Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NFL Draft Position Breakdown: Running Backs

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NFL Draft Position Breakdown: Running Backs

Article excerpt

OVERVIEW

The 12th running back drafted last year, Alfred Morris rushed for 1,613 yards and 13 touchdowns to help lead the Washington Redskins to the NFC East title.

But despite the Morris' success, waiting until the sixth round to find an immediate starter remains the exception rather than the rule.

"There has always been good running backs found later in the draft," Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell said. "But if you think a guy is a difference maker, you have to take him high."

In the last seven years, 21 running backs were selected in the first round, but this draft could have only one in the opening round (Alabama's Eddie Lacy).

JAGUARS OUTLOOK

On the roster: Maurice Jones-Drew, Justin Forsett, Richard Murphy, Jonathan Grimes, Jordan Todman, Montell Owens, Will Ta'ufo'ou.

Draft history: The Jaguars have drafted 15 running backs, including two in the first round (James Stewart in 1995, Fred Taylor in 1998). But since taking Jones-Drew in the second round in 2006, they haven't picked a running back in the top five rounds.

Need scale (1-5): 2.

The Jaguars have numbers at the tailback position but Jones-Drew is entering the final year of his contract and there needs to be a contingency plan for this year (if he doesn't stay healthy) and next year (if he and the team part ways). Also, Ta'ufo'ou is the only true fullback on the roster. The position could be addressed late in the draft.

THE TOP 5

1. EDDIE LACY, ALABAMA

5-11, 231

Fourth-year junior who replaced Trent Richardson and rushed for 1,322 yards (6.5 per carry) in only season as a starter. ... Started the draft process as a second-round pick but could go as high as No. 22 to St. Louis and replace Steven Jackson. ... An up and down receiver (only 20 catches last year). ... Powerful runner who excelled late in the year and has an effective spin move.

2 LE'VEON BELL, MICHIGAN STATE

6-1, 230

A two-star recruit who chose Spartans over three Mid-American Conference schools turned into an excellent Big Ten player - 671 carries for 3,346 yards and 33 touchdowns. ... Per STATS Inc. …

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