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Positional Power Rankings: RB packages

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The days of the workhorse running back that dominates the ball seem to be dwindling. Consider that last season only five running backs legged out more than 300 carries, while a decade ago, in 1998, the NFL's RB leaderboard included 11 backs hitting the 300 mark. In today's NFL, more and more teams are staying true to the numbers, specifically 300 (number of carries in a season that merit concern) and 30 (the hypothetical age when RBs start breaking down). The result the past several seasons has been the growing popularity of the RB-by-committee, which used to be solely out of necessity but now is deemed necessary by many teams in a league full of approximately 50-60 high-speed car wrecks per game for running backs.

Which teams are the most well-stocked at RB in 2009? For the purposes of our rankings, the goal for every team is to find two, if not three, guys who can come in and start in case of injury emergencies. In the best cases, each back can bring a unique talent and role to his team. And for RBs, youth — or more specifically lack of wear and tear — is more important than most other positions on the field. *NOTE: This list is for the 2009 season only.

RANKING THE NFL'S RB PACKAGES
No.
Team
Depth chart
Breakdown
1.
PANTHERS
RB:
DeAngelo Williams
Jonathan Stewart
Mike Goodson
Jamall Lee
FB:
Brad Hoover
Tony Fiammetta
Does anyone outside of Charlotte even know what DeAngelo Williams looks like? Maybe not, but someone put this dude on a poster — check his obscene numbers from '08: 1,515 rushing yards (third in NFL), 5.5 yards per carry (first among No. 1 RBs, only the Giants' Derrick Ward was better) and 20 total touchdowns (most in NFL). And John Stewart's not just a cable talk-show host. Carolina's No. 1A RB scored 10 rushing TDs and nearly reached 1,000 yards on his own. The Panthers also really like rookie Mike Goodson after his strong OTAs, plus Brad Hoover gives the run-heavy team solid depth as a blocker, runner and receiver when his number is called.
2.
VIKINGS
RB:
Adrian Peterson
Chester Taylor
Albert Young
Ian Johnson
FB:
Naufahu Tahi
Nehemiah Broughton
Kudos to Brad Childress for finally giving the game's best back the keys full-time last season, though many Vikings fans wondered what took so long. But Adrian Peterson showed he was definitely worthy with an NFL rushing crown in his second season. His only issues are an occasional case of the fumbles (which occur mainly out of fighting for extra yards when none are there, something that can be cured) and the eight-nine man fronts he routinely faces due to the team's suspect QB situation — thus, explaining Childress' dance with Brett Favre. Behind Peterson, Taylor is a strong No. 2 back and you may recall rookie Ian Johnson, who famously proposed during a BCS on FOX telecast while back at Boise State. Ultimately, the best medicine for this running game would be a legitimate passing game.
3.
TITANS
RB:
Chris Johnson
LenDale White
Chris Henry
Javon Ringer
Quinton Ganther
Rafael Little
FB:
Ahmard Hall
Casey Cramer
Whether they are called "Flash and Dash" or "Dumb and Dumber," Tennessee's 1-2 duo of Johnson-White may be the AFC's best twosome. Johnson enters his second season oozing with even more potential as a touchdown waiting to break loose, and White appears (for now, anyway) to have hit his stride regarding work habits. The Titans have plenty of depth at the spot, with Chris Henry a potential threat and impressive rookie Javon Ringer looking good in shorts this spring. Behind a mammoth run-blocking offensive line and stud fullback in Hall, the Titans are overstocked.
4.
FALCONS
RB:
Michael Turner
Jerious Norwood
Jason Snelling
Thomas Brown
Verron Haynes
FB:
Ovie Mughelli
For all the love thrown at the feet of Atlanta's QB prodigy Matt Ryan last season, none of it would have possible if not for the best free-agent acquisition of the 2008 offseason: Michael Turner. Formerly L.T.'s backup in San Diego, "The Burner" scorched opposing defenses for 1,699 yards and 17 TDs last season (both 2nd in NFL). But the concerning stats is 376, or his NFL-high number of carries — hence, the team's annual offseason pledge to get exciting backup Jerious Norwood more touches this season. We've heard it before, and yet last season the Falcons backup had the same amount of touches (131) he had in '07. Mughelli gives the Falcons a respected fullback presence, but injuries could really challenge this group.
5.
GIANTS
RB:
Brandon Jacobs
Ahmad Bradshaw
Danny Ware
Andre Brown
Allen Patrick
FB:
Madison Hedgecock
For a team that won the Super Bowl just two seasons ago, the Giants enter '09 with some big questions — and it's not just Plaxico Burress they'll be missing on offense. Gone is RB Derrick Ward to Tampa Bay, meaning last year's fourth-quarter shot in the arm Ahmad Bradshaw must prove he can handle being Brandon Jacobs' main understudy in an enhanced role. Still, GM Jerry Reese did a fine job in landing Andre Brown in the draft to help restock what has been a position of strength in New York and the anchor of Eli Manning's offense.
6.
CHARGERS
RB:
LaDainian Tomlinson
Darren Sproles
Gartrell Johnson
Jacob Hester
Michael Bennett
Curtis Brinkley
FB:
Mike Tolbert
Billy Latsko
William Rentmeeser
First off, L.T. is still L.T., and the ever-growing gut tells me that his disbelievers will be proved dead wrong this season. That said, look for Norv Turner to ensure that Tomlinson is not overworked and healthy for the playoffs for the first time in three years. The Chargers' coach has both speed and beef with which to choose, with his own pocket full of lightning in 5-foot-7 Darren Sproles plus Jacob Hester, a 230-pounder with kicks who GM A.J. Smith hopes is another Michael Turner clone. The Bolts are still trying to find a FB bonecrusher ever since Lorenzo Neal was not re-signed after the '07 season (and no, that will not be veteran Michael Bennett, a long shot to make the roster). But just getting the old L.T. back will anchor this group firmly.
7.
RAVENS
RB:
Ray Rice
Willis McGahee
Cedric Peerman
Jalen Parmele
Cory Ross
FB:
Le'Ron McClain
Jason Cook
For a team built to run without a healthy go-to back and with a rookie QB last season, the Ravens' running game was impressive in '08, ranking fourth in yards per game (148.5) and first in carries (592) despite being led in rushing by a rookie fullback. But many league insiders are questioning if veteran Willis McGahee has anything left in the tank even though he turns only 28 in October. Even if the Ravens were to cut McGahee, they should be fine with second-year Ray Rice stepping up as more than just a third-down back.
8.
COWBOYS
RB:
Marion Barber III
Felix Jones
Tashard Choice
Alonzo Coleman
Keon Lattimore
FB:
Deon Anderson
Asaph Schwapp
Jamar Hunt
Jerry Jones had big dreams last summer after watching his fellow Arkansas alum Felix Jones electrify during training camp and the preseason. But an early-season injury derailed what the owner hoped would be the ultimate backfield combination, pairing the rookie's big-play potential outside with Barber's grinding style inside. The good news from Jones' injury: Dallas found out that Tashard Choice had game, giving the 'Boys a solid No. 3 RB. The bad news: Barber wore down with the grueling punishment he created for himself, meaning Dallas lost their key fourth-quarter advantage of Barber cutting defenses down in the final 15 minutes. If Felix is healthy in '09, this backfield trio could be one of the league's best.
9.
JETS
RB:
Thomas Jones
Leon Washington
Shonn Greene
Danny Woodhead
FB:
Tony Richardson
Jehuu Caulcrick
If GM Mike Tannenbaum can satisfy both of his veteran backs, the Jets should have quite the running game for QB Mark Sanchez to potentially lean on as a rookie. Jones is hanging his helmet on the fact that he led the AFC in rushing (1,312 yards, fifth overall in NFL) and scored a career-high 13 rushing TDs. What he also likely realizes is that he's a dinosaur in RB years (age 31) and the Jets just drafted Shonn Greene in April as his eventual replacement. Jones' tag-team partner and return star Leon Washington is also vying for a new deal and considering a camp holdout. If the money issues are worked out, the pair along with Greene and veteran fullback Tony Richardson should give the Jets a top-10 running game.
10.
DOLPHINS
RB:
Ronnie Brown
Ricky Williams
Patrick Cobbs
Lex Hilliard
Anthony Kimble
FB:
Lousaka Polite
Chris Brown
Even two seasons ago when the Dolphins won just one game, the running game was the team's biggest strength with Ronnie Brown. Who knew his "Wildcat" ways would start the hottest NFL trend of 2008? Team officials are quietly hoping for bigger things from Brown this fall, with the RB rolling into minicamps in the best shape of his career. You have to credit Bill Parcells for keeping an open mind and reviving Ricky Williams' pro career, wisely as a supplementary piece to keep the focus and pressure off his sensitive soul (and that's not meant as an insult, just the reality). Cobbs is listed as the current third-stringer, but he's more important as a return threat. Miami could use a better No. 3 piece, but as long as the Ronnie-Ricky combo stays healthy (never a given for either), the Dolphins should be set in the backfield.
11.
SAINTS
RB:
Reggie Bush
Pierre Thomas
Mike Bell
Lynell Hamilton
P.J. Hill
Herb Donaldson
FB:
Heath Evans
Darian Barnes
Olaniyi Sobomehin
This backfield appears in transition with no Deuce McAllister tenderizing opponents like Rocky Balboa in a meat-packing plant. But coaches hope they have the NFL's best-kept secret in Pierre Thomas, expected to fill the void left by the Saints' all-time leading rusher. The transition began late last year, when the Saints finished 4-2 with Thomas' increased workload. In that time, he scored nine TDs rushing and receiving while averaging 15.5 carries per game. What about Reggie Bush? Listen, he's no bust because he's still effective ... for what he is, a versatile back who needs space to work magic. He's just not a true No. 1 back, missing 10 games over the last two seasons and never rushing for 4.0 yards per carry. Denver castoff Mike Bell is done with his fullback experiment, shedding weight to restore quickness and potentially adding depth if (or when) Bush gets hurt. But if Thomas can keep impersonating his mentor, the Saints have the inside/outside combo that worked so well for them in their '06 playoff run.
12.
RAIDERS
RB:
Darren McFadden
Justin Fargas
Michael Bush
Gary Russell
Louis Rankin
FB:
Lorenzo Neal
Luke Lawton
Oren O'Neal
Marcel Reece
Running back-starved GMs around the league will be keeping an eye on the Raiders' transactions web page, as there appears to be a few quality horses who may need a new stable. McFadden, who could be poised for a breakout season, and Fargas are likely safe. Now that he's healthy, Michael Bush is the great unknown in Oakland. He's shown flashes of his dominant college self, but enough to warrant a major role alongside McFadden? More eyebrows were raised when Oakland claimed ex-Steeler Gary Russell on the spring waiver wire, but credit Al Davis for a nice pickup with veteran fullback Lorenzo Neal.
13.
EAGLES
RB:
Brian Westbrook
LeSean McCoy
Lorenzo Booker
Marcus Thigpen
FB:
Leonard Weaver
Kyle Eckel
Marcus Mailei
While Andy Reid tries to once again coax his manic Philly fans to relax regarding Brian Westbrook's latest injury (expected to miss most of preseason after recent ankle surgery), the Eagles' multi-talented star hits the dreaded 30 mark in September. For the pessimist, Westbrook is coming off of his least-productive season since 2005. The glass half-full crowd notes Westbrook's stellar playoffs, and the fact that when healthy, he's still among the top 2-3 players with the rock in football. Westbrook insurance was drafted and signed in former Pitt star LeSean McCoy, replacing longtimer Correll Buckhalter as Westbrook's No. 2. The biggest difference in Philly might be the addition of an actual fullback, and one in Weaver, who has had success with the ball as a runner and receiver as well. But Philly's potential on paper could be derailed quickly with a Westbrook injury or McCoy rookie wall.
14.
STEELERS
RB:
Willie Parker
Mewelde Moore
Rashard Mendenhall
Justin Vincent
Stefan Logan
Isaac Redman
FB:
Carey Davis
Frank Summers
The Steelers have always been known for their defense and running game, which makes it so weird that they won a Super Bowl with a running game ranked 23rd in the NFL. Most of those issues can be fixed with a stronger offensive line, but Pittsburgh also adds (hopefully) a healthy Rashard Mendenhall to the RB mix. The Steelers' first-round pick from 2008 missed most of last year due to injury, but his presence should help Willie Parker stay fresh and quick. Parker is an elite athlete when not worn down but has seen his yards per carry drop in each of his five NFL seasons (down to 3.8 in '08). The days of his 300-carry seasons should be over, and for the Steelers, they need to be. Smartly, the Steelers have kept Mewelde Moore in the fold, as he proved a reliable insurance policy last season after Mendenhall went down. If the kid stays healthy, the Steelers' rushing attack should be back in the top 10.
15.
PATRIOTS
RB:
Fred Taylor
Kevin Faulk
Sammy Morris
Laurence Maroney
BenJarvus Green-Ellis
True to Bill Belichick's long-time M.O., the Pats have assembled several interchangeable parts in the backfield, which should serve them well. The biggest winner may be the former Jaguars star Taylor, who leaves one of the NFL's most poisonous locker rooms last year for one of the steadiest. The biggest individual loser may be Maroney, whose own injury issues seem to have cost him a chance (for now) of establishing himself as the every-down back he yearns to become. But for the team, all five running backs leading into camp have produced at one point in their careers, giving New England the deepest group in football.
16.
REDSKINS
RB:
Clinton Portis
Ladell Betts
Rock Cartwright
Marcus Mason
Anthony Alridge
Dominique Dorsey
FB:
Mike Sellers
Jonathan Evans
There may be warning smoke before a house-fire develops in Jim Zorn's kitchen. Looking strictly at his 2008 season numbers, Portis enjoyed his best year since 2005 — and a Pro Bowl one at that — with 1,487 rushing yards and nine TDs. So why was he benched at halftime against the Ravens during the Redskins' late-season freefall? That's what he still might want to know. The veteran back was quoted recently saying he and his coach had long since patched things up. Ideally, a more prolific passing game would open things up for Portis and running mate Ladell Betts.
17.
BILLS
RB:
Marshawn Lynch
Fred Jackson
Dominic Rhodes
Xavier Omon
Bruce Hall
Justise Hairston
FB:
Corey McIntyre
What was a major negative at the time — Marshawn Lynch's offseason suspension to start the season — may turn into a positive, seeing as it forced the team to add a seasoned backup option in ex-Colts Super Bowl champ Dominic Rhodes. The Bills hope that Rhodes and the elusive Fred Jackson can hold down the fort until Lynch returns after the first three games, and at least Lynch will be fresh into October. But Buffalo's starting Pro Bowler with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons figures to benefit from the addition of Terrell Owens to the offense, potentially removing one defender from the eight-man fronts he regularly ran into.
18.
BEARS
RB:
Matt Forte
Kevin Jones
Garrett Wolfe
Adrian Peterson
FB:
Jason McKie
Jason Davis
Will Ta'ufo'ou
For all the criticism GM Jerry Angelo rightly faced by sticking so long with headache Cedric Benson, he sure found the antidote in Forte. The Bears' rookie second-round pick ranked third in the NFL in total yards from scrimmage rushing and receiving (1,715) and was the team's leader in carries and catches, accounting for over 51 percent of the Bears' offensive touches. That's both eye-popping and alarming and also the reason Chicago hopes veteran Kevin Jones can help carry the load. Garrett Wolfe and the other Adrian Peterson give the Bears some third-down passing options, but one way the Bears could see even more success from the running game would be an improved passing attack from Jay Cutler.
19.
TEXANS
RB:
Steve Slaton
Chris Brown
Ryan Moats
Arian Foster
Jeremiah Johnson
Clifton Dawson
FB:
Vonta Leach
Fantasy folks know all about Steve Slaton. This year the rest of the casual football fans should find out, too. As a rookie in '08, the former West Virginia star rescued the Texans' running attack after Ahman Green unsurprisingly broke down again, with Slaton finishing with 1,282 rushing yards and 50 receptions. One of the better stats: Slaton led the NFL in fourth-quarter rushing yards by far with 464, including five of his nine rushing TDs. Now the team is trying to find a backup for him with Green out of the picture, with the brittle Chris Brown and Ryan Moats (a former disappointment in Philly) battling for the gig. For a team with big-time playoff aspirations, the Texans will certainly be watching camp cut lists and waiver wires all summer long.
20.
RAMS
RB:
Steven Jackson
Antonio Pittman
Kenneth Darby
Sam Gado
Chris Ogbonnaya
FB:
Mike Karney
Chris Massey
Jerome Johnson
Can Steven Jackson dominate as he did two seasons ago? The Rams hope so, with quarterback Marc Bulger recently admitting as much to FOXSports.com's Alex Marvez. It's as shocking to look back at Jackson's numbers in 2006 (1,528 rushing yards, 90 receptions) as it is not surprising that injuries became a factor under his heavy workload (missed four games in each of the past two seasons). The St. Louis backups are adequate for a game or two, but any Rams' hopes this season directly needs the old Jackson game in, game out.
21.
49ERS
RB:
Frank Gore
Michael Robinson
Glen Coffee
Thomas Clayton
Kory Sheets
FB:
Moran Norris
Zak Keasey
Head coach Mike Singletary has been adamant that the Niners must feed Frank Gore as much as possible. And if he can stay healthy, that appears to be a potential playoff plan out in the sad NFC West. Gore is the best player in San Francisco, but if he goes down, the 49ers could be 86'ed quickly. Robinson, the former Penn State QB, is no Gore. The team likes rookie Glen Coffee, but it's a bit early to chug a full cup. It's interesting to note how much Gore loves his fullback, Moran Norris. Before leaving his exit interview following the end of last season, Gore made it a point to ask Singletary to do whatever it took to keep Norris. Still, if Gore's not healthy, it won't matter who's blocking.
22.
COLTS
RB:
Joseph Addai
Donald Brown
Mike Hart
Chad Simpson
Lance Ball
Indy's 31st-ranked running game put too much of a burden on QB Peyton Manning last season, so the Colts looked to RB with their first-round pick Donald Brown. The UConn star is expected to take the full-time weight off starter Joseph Addai's plate, who saw his production drop in half in '08 (544 rush yards, five rush TDs) after a stellar 2007 season (1,072 yards, 12 TDs). General manager Bill Polian hopes Brown can do plenty for Indy, but as the Colts are currently constructed, they're a bit thin at the position.
23.
PACKERS
RB:
Ryan Grant
Brandon Jackson
Kregg Lumpkin
DeShawn Wynn
Tyrell Sutton
FB:
Korey Hall
John Kuhn
Quinn Johnson
How good is Ryan Grant? We should all find out this season whether or not it was a mistake for GM Ted Thompson to commit a long-term deal to Grant before the '08 season after what was then a little over a half-season of production in '07. Grant's overall numbers last season seem adequate at first glance (1,203 yards, eighth in NFL), but he has admitted this summer that he expects more than a sub-4.0 yard per carry average and four rushing TDs. If injuries hamper Grant's effectiveness as it did at times last year, Brandon Jackson proves to be a decent sub but certainly no game-breaker to keep the heat off QB Aaron Rodgers. While part of the Packers' running issues were hampered by a banged-up O-line, the group could use a few more insurance legs.
24.
JAGUARS
RB:
Maurice Jones-Drew
Chauncey Washington
Rashad Jennings
Alvin Pearman
FB:
Greg Jones
Montell Owens
MJD asked for the big money, and he got it ... and all the expectations of a No. 1 RB, without the safety net of running in tandem with ex-Jag Fred Taylor (now in New England). Pound-for-pound one of the NFL's toughest dudes, he may be up for the challenge after 38 touchdowns in his three seasons as just a part-timer, but his blocking and receiving should make more snaps a layup. His No. 2 will likely be FB Greg Jones, who's been part of past Jaguar RB committees and healthy after a injury-riddled '08. The team is quietly geeked over seventh-round rookie Rashad Jennings, a bruiser (6-1, 230) who was thought to be a draft sleeper before sliding due mostly to his college days at small-school Liberty. If this character guy (he's never had a sip of alcohol, wow) can play in the bigs, the Jags could be running 40 times per game.
25.
BUCCANEERS
RB:
Derrick Ward
Earnest Graham
Clifton Smith
Josh Vaughan
Kareem Huggins
Cadillac Williams
FB:
B.J. Askew
Jameel Cook
So Derrick Ward left a part-time role with the Giants — a bonafide Super Bowl contender — for another timeshare in Tampa, which missed the playoffs last year, has a 32-year-old rookie head coach and could start a rookie QB. Before we pile on, Ward did want to stay in the Big Apple but was told frankly by the front office that the G-Men could not afford to keep him. A shame for him becomes a boon for the Bucs' ground game, as both Ward and Graham could become a surprisingly successful duo down South. The big question remains the status of Cadillac Williams, once the franchise back who is again trying to recover from season-ending injury.
26.
BRONCOS
RB:
Knowshon Moreno
Correll Buckhalter
Lamont Jordan
Darius Walker
Ryan Torain
FB:
Peyton Hillis
After his nightmarish offseason, give coach Josh McDaniels credit for this: He and the team didn't mess around in the draft, grabbing the top RB on the board with Knowshon Moreno. The former Denver coaching staff endured the true mess from '08 when every Broncos RB suffered serious injury. Hopefully the plague is over, but the karma gods may not be pleased to see Denver respond by signing two backs (Buckhalter and Jordan) with serious injuries on their résumés. That said, if Moreno is the real deal and last year's summer sleeper Ryan Torain can find a niche, the Broncos could (stressing the could) be set in '09. Just cross your fingers and toes, Denver fans.
27.
LIONS
RB:
Kevin Smith
Maurice Morris
Aaron Brown
Aveion Cason
Antone Smith
Allen Ervin
FB:
Jerome Felton
Terrelle Smith
Well, at least Kevin Smith has a lot more confidence than short-term memory. He recently publicly predicted a playoff season for last season's winless wonders, which at a glance, appears silly and in the big picture may qualify him for the loony bin. OK, OK, enough of the cheap shots — he's suffered enough with the Lions (wait, there I go again, sorry). Smith does at least seemingly have the talent and potential to back his own game up, and this season, the Lions added long-time Seahawk Maurice Morris. But frankly, there won't be too many chances for Smith and Morris to milk a fourth-quarter lead.
28.
BENGALS
RB:
Cedric Benson
Brian Leonard
Bernard Scott
Kenny Watson
DeDe Dorsey
Marlon Lucky
James Johnson
FB:
Daniel Coats
Jeremi Johnson
Fui Vakapuna
J.D. Runnels
Chris Pressley
Well, the Bengals are going all in on Cedric Benson, having given him a two-year, $7-million contract this offseason. Whether or not that is wise or not remains to be seen for the former Bears bust, but it's still a reasonably short commitment — which will allow the team to cut bait if the former first-rounder proves a big tease. The Bengals liked Benson's production down the stretch in '08, but granted, it was against mostly limp competition. If Benson falters, Cincy will have plenty of journeymen fighting for backup carries this summer, but none who can truly give QB Carson Palmer the kind of balance he needs to keep defenders from teeing up on him.
29.
CHIEFS
RB:
Larry Johnson
Jamaal Charles
Kolby Smith
Javarris Williams
Jackie Battle
Dantrell Savage
FB:
Mike Cox
The big question is always with the mental state of Johnson, who has not even closely resembled the 1,700-yard back he was BEFORE he finally scored his long-term contract a few years ago. In 2005-06, LJ averaged 1,770 rushing yards and 20 total TDs but has failed to total that combined for each of the past two seasons (curse you, Herman Edwards). If Johnson is not the Johnson of old, the Chiefs would turn to second-year Jamaal Charles (respectable 5.3 yards per carry in '08) and Kolby Smith to hold up the backfield. But clearly neither would strike serious fear into opposing coordinators.
30.
SEAHAWKS
RB:
Julius Jones
T.J. Duckett
Justin Forsett
Devin Moore
Tyler Roehl
FB:
Owen Schmitt
Justin Griffith
David Kirtman
Where art thou, Shaun Alexander? Quite frankly, the running game could use an infusion of a few good men. Jones started just 10 games, but that was after he became a starter in name only in Dallas ... and he didn't do much to make a case for a sole role. Seattle has a decent short-yardage option in T.J. Duckett, who figures to see more carries with long-time backup Maurice Morris gone. But Seattle's offense has been a bit off-balance ever since Alexander became a has-been himself.
31.
CARDINALS
RB:
Chris Wells
Tim Hightower
Jason Wright
LaRod Stephens-Howling
FB:
Tim Castille
With all due respect to ex-Card Edgerrin James, the lack of a sustainable running game proved to be Arizona's biggest weakness last season. And by weakness, we're talking about a running game that ranked dead last in the league with only 73.6 rush yards per game — hence, the drafting of Ohio State star "Beanie" Wells with the Cards' first-round pick in April. While talented, Wells carries his own durability questions into the dilemma of the team's void atop the depth chart. Most expected Tim Hightower to win the gig outright when coach Ken Whisenhunt benched Edge midseason, but the rookie could not answer the call on an every-down basis. Instead, he seems best as a Marion Barber-light — a great changeup on an 8-10 carry per game basis. Arizona also brought in ex-Browns backup Jason Wright for depth, but all eyes will be on Beanie.
32.
BROWNS
RB:
Jamal Lewis
Jerome Harrison
James Davis
Noah Herron
FB:
Lawrence Vickers
Charles Ali
Here's another running back about to hit the 30-year-old mark (in August) that's possibly on the decline. Sure, he recorded his seventh career 1,000-yard season in '08 but only barely with 1,002 — and in a 16-game season, that's not terribly productive. This spring he blamed a nagging injury for his first season (when healthy) without a 100-yard game. Eric Mangini had better hope there's still some tread left on those tires, because there's not much backing him up. Harrison (a fifth-round pick in '06) has been intriguing as a potential long-distance threat but has never stepped forward and become more.
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