The Jacksonville Jaguars have several needs to address this offseason, but one of the needs they need to think about is the future of the running back position.
The Jaguars offense has traditionally featured a strong rushing attack, but veteran Maurice Jones-Drew is coming off a significant foot injury and will be entering the final year of his contract. Jones-Drew has made it known that he would like to cash in when his deal is up at the end of the next season, but given his age and the diminished value of the running back position, it is hard to see the Jaguars breaking the bank next off-season to keep him in Jacksonville.
Up until this past season, the Jaguars believed that Rashad Jennings was going to be the next in a line of successful ball carriers. However, Jennings’ 2012 season was plagued by injuries and complete ineffectiveness. Despite being given several opportunities to start, Jennings only averaged 2.8 yards per carry. Now Jennings is a free agent, but has not given the new Jaguars front office any reason to consider bringing him back.
So, if the Jaguars are not going to bring back Jennings, where will they turn to find the future at the position?
Luckily for the Jaguars, there seems to be a deep draft class at the running back position this season. The best thing about the running back position now is that a team can wait until the fourth round or later and still get a solid prospect at running back.
Prospects like Joseph Randle of Oklahoma State, Mike Gillislee of Florida, Andre Ellington of Clemson, Montee Ball of Wisconsin, Jonathan Franklin of UCLA and Kenjon Barner of Oregon all figure to go off the board in the mid-rounds of the draft. The Jaguars could even wait to take a late round flier on a guy like Marcus Lattimore of South Carolina who would have been a first round prospect if he was healthy.
Regardless of when they do it, the Jaguars need to address the future of their running back position at some point in the draft this year.