Offense-focused draft fails to address RB

The top 10 backs in the draft were gone before the Packers picked in the third round. So, they will likely head to camp with Brandon Jackson and DeShawn Wynn battling to be the primary backup.

A funny thing happened as Ted Thompson spent seven of his nine draft picks on offensive players.

While drafting enough quarterbacks to make Jon Gruden envious and enough wide receivers to keep those quarterbacks busy in practice — not to mention picking up a couple of offensive linemen with, shall we say, issues — Thompson was unable to fill one possible void on the offense: backup running back to take some of the heat off of Ryan Grant.

But, as Michael Buble sings, "That's how it goes."

The draft isn't like college recruiting, when if you need a running back, you bring five of them to campus. Sometimes, the other teams in the draft don't cooperate. Sometimes, players at other positions fall into your lap.

Thus, the Packers likely will head to training camp with Brandon Jackson as the presumed backup. Jackson, a second-round pick last year, showed little for most of the season, but came on late with a 20-carry, 113-yard performance in the season finale against Detroit. Also in the mix is oft-injured DeShawn Wynn and perhaps Vernand Morency.

The quest to strengthen that position started ominously, when five running backs were selected in the first round, including three in a row late in the round.

Two more were taken in the second round, including Rutgers' Ray Rice at pick No. 55, just before the Packers went at No. 56. Three more were selected in the third round, with Central Florida's Kevin Smith (to Detroit at No. 64), Texas' Jamaal Charles (to Kansas City at No. 73) and West Virginia's Steve Slaton (to Houston at No. 89) being the last of the difference-makers in this year's draft.

"There were some (running backs) that we liked, but obviously there was quite a run on them in the first round," Thompson said, "and where we had everybody else slotted by the time it got to our pick, then some of those guys were gone. It didn't play out at that position."

Steve Lawrence is a frequent contributor to E-mail him at

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