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Saturday, January 26, 2008

2008 Off-Season Running Back Landscape

**Updated 3/11/08



[68] Laurence Maroney NE 23.5 - 1st & 2nd down / Goal-line?

[4] #Sammy Morris NE 31.5 - RBBC / Short yardage / Goal-line?

[1] Kevin Faulk NE 32.3 - 3rd down

[0] Heath Evans NE 29.6 - Short Yardage

[0] Kyle Eckel NE 26.7 - Garbage Time

Outlook: Unlikely to draft Darren McFadden with the 49ers’ first round pick, expect more of the same from the Pats backfield in ’08. Maroney performed just fine in goal-line work late in the season, so it will be interesting to see if he continues to lose important work to a healthy Sammy Morris.


[84] Marshawn Lynch BUF 22.4 - Full-time

[2] Fred Jackson BUF 27.6 - Change-up

[1] Dwayne Wright BUF 25.3 - Back-up

Outlook: All set here. New OC Schonert announces intention to use Lynch as an every-down back.


[22] Thomas Jones NYJ 30.0 - RBBC?

[7] Leon Washington NYJ 26.0 - Change of pace / Passing game

[2] Jesse Chatman NYJ 29.0 - Back-up

Outlook: Will McFadden be too tempting to pass up? If they don't go RB in the draft, Jones could get a nice boost in value as the Jets have revamped their O-Line


[73] #Ronnie Brown MIA 26.7 - Not 100%

[7] Ricky Williams MIA 31.3 - Brown insurance

[4] Lorenzo Booker MIA 24.3 - Change up

[0] Patrick Cobbs MIA 25.6 - Special Teams?

Outlook: A lot of bodies with none of them a sure thing under the new regime. This could be somewhat of a Ricky / Booker tandem until Ronnie Brown is ready to go.



[58] Willie Parker PIT 27.8 - 1st & 2nd down / No goal-line, 3rd down work?

[4] Najeh Davenport PIT 29.6 - Short-yardage / 3rd down?

[3] Mewelde Moore PIT 26.1 - 3rd down? / Return Game

[1] Gary Russell PIT 22.0 - Back-up

Outlook: Serious concerns about Parker's role in the passing game as well as short-yardage/red zone work. Moore is easily the best receiving back in this crew, though Davenport is an asset in the passing game as well.


[52] Jamal Lewis CLE 29.0 - Full-time

[2] Jerome Harrison CLE 25.5 - 3rd down?

[0] Jason Wright CLE 26.2 - Back-up

Outlook: Lewis re-signed to a very reasonable deal and likely to be a tremendous value again in '08 after hitting the juvenation machine last offseason. A true back-up could be on the draft shopping list


[20] Rudi Johnson CIN [x] 28.9 - RBBC? / Cut?

[9] [#]Kenny Irons CIN 25.0 - Back-up / 100%?

[4] Kenny Watson CIN 30.6 - RBBC? / Back-up?

[4] #Chris Perry CIN 26.7 - Back-up? / Cut?

[0] DeDe Dorsey CIN 24.1 - Back-up?

Outlook: Likely scenario is Rudi / Watson to open the season with Kenny Irons joining in as the season progresses. Rumors of Shaun Alexander suiting up in stripes if axed by Seattle, and you can't rule out another 2nd or 3rd round RB in the draft


[72] Willis McGahee BAL 26.9 - Full-time

[3] Musa Smith BAL (U) 26.3 - Free Agent

[1] Cory Ross BAL 26.0 - Special Teams

Outlook: McGahee has plenty of job security, but how poor will the offense be? Will Musa Smith be re-signed, or will the Ravens look for a back-up in the draft?



[90] Joseph Addai IND 25.3 - Full-time

[3] Kenton Keith IND 28.2 - Back-up? / Replaced in the draft?

[0] Clifton Dawson IND 24.8 - Garbage Time

Outlook: Colts likely to look to the draft to upgrade on Keith for a more reliable Addai crutch.


[89] Maurice Jones-Drew JAX 23.4 - All short-yardage & passing game work, but larger role?

[10] Fred Taylor JAX 32.6 - RBBC

[1] Greg Jones JAX 27.4 - Fullback

Outlook: Toefield is gone and Taylor will be 33-years-old, so a mid-to-late round draft pick makes sense. Will MJD see his role begin to increase?


[34] LenDale White TEN 23.7 - 1st & 2nd down

[4] Chris Henry TEN 23.3 - Replaced as 3rd down back? / Still in the team's plans?

Outlook: Henry is a huge question mark. BakeSale White likely showed enough to keep the Titans from shopping for a dominant starter, but RB help is continually being pursued.


[7] Ahman Green HOU 31.5 - 1st & 2nd down until injured

[2] Darius Walker HOU 23.6 - 3rd down?

Outlook: Green will be back, but will Dayne? This situation screams high draft pick, and Jonathan Stewart would be a perfect fit



[97] LaDainian Tomlinson SD 29.2 - Full-time

[4] Darren Sproles SD 25.3 - Back-up

[0] Andrew Pinnock SD 28.5 - Bench

Outlook: Turner is gone, leaving return-ace Sproles to man the back-up role. A mid-to-late round pick seems likely.


[23] Selvin Young DEN 24.9 - RBBC

[21] Travis Henry DEN 29.8 - RBBC / Short-yardage

[2] Andre Hall DEN 26.1 - Back-up

[1] Mike Bell DEN 25.4 - Cut? / Fullback?

[1] Cecil Sapp DEN (U) 29.7 - Free Agent

Outlook: A true RBBC. Henry takes a paycut to stay on as the power back / inside runner while Selvin Young will steal 10-15 touches per week on outside runs and passing game work. There's very little long-term value in Denver these days as the next big thing is clearly not on the current roster.


[75] Larry Johnson KC 28.8 - Full-time

[3] Kolby Smith KC 23.8 - Back-up

[1] Jackie Battle KC 24.9 - Back-up

Outlook: LJ should be healthy with Kolby Smith set as his back-up. Major questions: who quarterbacks the Chiefs to open '08, and can they improve the O-line play?


[30] Justin Fargas OAK 28.6 - Starter . . . for now

[24] Michael Bush OAK 24.3 - Backup / RBBC?

[7] Lamont Jordan OAK [x] 29.8 - Cut?

[4] Dominic Rhodes OAK 29.6 - Back-up

[0] Adimchenobe Echemandu OAK 27.8 - Back-up

Outlook: Fargas re-signed, which helps both his and Michael Bush's dynasty value. Fargas' value is mostly tied up in the '08 season, while Bush's value is more speculative and long-term, especially now that Rhodes has restructured. Jordan still likely to be cut, but he's hanging around



[77] Marion Barber III DAL [R] 25.3 - Starter / Timeshare?

Outlook: The Cowboys don't see Barber as a carry-the-load workhorse, and Jerry Jones supposedly has a "surprise" in mind for his backfield partner. Draft-day scenarios have the Cowboys selecting a RB like Felix Jones or Jamaal Charles, which would let some of the air out of Barber's dynasty value.


[45] Brandon Jacobs NYG 26.2 - 1st & 2nd down

[31] Ahmad Bradshaw NYG 22.5 - Back-up / RBBC?

[11] Derrick Ward NYG (U?) 28.1 - Free Agent

[1] Reuben Droughns NYG [x] 30.0 - Cut?

Outlook: Bradshaw is looking like a value killer for Jacobs though it remains to be seen how that timeshare will shake out in the next couple of years. Giants trying to re-sign Ward for depth, and it's getting to be late in the game for him to find a better opportunity


[76] Clinton Portis WAS 27.0 - Full-time

[7] Ladell Betts WAS 29.0 - Insurance

[0] Mike Sellers WAS 33.1 - Fullback

Outlook: Will the offensive skew more towards the pass now that Zorn is here and Gibbs is gone? New regime sees Betts as the clear backup to Portis though there have been rumblings about using both in the backfield together.


[93] Brian Westbrook PHI 29.0 - Full-time

[2] Tony Hunt PHI 22.8 - Backup / Short-yardage?

[1] Correll Buckhalter PHI 29.9 - Backup / Cut?

[1] Ryan Moats PHI [x] 25.7 - Cut?

Outlook: Westbrook will continue to dominate the offense; Hunt has to pick up his pass protection skills to get off the bench. Buckhalter and/or Moats could be cut.



[68] Ryan Grant GB 25.7 - Full-time

[4] Brandon Jackson GB 22.9 - 3rd down? / Back-up

[3] DeShawn Wynn GB 24.9 - Back-up

[2] Vernand Morency GB [R] 28.6 - RFA / Gone?

Outlook: How will Favre's retirement affect the Packers' offensive production? Grant is the starter with very good job security, and the rest are back-ups. Morency could find 3rd down work in free agency.


[100] Adrian Peterson MIN 23.5 - 1st & 2nd down

[12] Chester Taylor MIN 29.0 - 3rd down

[1] Maurice Hicks MIN 30.1 - Return game / back-up

Outlook: One-two punch of ADP & Chester Taylor in the Vikes' heavy rushing attack, with ADP seeing most of the work. I'm not generally a believer in the "handcuff" strategy, but Chester Taylor is a must for ADP owners . . . similar to LT2 & Turner in '06 & '07


[30] #Kevin Jones DET 26.0 - Injured / RBBC?

[4] Tatum Bell DET 27.5 - RBBC? / Back-up?

[1] Brian Calhoun DET 24.4 - Change of pace?

[0] Aveion Cason DET 29.2 - Emergency use

Outlook: Kevin Jones should never be relied upon again, and the Lions know this. Bell re-signed and could get committee, but the Lions are not done shopping for RBs yet


[9] #Cedric Benson CHI 25.7 - RBBC? / Back-up?

[3] Adrian Peterson CHI 29.2 - 3rd down / Back-up

[1] Garrett Wolfe CHI 24.1 - Change-up

Outlook: Natural landing spot for Illinois' star Rashard Mendenhall as both Lovie Smith and GM Angelo have put Benson on notice that he will have competition next season. The offensive line could still use some tinkering as well.



[37] Ernest Graham TB 28.7 - Full-time / RBBC?

[5] [#]Cadillac Williams TB 26.4 - Injured? / PUP?

[2] Warrick Dunn TB 33.7 - 3rd down?

[2] Michael Bennett TB 30.0 - Backup

Outlook: Graham will enter '08 as the starter with Caddy a giant question mark to play at all, much less return at full strength anytime in the near future. Dunn is ostensibly being brought in as the 3rd down back despite the fact that he's a hindrance in the passing game at this point in his career . . . good news for Graham.


[74] Reggie Bush NO 23.5 - RBBC

[11] Pierre Thomas NO 23.7 - Back-up

[8] #Deuce McAllister NO 29.7 - RBBC / Cut?

[1] Aaron Stecker NO 32.8 - Back-up

Outlook: Should be the same cast of characters again in ’08 though it's looking more and more possible that Deuce could be cut, in which case Pierre Thomas would see a significant jump in value.


[54] DeAngelo Williams CAR 25.4 - Starter / Goal-line carries?

[1] LaBrandon Toefield CAR 28.0 - Short-yardage

Outlook: DeAngelo Williams sees a major role increase, but questions persist about short-yardage and blitz pickup. Is Toefield the power back partner, or will the Panthers seek an upgrade early in the draft?


[53] Michael Turner ATL 26.5 - 1st & 2nd down

[13] Jerious Norwood ATL 25.1 - Change of pace

[1] Jason Snellilng ATL 23.7 - Back-up

Outlook: Turner signed to lead Mularkey's power running game and should total 250-270 carries with complement Norwood as an explosive change of pace weapon.



[33] Julius Jones SEA 27.0 - 1st & 2nd down

[4] Shaun Alexander SEA [x] 31.0 - Cut?

[2] T.J. Duckett SEA 27.5 - Short-yardage

[2] Maurice Morris SEA 28.8 - Back-up

Outlook: Barring an early round draft pick, it looks like a committee led by Julius Jones with a splash of Maurice Morris on 3rd down and T.J. Duckett in short-yardage. Despite the protestations to the contrary, Alexander is still likely to be cut


[20] Edgerrin James ARI 30.1 - RBBC / Cut?

[2] J.J. Arrington ARI 25.6 - 3rd down

[1] Marcel Shipp ARI 30.1 - Backup?

Outlook: After seeing his 3rd down and goal-line work taken away from him last season, the Cards will look for Edge's successor in the draft this season. Will Fitzgerald's re-signing lead to the Cards to cut costs with Edge?


[91] Frank Gore SF 25.2 - Full-time

[4] DeShaun Foster SF 28.6 - Back-up

[1] Michael Robinson SF 25.5 - Back-up

[1] Thomas Clayton SF 24.4 - Back-up

Outlook: Martz' hire as OC means Gore's value goes up in PPR leagues and should be good news for the entire offense in 2008. Foster signed a meager contract and looks much more like a strict backup as opposed to a threat to Gore's production.


[98] Steven Jackson STL 25.1 - Full-time

[2] Antonio Pittman STL 22.7 - Back-up

[1] Brian Leonard STL 24.6 - Back-up / Fullback

Outlook: All set here. Rams intend to build their offense around Steven Jackson going forward.

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