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Thread: Rams seek running back
Rams seek running back
By Jim Thomas
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Wednesday, Apr. 25 2007
At first glance, running back is the last place the Rams need help.
After all, Steven Jackson is coming off a career year in which he led the NFL
in yards from scrimmage (2,334), caught 90 passes and made his first Pro Bowl.
But what if something happens to Jackson and he's sidelined for a couple of
games? Who carries the load? At the moment, there's a gaping hole on the Rams'
depth chart behind Jackson. Free-agent pickup Travis Minor probably makes the
final 53 at the start of September, but as a No. 3 running back at best and a
Rich Alexis, Kay-Jay Harris and J.D. Washington also are on the team's current
offseason roster, but they are roster long shots. Stephen Davis? He had some
good moments in limited duty last season and was an excellent mentor for
Jackson. But Davis has chronic knee problems and told Rams coaches last season
that he probably couldn't handle more than 10 touches a game.
Because of the knee issue, Davis couldn't practice much over the second half of
the season, which made it difficult even to spell Jackson on the practice
field. Davis is an unrestricted free agent, and if he's seen again at Rams Park
it's probably in one of those late August or early September signings.
Short of wooing Corey Dillon out of retirement, the Rams must find a No. 2
running back in the draft.
They had four running backs in for visits this month: Chris Henry of Arizona,
Tony Hunt of Penn State, Brian Leonard of Rutgers and Antonio Pittman of Ohio
Hunt is the most accomplished of the group. He's only the fifth player in Penn
State history to rush for more than 3,000 career yards. He's also a decent
receiver, having caught 87 passes for 792 yards. At 6 feet 2, 233 pounds, Hunt
is the big back Rams coach Scott Linehan seems to prefer. (If nothing else,
bigger bodies usually hold up better in pass protection.)
"It wasn't like we had certain backs play certain situations," Hunt said. "I
played the whole game, so I had to be able to run the ball, catch the ball,
block, protect the quarterback — I had to do everything."
The biggest knock against Hunt is speed, or lack thereof. He ran the 40 in 4.68
at his pro day, which by the stopwatch is more a tight end's speed.
"I think (the 40 time), it's a little over-rated," Hunt said. "I don't know how
much you can tell about a guy from watching him run a 40. There's no point in a
football game where you're just going to come out of a start and run 40 yards
Hunt may lack home run speed, but he did have 43 runs of 10 yards or more last
year en route to 1,228 yards rushing.
Leonard of Rutgers is another versatile prospect. He began his college career
as a feature back, rushing for 880 yards with 53 catches as a freshman in '03.
He gained more than 700 yards rushing as a sophomore and junior. But with the
emergence of Ray Rice last season, Leonard was switched to fullback and gained
a career-low 427 yards.
"Yes, I was the star running back for three years, but I embraced my role as
the fullback," Leonard said. "Making a block for Ray felt just as good as
scoring an 80-yard touchdown."
Leonard still finished with nearly 6,000 all-purpose yards, setting a school
record for career catches (207). After bulking up to 238 pounds last season to
play fullback, Leonard reported to the NFL scouting combine at 226 and ran a
brisk 4.54 in the 40.
Pittman piled up nearly 2,600 rushing yards over his final two seasons at Ohio
State. He has average size (5-11, 207) but is a strong inside runner who lost
only two fumbles in 557 career rushing attempts for the Buckeyes.
Arizona's Henry is another big back (5-11, 230) but runs a small back's time of
4.4 in the 40. But some regard him as a better athlete than a football player.
He had only 892 rushing yards in his college career, which was spent mainly as
Although he wasn't invited for a predraft visit to Rams Park, another
intriguing possibility is Florida State running back Lorenzo Booker, who's on
the small side (5-10, 191) but could be an explosive third-down back, with kick
"I've got an extensive background of sharing the ball," Booker said. "If you go
somewhere like St. Louis and New York (Giants), they've already got a guy who
can pound the rock. But when you have a guy like (New Orleans') Deuce
McAllister and Reggie Bush, as a defensive coordinator, you're pulling your
Carolina officials declined to comment on the status of any Kris Jenkins trade
talks Tuesday. But expectations in St. Louis and Charlotte are that if a trade
materializes, it won't be until Friday or Saturday. Kansas City, and to a
lesser degree Denver, also have shown interest in Jenkins.
Meanwhile, linebacker Brandon Chillar, a restricted free agent, has signed his
one-year, $850,000 tender offer with the Rams.
-04-26-2007 #2keith m. klink Guest
Re: Rams seek running back
ricky williams come to pappa .
-04-27-2007 #4keith m. klink Guest
Re: Rams seek running back
new orleans , had turf i think , i don't know maybe it was that grass that grows indoors , hydroponic's maybe.