The Green Bay Packers depth chart at the running back position may be somewhat settled coming into 2016. Eddie Lacy will be taking most snaps with the very capable James Starks coming in to give Lacy a rest throughout the game. Wide receivers Randall Cobb and Ty Montgomery sometimes line up in the backfield as a halfback, even running with the football on occasion. John Crockett does not project to see many carries, but right now he’d certainly be the next man up in the case of an injury to Lacy or Starks.
With that being said, the Packers have two undrafted rookie backs on the roster hoping to unseat Crockett, or at least to impress enough to be signed back to the Packers’ practice squad.
Brandon Burks is a 5-9, 208 pound back out of Troy. Burks combines a somewhat rare blend of strength and speed. He posted a blazing 4.41 40 time at his pro day, but given his short stature, he’s far from a lanky push-over. Burks actually put up a very respectable 24 reps on the bench press at his pro day as well. While Burks’ height could be a liability in pass-protection as he may get out-leveraged by much taller linebackers, his low-to-the-ground body coupled with significant speed and athleticism (he also posted a 37 inch vertical) make him an intriguing prospect.
Don Jackson is a 5-10, 208 pound back out of Nevada. Jackson has a checkered past, but has turned his life around and made significant strides to making his NFL dream come true. Jackson ran a 4.47 40 at his pro day. Jackson is taller and lankier than Burks, but retains the same explosive burst. He has good size to be a nice complement to what the Packers already have on the roster.
John Crockett is far from a lock at the third running back spot. At 6-0, 217 pounds and a 4.62 40 time, Crockett is a bit more of a bruiser, something that the Packers already have in Lacy (and, to some extent, Starks). What the Packers could use is a shiftier, more explosive back.
One way that Burks or Jackson could distinguish themselves is in the receiving game. Neither player has shown great prowess as a receiver out of the backfield in college, but both have the size and athleticism to do so in the NFL.
With Lacy approaching possible free agency in 2017 and James Starks turning 31 in February, the Packers backfield could see considerable changes in the next few years. It’s important that they begin developing depth now. Burks and Jackson could be involved in the plan.——————
Taylor O\'Neill is a Packer fan born and raised in Oshkosh, WI. He currently lives in Florida and is pursuing his PhD. Taylor is a writer with PackersTalk.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @TaylorONeill87 for more Packer news.