As we look at the gaping holes regarding depth at the runningback position, we need to first examine the boys up front along the offensive line. How many returning starters are a certainty? One. LT Eugene Monroe. Monroe played at a near Pro Bowl-caliber level in 2012 stonewalling Vikings star DE Jared Allen as well as Bears star DE Julius Peppers. All other players along the offensive line are question marks, with RG Uche Nwaneri the most likely of the leftovers to return.
Now, on to the RB position. From Fred Taylor to Maurice Jones-Drew the RB position, in recent years, constantly supplied the Jaguars with consistent upper tier production. Once Fred Taylor got his walking papers, Jones-Drew took over and never looked back. MJD gave the Jaguars consistency with over 1,300 yards rushing in 3 straight seasons to culminate with the NFL Rushing Title in 2011. The 2012 season brought holdouts, injuries and largely nothing but disappointment from backups that attempted to fill the void left from the foot injury suffered by Jones-Drew.
I planned to write this article a few days ago and prepare fans for the idea of Chris "Beanie" Wells serving a backup role under Jones-Drew but after the solid play from Keith Toston and the uncertainty regarding the now past-due front office shake-up, I'm not sure what could happen. I find this to be equally nerve-wracking and exciting.
Wells, if signed, could provide an average to above-average back on the roster behind Jones-Drew, however if the the new executives in place decide that MJD's worth on the trade market could serve the team more than his worth on the field...well, we've got even more immediate questions.
Don't get me wrong, good could come from trading the superstar to another team but questions would arise. Who would carry the team? There's no current QB that's proven capable. There's no RB that's consistently proven capable of carrying the team. There's no coach, gm or anything really proven on this roster outside of MJD, Cecil Shorts III and at times Justin Blackmon.
Then there's that whole lack of an O-line. I don't envy the position of the new Jaguars staff, sure to arrive imminently. I just want us, as fans, to be prepared to study RB's in the upcoming draft a little bit more seriously than we are used to.
Who knows? Maybe Keith Toston is the new Arian Foster.