As cloudy as the current running back situation with the St. Louis Rams is, there is one potential ray of sunlight peaking through that could make a serious impact in 2013. Many are curious how a franchise that had one workhorse in Steven Jackson carrying the load for the past decade will move on now that he is with the Atlanta Falcons. It’s highly possible that the team will rely solely on youth at the position and one of those youngsters could potentially arrive via the NFL Draft.
Marcus Lattimore was easily considered the top running back in all of college football heading into the 2012 season. His unique blend of speed and power was ideal as a pro style ball carrier which set him apart from any other players at the position. Even though his only full year in college was during the 2010 season when he was a freshman, he showed just what he was capable of that season rushing for 1,197 yards with 17 touchdowns on 249 carries.
Injuries have created a detour for the young back in his career as major surgeries turned his sophomore and junior seasons into shortened stints with just 306 carries for 1,480 yards and 21 scores in the two years combined. A gruesome knee injury this past fall led the back to declare for the draft despite not having his full potential on display. Now in the pre-draft phase of his preparation, at least a few teams are taking notice.
As you may have guessed, the Rams are one of two teams (along with the New England Patriots) to have scheduled a visit with the supremely talented ball carrier. Some have questioned whether or not he will even be drafted at all after back-to-back ACL tears in different knees. Clearly there is interest from a Rams team that would like to add a player with loads of potential for a discount price.
Dr. James Andrews has become synonymous with knee injuries and reconstructive surgeries around the NFL. He has tossed around the word “superhuman” like it is going out of style, but he also used that term to describe Lattimore and his ability to recover. Adrian Peterson earned that term and so has Robert Griffin III, but if Lattimore is anywhere near the caliber of those two gentlemen, he could be in elite company sooner rather than later.
The Rams may not have a clear answer at running back currently, but the draft could bring a possible remedy to their uncertainty. If the team likes what they see from Lattimore in their scheduled visit, who knows where he could be selected in the draft. One thing is for sure; after Jake Long’s marathon physical a few weeks ago, the Rams’ team doctors sure are earning their keep this time of year.