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Why Johnathan Franklin Will Start over Eddie Lacy for the Green Bay Packers

Don't be surprised if Johnathan Franklin becomes the Packers' starting running back from day one.
Don't be surprised if Johnathan Franklin becomes the Packers' starting running back from day one.Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Matt SteinCorrespondent IIMay 2, 2013

The Green Bay Packers drafted two running backs in the 2013 NFL draft. They selected Eddie Lacy in the second round and then came back and took Johnathan Franklin in the fourth round.

While many Packers' fans were excited about Lacy becoming the team's No. 1 running back, the name they'll really want to be aware of is Franklin. Let's break down why Franklin should start from day one over Lacy.


Injury History

Let's start with one of the main reasons why Lacy was even available late in the second round for the Packers to draft him; his recent string of injuries.

It started with a hamstring injury before the 2013 NFL combine. Then reports came out after the NFL draft that the Pittsburgh Steelers took Lacy off their draft board completely due to worries about a toe injury stemming back from the 2011 season.

Adam Caplan, an analyst for, gave us some insight on why Lacy wasn't drafted in the first round:

Former NFL player Shaun King, and current college analyst for Fox Sports Net, also told us what he was hearing about Lacy's injuries:

Simply put, Lacy has injury concerns that need to be addressed. Franklin, on the other hand, has never had a serious injury during his collegiate career.


Playmaking Abilities

While it's certainly possible that Lacy will be at 100 percent health for the start of the 2013 season, the main reason why Franklin will start over Lacy is because he's a better all-around playmaker.

Where Lacy uses his strength and power to do damage on the ground, Franklin has better speed, quickness and agility than Lacy. He's more dangerous in the open field and more of a home run threat than Lacy.

In the short video above, it's easy to see just how dynamic of a player that Franklin is. So, not only is Franklin a better playmaker in the open field, but he's also just as good a receiver out of the backfield and just as solid in pass protection as Lacy.


Overall Talent

Even before the draft, Franklin was considered by many to be the better running back than Lacy. Tony Pauline of let us know that NFL teams even placed Franklin above Lacy:

Even Bleacher Report's own NFL draft lead writer, Matt Miller, had Franklin as his top running back heading into the draft:

In terms of how this talent produced on the field in terms of statistics, Franklin was just as good, if not better, than Lacy in every statistical category during the 2012 season:

Player Attempts Rushing Yards Yards Per Carry Receptions Receiving Yards Total TDs
Lacy 204 1,322 6.5 22 189 19
Franklin 282 1,734 6.1 33 323 15

While Franklin had more attempts than Lacy, he also didn't have the luxury of running behind the greatest offensive line in all of college football.

All in all, Franklin possesses better playmaking abilities than Lacy, put up just as good statistics and is less of an injury risk. He's not only talented enough to see playing time as a rookie, but he's talented enough to start from day one over Lacy.

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