the '09 season. Harrison got 34 carries for 286 yards and 3 touchdowns only to be followed by 39 carries for 148 yards and 33 carries for 127 yards. What could've happened that made the Browns write him off?
The way I look at it is that despite his height (5'9"), Harrison can be a very reliable guy. Rams fans should hope that if the Rams do come away with him that they give him the opportunity to shine.
At this point, it's clear to see that there are few running backs with some red flags. Jerious Norwood has been appearing a lot lately in the rumor mill as a potential fit in St. Louis. Another back for the Atlanta Falcons, he has dealt with a series of injuries the past two seasons. He went down in the second game of the season last year with a torn ACL, and in 2009 he suffered concussions and hip issues.
The main asset that Norwood has going for him is his speed. As to whether he still has it is another question. Even if his knee is 100% healthy, it is tough to become comfortable with it again immediately.
If Norwood can regain comfort in knee and return to his '08 form, then he could be the electrifying change of pace back that Rams fans have been looking for since Marshall Faulk.
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