Yesterday we examined whether the Rams should select a running back in the draft to pair with likely starter Zac Stacy. Today, we’re going to take a quick look at the Rams’ need for a running back overall.
The answer to whether the Rams need a backup running back all boils down to how comfortable you are with the current guys on the roster. The primary backup as of right now appears to be second-year guy Benny Cunningham, who rushed for 5.6 yards per attempt and a touchdown on 47 carries last season. Cunningham looked very good in a few games – most notably in wins over Indianapolis and Chicago – but otherwise was pedestrian at best.
Daryl Richardson started the season as the featured running back but lost his job four games into the season. Once Richardson took a back seat to Stacy, the offense performed much better, which is not exactly a good sign for Richardson’s future in St. Louis. He only averaged 3.1 yards per carry on 69 carries last season and has yet to find the end zone in his two-year career. He also missed the last seven games of the season with a lingering thigh injury. However, Richardson was much more effective in 2012 as a wingman to Steven Jackson, so perhaps he could reinvent himself in a similar role next season.
Isaiah Pead might be the most disappointing running back of the 2012 draft class not named Trent Richardson. Unlike Stacy (fifth round), Richarson (seventh round) and Cunningham (undrafted), Pead was a primary draft pick. Selected 50th overall in the second round of 2012, Pead has done next to nothing in the NFL. He has amassed a total of 169 yards from scrimmage in his two years in the league and has minimally contributed in the return game. Had he not been a second-round pick, Pead might not have made the team last season. He has a lot to prove if he wants to keep his roster spot in 2014.
Despite their relative inexperience, I believe the Rams should keep running back as a pretty low priority. What’s more important is beefing up the offensive line to allow Stacy and co. to burst through holes.
Read why the Rams should just say no to Eric Decker if he becomes available.