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Draft Dose: Who needs a running back?

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Posted Feb. 18, 2011 @ 11:02 a.m. ET
By Andrew Struckmeyer

Ask most draft analysts, and it appears that this is not the strongest running back class to come out. There is no game changer of the caliber of Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson or Maurice Jones-Drew. However, there are a number of solid, grinding power backs who will get the job done, albeit not in the prettiest fashion. With that in mind, the fifth installment of the Draft Dose series examines which teams could be in the market to snatch up a running back in the first round. Teams are listed in order of selection during the first round.

Redskins (10th overall pick)

With RB Clinton Portis looking like he has made his last carry in the burgundy and gold, running back could be a logical area of need for the Redskins. However, the 10th pick might be too high for a running back like Mark Ingram to come off the board, not to mention the Redskins' needs at other positions, namely quarterback and the defensive line. The Redskins got decent production out of RB Ryan Torain this past season, but stopped short of proclaiming him the starter heading into next season. Don't be surprised if the Redskins find a value running back later in the draft — remember that head coach Mike Shanahan nabbed Terrell Davis in the sixth round — but it seems unlikely for them to go in that direction in the first round.

Dolphins (No. 15)

When Miami has been successful, it has been with a power running game, occasionally featuring the "Wildcat" formation. With Ricky Williams moving on, and Ronnie Brown coming off a second consecutive season where he failed to rush for 1,000 yards, the Dolphins could be in the market for some new legs in the backfield. Ingram is projected to come off the board somewhere in the mid-to-late first round, so the Dolphins at No. 15 could be a good fit.

Patriots (No. 17, No. 28)

New England has shown that it can get by with a RB-by-committee approach. However, after another early exit in the playoffs, Bill Belichick might be interested in finding a featured back. Danny Woodhead and BenJarvus Green-Ellis held down the fort effectively in 2010, spearheading a rushing attack that ranked ninth in the NFL. With two first-round picks, the Patriots could grab Ingram, if they decide to upgrade the position.

Colts (No. 22)

Indianapolis has spent its first-round pick on a running back two of the past five years, grabbing Joseph Addai and Donald Brown. Unfortunately, the Colts' ground game still ranks among the worst in the NFL. Addai has struggled to stay healthy, and Brown has yet to show the form that made him a top prospect out of Connecticut. If the Colts look at the RB position at No. 22, Ingram and Oklahoma State RB Kendall Hunter are possibilities.

Saints (No. 24)

New Orleans went through a myriad of runners this past season. It got so bad that the Saints were counting on DeShawn Wynn to carry the rock against Seattle in the playoffs, even though Wynn had just been picked up off of waivers a few days earlier. Reggie Bush is due to receive a large salary hike, and could be released before that happens. Pierre Thomas has been steady, but hasn't been able to stay healthy for an extended period of time and isn't happy with his contract situation. The Saints liked the production they got out of undrafted free agent Chris Ivory, but who knows if he can maintain that production over the long haul? Running back could be a good fit for the Saints at No. 24.

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