Well-publicized was the Green Bay Packers’ drafting of two running backs in the recent NFL Draft: Alabama’s Eddie Lacy (round 2, pick 61) and Jonathan Franklin (round 4, pick 125) out of UCLA. Less publicized, however, have been the running backs still on the Packers’ roster.
This week, Packers’ brass revealed they were actively shopping James Starks, former playoff hero. He joins the released Cedric Benson and Brandon Saine as guys on the wrong side of Green Bay’s now typical revolving door in the backfield. Alex Green, while still young, is injury-prone and, even when healthy, hasn’t proven to be anything special. That, in addition to the recently drafted rookies, leaves DuJuan Harris.
Harris, at 5’9” and 205, doesn’t have the prototypical frame of an NFL running back not named Maurice Jones-Drew, but his skill set is one which may make up for it. His small stature, much like the aforementioned Jacksonville Jaguar, allots him a certain ‘sneak factor’, allowing him to find a hole in the ‘land of the giants’ that is the offensive line and be at the second level before the d-line even knows he’s there. Harris has very quick feet and good burst as well as toughness and a tendency to fall forward, all attributes which Harris has parlayed into a career 4.6 average yards per carry, which outpaces the likes of Lesean McCoy, Arian Foster, and Super Bowl champion Ray Rice.
While Lacy is the consensus pick to be the Packers’ primary load bearer in the backfield, Mike McCarthy might be well-served in handing the ball off to Harris, who may well be the next nugget that Ted Thompson’s pulled from his street free agent goldmine. Doubtless, Lacy and Harris will at the very least form a potent one-two punch, but by the end of the season- especially with Lacy’s much-publicized injury issues – it may very well be DuJuan Harris’ time to shine.
Antony Ludwig is an NFL Division writer for TPF and can be contacted ALudwig@ThePenaltyFlagBlog.com