Jackson, who joined the Packers as an undrafted free agent last year, recorded 10 carries for 32 yards in 2016. Michael came over after being released midseason by the Seattle Seahawks and rushed for 114 yards and a touchdown in six games.
The Packers revamped their running back depth chart Saturday, adding Jamaal Williams, Aaron Jones and Devante Mays on the third day of the draft. Williams was the top-rated player taken in the fourth round, but it's clear Green Bay is just hoping to hit on one of these three guys.
A combination of injuries and ineffectiveness left the Packers without a running back at various points in 2016. Green Bay's leading rusher was converted wideout Ty Montgomery, who will stay at running back full time next season. Packers coach Mike McCarthy told reporters in March that he sees an "ability" for Montgomery to be their No. 1 guy but acknowledged there are concerns about wear and tear.
“Obviously it’s a very heavy lifting position, so availability will be Ty’s No. 1 statistic,” McCarthy said. “He’s a very talented young man, very bright, obviously understands the whole perimeter part of the offense now, so his utilization and the variation that he gives us as far as alignments and assignments and the different things that he can do will definitely benefit us as far as our offensive scheme. He just needs to have a great offseason ... but this is a big opportunity for him."
Drafting three running backs is a smart way to hedge your bets, and neither Jackson nor Michael showed enough in Green Bay to warrant keeping them. Jackson is still young at 23 and should wind up finding another team to give him a training camp invite.
Michael, who was the Seahawks' leading rusher before he was released last season, will be looking for his fifth NFL home since being taken in the second round in 2013.