Conventional wisdom told us that entering the 2017 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers were in need of defensive help and looking for some Running Backs. Hence, general manager Ted Thompson did his due diligence and wound up addressing both issues. The team traded out of the first round (with help from the Cleveland Browns) and added a total of 10 players during the three-day process. Thompson used his first four selections on defense and the final six choices to add some more play-makers and depth to the offensive side of the football. And three of those half-dozen picks on offense were used to bolster the backfield.

Who they added

As previously mentioned, the defending NFC North champions used their early draft picks on defense. The Green Bay Packers added cornerback Kevin King (Washington) and safety Josh Jones (North Carolina State) in the second round, defensive end Montravius Adams (Auburn) in the third and outside linebacker Vince Biegel (Wisconsin) one round later. But it was a trio of running backs that head coach Mike McCarthy is hoping can spell Ty Montgomery on occasion and give quarterback Aaron Rodgers some additional options. With their second fourth-round pick, the Pack opted for BYU’s Jamaal Williams. In the fifth round, UTEP’s Aaron Jones was the choice. And in round seven, Green Bay grabbed Utah State’s Devante Mays.

Shortly after the draft, the Packers released both Christine Michael and Don Jackson. The former ran 31 times for 114 yards and one touchdown with McCarthy’s team this past season. Jackson chipped in with 10 carries for 32 yards but like many Green Bay running backs in 2016 was bitten by the injury bug.

This season’s contributions

The decision to make Montgomery a full-time running back this offseason now makes even more sense given the Green Bay Packers’ recent moves in the draft. The additions of Williams, Jones and Mays give the team a lot of fresh legs and enable McCarthy to employ a backfield-by-committee if he so desires.

In 2016, running back Eddie Lacy played in only five games. This offseason, he signed with the Seattle Seahawks. James Starks spent seven seasons with the Packers but was released this offseason. All told, the Pack ranked 20th in the NFL in rushing offense this past season and the lack of offensive balance proved costly when it came getting back to the Super Bowl. And getting that ground attack in order can only help the team’s shaky defense, one that has been an issue for too many seasons. At the moment, things are looking up for the Packers when it comes to the running game.

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