Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Packers interested in Westbrook?

There was a time early in his career when, I suspect, many a Packers fan wished that Eagles running back Brian Westbrook would not be so good...especially, it seemed, in every game against the Packers.

The Eagles released Westbrook, now 30 years of age, in February. To date, no team has picked him up. There was some immediate speculation that the ViQueens might add him to their roster with Chester Taylor having signed with Da Bearz. But, not yet.

Now there is word the Pack might be considering Westbrook. He was always a solid back, equally good at receiving as rushing, which might make him an intriguing possibility for the Packers as a reliable third-down back. The catch is that he missed half of last season with two concussions. He's also absorbed a lot of hits over the years, in addition to the concussions. But if he passes a physical, perhaps playing in a limited role might be good for him and a plus for the Packers. The Packers have never been able to find a solid third-down answer under head coach Mike McCarthy's tenure. Westbrook might be a viable option, especially on a one-year contract.

You can read more about the Westbrook scenario here. And if you look at the results of the online poll as to whether the Packers should sign Westbrook or not...well, a lot of people think so.

Draft possibilities at running back
Of course, with the draft a little more than a week away, the Packers are no doubt considering their options at running back there, as well. Several mock drafts have the Pack picking up a running back in the mid to late rounds. Names mentioned include: LeGarrette Blount, Oregon (he of sucker-punch fame, whose early round draft position likely has dropped because of character issues); Joe McKnight, USC; Jahvid Best, California; Anthony Dixon, Mississippi State; Dexter McCluster, Mississippi; Charles Scott, LSU; Andre Dixon, Connecticut; Chris Brown, Oklahoma; Deji Karim, Southern Illinois; Toby Gerhart, Stanford.

We wouldn't expect GM Ted Thompson to use more than one draft pick on a running back, relying instead on his current roster (Ryan Grant, Brandon Jackson, Ahman Green, DeShawn Wynn and Kregg Lumpkin), possibly the pick up of Westbrook, and post-draft street free agent signings to fill out the spring and summer camps. But the Packers could definitely use a solid second back to Grant, someone who could push him, as well as substitute for him especially on third downs. The Packers don't really have any pure speed/juke backs on board. A change of pace back for the opposing defense to have to scheme for would certainly help open up the Packers already potent offense.