The 2012 NFL Draft class looks stocked with running backs. This year's draft class offered teams a bumper crop of backs, and the next one could be just as deep. As far as the St. Louis Rams go, I would expect running back to be a significant position of interest.
Take a look at the 2012 running back rankings from Mocking the Draft.
Two games into the season, Steven Jackson has just two carries. Taking nothing away from those two carries, which average 28 yards and include a touchdown, but he suffered a strained quad on his first run of the season. It underscores the injury concerns around Jackson, a 28-year old player at a physically demanding position. The Rams did sign a pair of backups, but their limitations have been exposed. Cadillac Williams, also dealing with an injury, lacks the thumping ability of Jackson, the ability to extend runs beyond contact. Norwood looks slowed. They need a young back.
We know that a couple running backs drew some serious attention from the Rams this year. The Rams had Mark Ingram high on their draft board, and Mikel Leshoure was among their top five players when they surprised everyone with the Lance Kendricks pick in round two. It stands to reason that running backs will get a good look from the Rams scouting department this year...for obvious reasons.
So what of this 2012 group of running backs? Trent Richardson from Alabama sits firmly atop the list. Richardson has a skill set very similar to Steven Jackson, very similar. He's a first round pick in an era where picking running backs in the first round has all but ended.
Chris Polk is an interesting prospect with Washington. He ran for 130 yards and averaged 5.9 yards per attempt against a tough Nebraska defense last week, a game scouts from the Rams attended.
Cyrus Gray from Texas A&M demands your attention as well. He scored three times last week, two rushing scores and a receiving touchdown, against Idaho. He plays in one of this weekend's premier games when A&M takes on Oklahoma State. Gray has nice speed and burst to beat defenders.
LaMichael James rounds out the top of heap. Oregon's running back is a natural athlete, but has questions about his size in the NFL. Mocking the Draft compared him to Jahvid Best.