I know it is very early for this, but after the draft and the subsequent UDFA signings …
I expect we will keep no more than 4 running backs and 1 fullback on the 53-roster and 1 or 2 on the practice squad, more likely 1.
That probably leaves only one open spot – this is another position for which we have several potential (oops, some people dislike the word, but I think it is ok as used here) candidates for the one last spot, even without Donald Brown. They include returning RBs Chris Rainey and Daniel Herron. CRainey is a speed back who also is a good kick returner. Several people have expressed that DHerron excelled on special teams, and I thought he looked good from scrimmage. These two are each very good.
Right now the most interesting new players seem to be UDFA RB Zurlon Tipton and FB Cameron White.
Eventually if not soon, we can expect someone to be on the IR. In my opinion, GM Ryan Grigson did very well last year picking up CRainey and DHerron. We may need him to repeat that again this year (and every year, I guess).
Absent injuries, my guess, as I sit here now, is for either CRainey or DHerron to be the 5th RB/FB and ZTipton to be on PS. I slightly prefer CRainey because of his speed and kick returning, but in my opinion it’s definitely a close call. And we don’t know about ZTipton or CWhite yet.
I doubt we keep more than one (1) RB/FB on the PS, but I do expect one. I believe we are going to have very difficult choices for the PS. We might want 2 or 3 DBs (eg LPurifoy, MBurley, QCox, DMcDonald) and a DL (Zach Kerr, Tyler Hoover, NObukwelu eg) and possibly an ILB (AJackson eg) and possibly even an OLB (DAdongo, JNewsome eg). I think we have been keeping our 3rd QB on the PS. And 2 OL (JBreckner, TAustin, MHall, JHarrison, JWalker, UJohn eg) and a RB and a WR (JLenz, EThomas, GWhalen eg) and a TE (eg ESwoope, JDoyle) might make sense. Oh wait, that is already probably at least two too (ha 2-2 or tutu) many! Maybe this is a function of too much unfounded optimism at this point about the UDFAs and late draft picks. Of course injuries are likely to land a few people on the IR even before the season starts.
Three Sidetrips: (1) Does anyone know the rules about practice squad eligibility? For example CHarnisch will now be in his 3rd year, is he eligible? (2) Does anyone know the special rules about the 3rd QB? (3) And putting the two together, am I correct, that the 3rd QB can be from the PS?
We are all waiting to see how effective each of our RBs will be – for some, there is a degree of uncertainty about how each of TRichardson, ABradshaw and VBallard will perform, the last two related to 2013 injuries.
This is another position where we have developed very good depth!