Packers 2022 NFL Free Agency Preview Run
With NFL free agency officially starting on Wednesday (but the negotiating window opening on Monday), here is a look at the Green Bay Packers running back situation. Packers Level of NeedSo long as the team feels good about Kylin Hills comeback from a torn ACL, the immediate need is nonexistent. Packers OutlookGreen Bays backfield of Aaron Jones, AJ Dillon, Hill and Patrick Taylor will return intact. With Jones and Dillon, the Packers have one of the best tandems in the NFL. Jones cap number will soar to a staggering $20.01 million in 2023, though thats <a href="https://www.hinyyankeesfans.com/new-york-yankees-jersey/aroldis-chapman-jersey">Aroldis Chapman Jersey</a> a long-term need much more likely to be addre sed through the draft.Strength of Free Agent Talent Pool6 on a 1-to-10 scale. If you need a lead back, youre probably better off looking toward the draft. But if you need a solid No. 2 or productive role player, youre in luck.Best Available Running Backs in Free AgencyCordarrelle Patterson, RB/WR (age 31): Its not often a 30-plus running back will top the list but Patterson is different because hes spent most of his career as a receiver and returner and, therefore, avoided the outrageous amount of punishment inflicted on a running back. In his first season with Atlanta, Patterson rushed for 618 yards (4.0 average) and added 52 receptions for 548 yards (10.5 average). That gave him 1,166 yards and 11 touchdowns from scrimmage. Of 50 backs with at least 100 rushes, he ranked 30th in PFFs elusive rating, a metric that measures succe s independent of blocking. He has always been an elite kickoff returner (29.4 average and eight touchdowns in nine seasons), though the league continues to make that phase of the game le s important. James Conner, Cardinals (26): Conner has gone from great story as a cancer survivor to a really good player. Conner rushed for 752 <a href="https://www.hinyyankeesfans.com/new-york-yankees-jersey/bernie-williams-jersey">Bernie Williams Jersey</a> yards (3.7 average) and 15 touchdowns and added 37 receptions for 375 yards (10.1 average) and three more scores. That gave him a Pro Bowl season of 1,127 yards and 18 touchdowns from scrimmage. He ranked 16th in PFFs elusive rating and No. 3 among all NFL players in yards after the catch per catch. Conner caught at least 34 pa ses the past four seasons with a career-high catch rate of 94.9 percent in 2021. Plus, hes excellent in protection. Leonard Fournette, Buccaneers (27): Theres nothing flashy about the 230-pound Fournette other than his ability to consistently churn out yards. In 2021, he rushed for 812 yards (career-best 4.5 average) and added 69 receptions for 454 yards (6.6 yards per catch but position-high seven drops, according to PFF). That gave him 1,266 yards and 10 touchdowns from scrimmage. He ranked 27th in PFFs elusive rating, and his 3.15 yards per carry after contract ranked 15th just behind Jones and Dillon. Rashaad Penny, Seahawks (26): A first-round pick in 2018, Pennys career was going nowhere fast with 903 rushing yards and five touchdowns in his first 3 2/3 seasons. Then came the final five games of last season. He rushed for 131 yards vs. Houston, 135 vs. Chicago, 170 vs. Detroit and 190 vs. Arizona. He had six touchdowns in those five games. He led the NFL in yards per carry (6.3), yards after contact (4.5) and elusive rating. To say Penny is a one-year wonder wouldnt be accurate. Hes a part-year wonder. He also has only 23 career receptions. Scroll to ContinueMelvin Gordon, Broncos <a href="https://www.hinyyankeesfans.com/new-york-yankees-jersey/jorge-posada-jersey">Jorge Posada Jersey</a> (28): A native of Kenosha and a star at Wisconsin, Gordon remains a superb runner. A first-round pick in 2015, he has 6,144 career rushing yards. In 2021, he tallied 918 yards (4.5 average) and 28 receptions for 213 yards (7.6 average) to give him 1,131 yards and 10 touchdowns from scrimmage. He ranked 14th in elusive rating and No. 1 among free agents in mi sed tackles. Hes a liability in both parts of the pa sing game. Chase Edmonds, Cardinals (25): A fourth-round pick in 2018, Edmonds has 1,551 rushing yards for his career. However, he set career highs in rushing yards (592) and rushing average (5.1) in 2021, and he caught a total of 96 pa ses the past two seasons. He finished 38th in PFFs elusive rating. With 461 career touches, hes got tread left on the tires.J.D. McKi sic, Commanders (28): A receiver at Arkansas State, McKi sic has only 979 rushing yards and four touchdowns in six seasons. On the other hand, hes caught 193 pa ses for 1,501 yards and seven touchdowns. He caught 80 pa ses for Washington in 2020 and 41 more in 2021, when he ranked 11th in the NFL in YAC per catch.Ronald Jones, Buccaneers (24): A second-round pick in 2018, Jones rushed for 724 yards and six touchdowns in 2019 and 978 yards and seven touchdowns in 2020. Rather than taking the next step and setting himself up financially in 2021, he was injured early in the season and fell hopele sly behind Fournette. He managed 428 rushing yards (4.2 average) and only 10 receptions last season. In limited action, he finished 42nd in PFFs elusive ranking, fumbled twice and was a liability in protection. Was 2021 just a blip on the radar?Sony Michel, Rams (27): A first-round pick by <a href="https://www.hinyyankeesfans.com/new-york-yankees-jersey/brian-roberts-jersey">Brian Roberts Jersey</a> the Patriots in 2018, Michels been good but never close to being great. His four-year totals include 3,137 rushing yards (4.2 average), 47 receptions (8.2 yards per catch) and 21 total touchdowns. Dealt to the Rams in 2021, he rushed for 845 yards (his third time over 800 yards) and set a career high with 21 receptions. He ranked 20th in PFFs elusive rating. Raheem Mostert, 49ers (29): Mostert infamously blew through the Packers with 220 rushing yards and four touchdowns in the 2019 NFC Championship Game. Injuries, however, have limited him to nine games the past two seasons including only two carries this past season. In seven years, hes averaged 5.7 yards per carry. If you could guarantee his health, hed be highly coveted. But, as scouts like to say, injured players tend to get injured. James White, Patriots (30): Whether its catching or blocking, White is a superior third-down back. In fact, the former Wisconsin star has more receptions (381) than rushes (319) in his <a href="https://www.hinyyankeesfans.com/new-york-yankees-jersey/phil-rizzuto-jersey">Phil Rizzuto Jersey</a> eight-year career. Hes got three seasons of 60-plus catches, including 87 in 2018 and 72 in 2019. He mi sed most of last season with a hip injury. Darrel Williams, Chiefs (26): For the first time in four NFL seasons, Williams became a key weapon for the Chiefs. His 558 rushing yards, six rushing touchdowns, 47 receptions and 452 receiving yards not only set career highs but were more than his combined totals from his first three seasons. Of the 50 backs with at least 100 carries, he finished 49th in yards after contact and 50th in elusive rating.