With the 125th pick in the 4th round, the Packers select Johnathan Franklin, RB UCLA
CAREER NOTES:Franklin was a little-known three-star recruit out of high school and redshirted in 2008 before becoming a four-year starter for the Bruins. He produced quality numbers as a freshman, sophomore and junior and needed a strong senior season in order to grab the attention of NFL scouts. That’s exactly what Franklin did, setting new school single-season records for rushing yards (1,734), all-purpose yards (2,062) and career records for rushing (4,403), all-purpose yards (4,920). Franklin thrived in 2012 as part of UCLA’s zone-read offense, routinely making something out of nothing with his fast, tough and energetic running style. Although he doesn’t have the frame to get much bigger than 205 pounds, he has good muscle definition and has stayed durable over the years, leaving UCLA with 45 career starts. Franklin loves to bounce runs outside with this vision and explosive lateral movements, reminding many of another former Bruin running back with a smaller stature, but very balanced attack (Maurice Jones-Drew).
4.49 40 yard dash, 18 bench, 31.5″ vertical, 115.0″ broad, 6.89 3 cone, 4.31 20 yard shuttle, 11.33 60 yard shuttle
- While Eddie Lacy doesn’t fit the mold of a Packers running back, Franklin definitely does.
- More of a one cut and go runner but shows some wiggle
- Runs low to the ground and gets lost behind his linemen.
- Great balance
- Good hands, is a option in checkdowns and wheel routes
- Not a burner but has the speed to turn the corner.
- Very thin frame
- Fumbling problems
Senior Bowl: During the week-long practices in Mobile, Alabama, Franklin quickly separated himself from the other running backs in attendance. He greatly impressed NFL personnel with his pass blocking skills, adding to his reputation as a solid ball carrier. He compensated for a lack of explosion after the hand-off with a good burst through the holes and the leg drive to consistently break tackles.
Franklin also continued to show natural hands catching the ball out of the backfield. “He does a really nice job of using his hands and his feet to block,” a team scout told CBS Sports. “He’s got good speed and is just big enough to handle pass protection. We’ve had our eyes on him for some time.”
COMMENTARY: Just like 2nd rounder Eddie Lacy, another player widely predicted to be targeted, albeit in the earlier rounds. Franklin provides fantastic depth and now gives the Packers a multitude of options in the backfield.
UPDATE: Apparently James Starks is now on the trading block. It’s probably unlikely that there will be any takers, so chances are good Starks is cut soon.——————
Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s AllGreenBayPackers.com.