Johnathan Franklin: How Will Packers Newest Running Back Fare in the Pros?

Ryan McCrystalFeatured ColumnistApril 27, 2013

STANFORD, CA - NOVEMBER 30:  Johnathan Franklin #23 of the UCLA Bruins rushes for a twenty yard touchdown against the Stanford Cardinals in the third quarter during the Pac-12 Championship Game at Stanford Stadium on November 30, 2012 in Stanford, California. Stanford won the game 27-24. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

With the 125th pick in the draft, the Packers selected their second running back, landing UCLA's Johnathan Franklin.

Pro Outlook

Franklin was the top running back on Matt Miller's draft board. I'm not quite as high on Franklin, but I do view him as a perfect third-down back, which is exactly the role he'll be asked to fill in Green Bay. 

He's quick and elusive in space and does a nice job of catching the ball out of the backfield. 

With Eddie Lacy as the feature back, Franklin is the ideal fit as the change-of-pace option and should get eight to 10 touches per game to give defenses a different look.


Fantasy Outlook

Franklin probably won't get enough touches to be a viable fantasy option, especially since he'll be sharing the backfield with Lacy. 

Even if Franklin averages 50 yards per game, Lacy will see the vast majority of the goal-line touches, which will limit Franklin's touchdown totals.

Roster Outlook

Lacy is built to carry the load, but Franklin is the perfect complement. They will form a solid thunder-and-lightning attack, which will make the running game in Green Bay unrecognizable from the previous two disappointing seasons.


Pick Analysis

This is exactly why Green Bay continues to win year after year. Ted Thompson is simply smarter than everyone else. 

The Packers probably didn't enter the draft expecting to land two running backs, but Franklin's value was too good to pass up and he fits perfectly into a specific role in their offense. 

There were other positions that could have been considered more pressing needs, but the fourth round is the time to draft strictly for value. Thompson does exactly that year after year, which is why he lands late-round steals such as Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang in seemingly every draft.

Grade: A+