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RB-needy teams left to focus on the draft

Carlos Hyde

There has been much said about running backs having a tough go of it in free agency, and in case we had forgotten, we were reminded with Chris Johnson taking more than a week to find a new team.

Johnson, who was PFT’s No. 34-ranked free agent, signed a two-year, $8 million deal with the Jets on Wednesday. And this was a good deal, given the market this offseason, as colleague Mike Florio pointed out.

In all, it took Johnson nine days from his official release from Tennessee to land a new gig. Contrast this with DeSean Jackson, who had a deal with Washington in three days. And Darrelle Revis had an agreement with New England in but a few hours after his departure from Tampa Bay.

With Johnson signed, there are no starter-caliber tailbacks left in free agency. There are some decent complementary players available, with Michael Bush (ex-Bears) and Ronnie Brown (Chargers) two of the better options left, per Rotoworld’s rankings. According to Pro Football Focus, Brown earned a positive grade as a pass blocker in 2013, but he played just 157 snaps, and he had a negative grade as a rusher, as did Bush, who’s gained less than four yards per carry in each of the last three seasons.

In short, teams needing a running back are probably left to add one in the draft. The Titans, Browns, Jaguars, Bears and Vikings are among the clubs who could use at least one more tailback. However, of these teams, only the Titans may need a starter. The Browns (Ben Tate) and Jaguars (Toby Gerhart) signed young, starter-caliber veterans in free agency, while the Bears (Matt Forte) and Vikings (Adrian Peterson) just need understudies for their established lead backs.

The Bengals, Bills, Broncos, Buccaneers, Cardinals, Chiefs, Colts, Cowboys, Falcons, Giants, Patriots, Rams, Ravens, Redskins, Steelers and Texans are other teams who seem logical contenders to bring in another back.

The question is, who takes the first tailback in May, and in which round? In his most recent mock draft, Rotoworld’s Josh Norris has no backs going in Round One. Also, NFL.com’s Nolan Nawrocki has just one back – Ohio State’s Carlos Hyde — listed as a potential first-round selection.

In an offseason that won’t be remembered as an especially glorious one for the running backs of the world, the draft looms as the final act. Not getting any stage time on the draft’s first night would be another low point.

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7 Responses to “RB-needy teams left to focus on the draft”
  1. pslbucfan says: Apr 17, 2014 1:05 PM

    Honestly I don’t see the Buccaneers taking a RB unless it’s in round 6 or 7. Last year we had one running back after another go down, and we got production from every back that was up next. This is not much of a need for the Bucs. We have other more pressing needs.

  2. stellarperformance says: Apr 17, 2014 1:25 PM

    Gerhart was timed having the fastest exit from a locker room once he learned he didn’t have to remain a Viking. Understandable.

  3. domezo says: Apr 17, 2014 1:49 PM

    Tre Mason to the Vikings in the 3rd!!

  4. jjackwagon says: Apr 17, 2014 1:55 PM

    SO basically you are saying 24 of 32 teams need another RB. Wow, what a bold contention.

  5. tiggerblood says: Apr 18, 2014 12:22 AM

    I guess you can never have to many horses in the stable?!?

  6. tokyosandblaster says: Apr 18, 2014 10:40 PM

    The Vikings need at least one good one. They have no one left.

  7. purplehaze28 says: Apr 21, 2014 9:50 AM

    Vikings are good at RB for another 7 -10 years.

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