Najeh Davenport (Green Bay) – Najeh Davenport sports the rare
combination of speed and power at the running back position. Davenport has been
utilized as a fullback at times during his stay in Green Bay, and has the
athletic ability to be a powerful rusher for a team in need of a back. Injuries
have been issue throughout his career, which has limited his productivity, as
well as interest.
Until Davenport proves he can remain healthy and become a feature-type running back, he will be looked at as a depth player first, with the potential of being a stop-gap measure until proving otherwise. Davenport can also be an asset to a team on special teams, particularly in the return game as a return specialist.
Anthony Thomas (New Orleans) – Anthony Thomas is a between the tackle rusher with limited speed and quickness. Thomas does a good job in keeping his feet moving and leaning forward to gain positive yardage, but does not possess the power or shiftiness to make defenders miss. Though not quick, Thomas has displayed the ability to be an asset coming out of the backfield as a receiver.
Thomas remains a serviceable running back and will provide a team with solid depth. With his experience and determination, Thomas would be a quality candidate for a team on the cusp of the playoffs or playoff caliber team as insurance in the event a starter would fall to injury.
Maurice Morris (Seattle) – Maurice Morris has lived in the
shadow of Shaun Alexander in Seattle for years and now has the opportunity to
shine elsewhere. Morris has displayed the ability in limited opportunities to be
a fringe starting quality back at the professional level. Whether the success he
has tasted is due to the system and line-play in Seattle is questionable, but he
does show good awareness, pad-height, and burst to earn a legitimate shot with a
Due to the number of higher-profile running backs available in free agency this off-season, the market for a player such as Morris has been like-warm, which is a telling reason behind his availability at this time. With his overall speed and quickness, a team will sign Morris as a depth player, with the opportunity to compete in training camp for a starting spot.
Stephen Davis (Carolina) - Stephen Davis was at one time as good as any running back in the league. Knee injuries have robbed him of his reliability as a starter in the league, if healthy Davis can still help a team in need. It is unlikely Davis can play the role of a feature back for an extended period of time at this point in his career, though the veteran is of the belief he still can play an important role.
A powerful rusher, with sufficient speed and quickness to run off tackle in his prime, Davis was a punishing runner. In the 2005 season, Davis still displayed these qualities, but his yardage gained after contact dropped slightly.
Reportedly, Davis is expected to be physically 100-percent this spring/summer, prior to training camp and should gain an invite from a team looking to catch lightening in a bottle. If healthy, Davis can still grind out the yardage.
The question will be how long he can stay healthy?