Anyone who followed the 2010 New Orleans Saints knows that the running back position was one of the biggest weaknesses on the team. A slew of injuries sidelined top backs Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush early in the season, and rookie Chris Ivory had an up-down season while also battling injuries. The team’s running back situation was so dire that the team was down to its eighth-string back for their playoff game in Seattle.
While the situation was dire in 2010, it seems more of a fluke than anything that all those players at one position faced injuries all at once. The chances of the Saints running back corps facing that many injuries in 2011 seems unlikely. The team still has several backs on the team going into 2011. Thomas was given a new three-year deal. Bush is expected to renegotiate his contract but stay in the Big Easy. Ivory is still with the team, and Lynell Hamilton will be back for training camp after a season-ending injury early in last year’s training camp.
However, with a full stable of running backs and the position looking unlikely to sustain the mass number of injuries again, the team looks willing to invest a draft pick into a running back. Several mock drafts have shown the team selecting a running back early on in the draft, and the visits with players that the team is allowed have shown they are looking into halfbacks.
The Saints brought in Delone Carter, a former Syracuse running back, in for a routine pre-draft visit last week. Carter is expected to be a second or third-round draft pick.
Even with plenty of quality backs on the roster, the team looks like it will draft a running back somewhere in the upcoming draft. The only question is ‘why?’