2008 NFL Free Agents-Running Backs

Scout.com's Adam Caplan takes a look at the free agent class of 2008 with an inside look at each position. We continue along with this week's version with running backs.

Michael Turner/San Diego Chargers (UFA) - The Chargers liked Turner so much that they decided against trading him away for a first-round pick earlier this year when he was a restricted free agent. Turner is averaging less than four carries/game but NFL scouts love Turner's power and surprisingly good speed and ability to get to the second level on his carries. He fits a power rushing scheme quite well and turns 26 years old in February. The powerfully built, four-year veteran hasn't had many injuries in his career so durability shouldn't be an issue.

Jamal Lewis/Cleveland Browns (UFA) - The eight-year veteran back signed a one-year deal with Cleveland this year and Lewis has proven he still has something left in the tank. Since his career season back in 2001, Lewis has seen a drop in yards per carry until this season. While his weight seems to be a constant issue, he seems to be moving better than he has in recent years. Lewis turns 29 in August so it's hard to see a team or even Cleveland offering him more than a few years in a deal. But Lewis could be a solution for a power running team for a few seasons while a younger back is groomed to eventually take over.

Julius Jones/Dallas Cowboys (UFA) - The fourth-year back burst on the scene in his rookie season and put up big numbers but a shoulder injury limited him to just half a season. Jones has been somewhat of an underachiever but has shown to have decent upside. He's a speedy inside runner who can get to the second level but continues to have inconsistent performances. Teams might see him as a rotational back rather than a starter at this point.

Justin Fargas/Oakland Raiders (UFA) - It was believed Fargas wouldn't be a factor for the team again this season but the change in coaches brought an offensive change in philosophy. The team uses a zone blocking scheme which has turned out to be a really good fit for the talent that Fargas brings to the table. Fargas has shown the ability to fit the one-cut, down hill scheme well and has averaged 106 yards/game in his five starts. And Fargas has proven he can handle a lot of carries as he's had six games of 20 carries or more. The fifth-year back turns 28 in January so that could prevent him from long-term deal but he certainly offers a team that uses a zone blocking scheme a solid veteran who could handle 15-20 carries/game.


Others Backs That Might Receive Some Interest

Chris Brown/Tennessee Titans (UFA) - He's had his share of injuries but Brown is a cutting and slashing type of back that is a nice change of pace to a bigger starting back.

Ron Dayne/Houston Texans (UFA) - The former first-round pick showed this season that he could do a nice job filling in for a starting back. Dayne could be a nice No. 2 back for a team.

Derrick Ward/New York Giants (UFA) - The former undrafted free agent looked very good in extended playing time this season and he showed solid versatility in the passing game. He should be a solid No. 2 back for a team.

T.J. Duckett/Detroit Lions (UFA) - The former first-round pick is a straight away power runner who is best used in short-yardage situations.
Vernand Morency/Green Bay Packers(RFA) - He was given a chance to start but a knee injury suffered earlier this season has limited his playing time.
Musa Smith/Baltimore Ravens (UFA) - Decent backup with some speed and upside but injuries have hampered his career.
Mewelde Moore/Minnesota Vikings (UFA) - Change of pace back that can return kicks.
Artose Pinner/Atlanta Falcons (UFA) - Power back that could challenge for a No. 3 role.
Maurice Hicks/San Francisco 49ers (UFA) - Decent option for a No. 3 role.
LaBrandon Toefield/Jacksonville Jaguars (UFA) - Power back that could challenge for a No. 3 role.
Tyson Thompson/Dallas Cowboys (RFA) - Showed a little flash last season but hasn't done much in 2007.


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