For a mid-round draft pick, expectations are high for rookie running back Johnathan Franklin.
Despite being the second of two running backs selected in this year’s draft, Franklin, along with fellow rookie Eddie Lacy, are charged with restoring the Green Bay Packers‘ running game to relevance. That’s no easy task. While more emphasis on the running game is strongly hinted at by recent acquisitions and pronouncements from Packers head coach Mike McCarthy, the Packers are not likely to become a “run-first” team, nor are they likely to reduce their tendencies toward multiple offensive formations and personnel groupings. The Packers will certainly continue to try to confuse opponents with multiple offensive looks that will employ several running backs on most offensive series and situations. In McCarthy’s offense, there won’t be one guy you can count on to tote the rock every week.
The good news for Franklin is that he is a different type (style, size) running back than presumed lead back Lacy. Packers offensive coordinator Tom Clements must be eager to see how they complement each other within the Packers’ scheme. With 4.49 speed and legitimate skills that qualify him as a three-down back, Franklin may very well be the Packers’ most complete player at a position where rookies can often come in and make an impact right away.
The Packers have today off after yesterday’s first practice in full pads. They will resume practice on Tuesday with full-padded practices all week, leading up to the Family Night scrimmage on Saturday.
Johnathan Franklin fast facts:
Size: 5-foot-10, 205 pounds
Jersey: No. 23
Bio: Franklin was a Doak Walker award finalist in 2012. He had 45 career starts as a Bruin and three career 200-yard games — two in 2012. He ranks fifth all time on the Pac 12 career rushing list. The Packers selected Franklin in the fourth round, while many had him ranked as a second-round talent.
Chances of making the Packers roster: Lock — Barring injury, the Packers have will not cut Franklin without giving him a full season or more to prove himself.
Practice squad eligible: Yes.