When training camp begins for the Green Bay Packers this coming July, Packers fans will be treated to the most intriguing position battle in the team's recent history. Ever since Ahman Green left the franchise for the first time via free agency prior to the 2006 season, the running back position has been somewhat of an afterthought in Titletown, a development no Packer fan who can remember the days of Jim Taylor, Paul Hourning and the famed Packer Sweep ever thought possible.
Ryan Grant supplied a bit of stability to the role during his tenure as the starter beginning in mid 2007 until an ankle injury cost him all but one quarter of one game in 2010. Four weeks later in week 5 the Packers got a 100 yard rushing game from the man who took over for Grant, former 2nd round pick Brandon Jackson in an overtime loss to the Washington Redskins. The 115 yard effort by the since jettisoned Jackson in a losing effort would be all but forgotten in Green Bay if it wasn't for the fact that it was the last 100 yard rushing game produced by a Green Bay Packer, a startling 43 regular season games ago, far and away the longest such streak in the National Football League, and the longest draught by any NFL team without a 100 yard rusher since Ki-Jana Carter broke the Bengals 67 game streak over 15 years ago.
With all of the NFL highmarks Aaron Rodgers and this high potent Packer offense have approached in recent years, this is one benchmark Mike McCarthy and the Packer coaching staff want to bring to an end as soon as possible in 2013. With that in mind, general manager Ted Thompson tapped a deep 2013 draft class at the running back position not once, but twice in the first four rounds, selecting the 231 pound Alabama standout Eddie Lacy in the second round and trading up in round four to draft UCLA star Jonathan Franklin a smaller (5'10 205 lbs) but perhaps more durable option then the oft-injured Lacy. These two rookies will join holdovers DuJuan Harris, James Starks, Alex Green in what should be a very interesting, and almost inevitably controversial battle for snaps and carries out of the Packers backfield in 2013.
All of these backs bring a little something different to the table, from both a positive and negative standpoint, here's a closer look at all five backs. A sixth candidate, undrafted rookie free agent Angelo Pease of Kansas State will join the position group in training camp as well, and while he's considered a major long shot to make the 53 man roster, he reportedly impressed head coach Mike McCarthy enough during the three day rookie mini camp in early May with his natural running and cutting ability to at least put himself in the roster discussion, and perhaps no NFL franchise gives their undrafted rookies a better shot at making the opening day roster then the Packers, who have broken camp with at least one undrafted rookie in all but one season during the tenure of general manager Ted Thompson.