Let's hope that the St. Louis Rams don't come to regret their decision not to draft a running back this year. For years, one of the team's most pressing needs has been a credible backup behind their superstar Steven Jackson, whose body has suffered disproportionately as the only member of the team capable of moving the ball.
Jackson, as you may have heard, recently had surgery for a herniated disc in his back, an injury suffered last season. 2009 was Jackson's fifth straight season with 1,000+ rushing yards. It was also his third consecutive season in which he missed time due to injury, granted it was just a single game, but the red flags are still obvious.
Based on the report, it sounds like Jackson's surgery is mostly inconsequential, as inconsequential as any surgery can be, and he'll be back at work in time for training camp. Whenever the best player on your team has offseason surgery is cause for concern. That concern takes on another dimension when you're best player is the only player and has been the only player your team can depend on week to week.
By adding a legitimate QB in Sam Bradford, the Rams hope to get their passing game functioning. That should take some of the pressure off Jackson. Nevertheless, Bradford is a rookie, and as talented as he may be, it might be folly to count on him for too much in his first season. Hell, he's probably not even going to start right out of the gate. A better offensive line will help too, but neither factor replaces the need for a competent backup runner.