The Washington Redskins hold the No. 13 pick in this year’s NFL Draft. Numerous holes on both sides of the ball could be addressed with that pick. One position that stands out over the rest, however, is running back.
Washington has lacked a true lead back since the early years of Alfred Morris. Gone are the 1,000 yard seasons from Morris, and the Washington Redskins have yet to find another back capable of being the ‘game changer’.
It is no secret that the Washington Redskins struggle with running the ball. The team under Jay Gruden has consistently ranked in the bottom half of the league on the ground. In 2017, the team ranked near the bottom at No. 27, their worst season under Gruden. Part of the issue is Gruden’s scheme, but more daunting is the simple lack of a quality running back.
Grudens scheme has never produced a quality running game, dating back to his coordinator days with the Bengals. The same issue has followed him to Washington. All the blame, however, cannot be placed on Gruden’s shoulders. His cast of running backs has been subpar at the best and outside of Chris Thompson, there isn’t anything special about this group.
Washington passed on top names in free agency. Guys like Isaiah Crowell, Carlos Hyde, and Jerrick McKinnon all have found new places to call home, per FanSided’s free agency tracker. None have taken up residence in Washington.
Having foregone the veteran route, the team will now need to turn to next month’s NFL Draft in order to try and find an upgrade to their running back corps. Newly acquired quarterback Alex Smith has always thrived with a solid rusher behind him. Having had rookie star Kareem Hunt, and future Hall of Famer Frank Gore in San Francisco to carry the ball allowed Smith to have some of his most productive seasons. Bringing in a solid running back will help take some of the load off Smith’s shoulders, and in turn, it could help his production reach a maximum yet again.