Jay Gruden: 'Good possibility' Redskins draft running back early

Chris Lingebach
March 20, 2018 - 1:51 pm

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Running back was an especially challenging position for the Redskins to keep filled in 2017.

Decimated by injuries, Washington handed the ball off to eight different backs -- Robert Kelley, Chris Thompson, Samaje Perine, Kapri Bibbs, Byron Marshall, Mack Brown, LeShun Daniels and Niles Paul -- over the course of 16 games. Each time the Redskins tapped another warm body, it seemed, another one went down.

So, during an interview with 106.7 The Fan's Grant Paulsen and Craig Hoffman on Tuesday, Redskins coach Jay Gruden was asked a fairly direct question about the position, as it pertains to the upcoming running back-heavy NFL draft class: "Should we expect that you guys try to add a weapon that can help you and is versatile early in the draft at that spot?"

"That's a good possibility, yes," Gruden said.

Okay, then.

"You know, we have a lot of running backs on our roster," he said. "The good thing is we got to look at a lot of running backs last year, unfortunately, with injuries. Byron Marshall came in, and he showed flashes of being a pretty good player after we plucked him from Philly's practice squad, but he pulled his hamstring pretty bad. We got Kapri Bibbs. We looked at him. He did a nice job for us the last couple games of the year.

"Obviously Chris Thompson's coming back. Rob Kelley's coming back at full strength. You know, Rob had a really good game against the Rams, but hurt his ankle and he was never really full strength. Samaje got some quality reps as a rookie running back and did some good things for his first year. We expect major improvements from him."

"So we have some guys in house that we feel pretty comfortable about," he said, "but it would be nice possibly to add another, maybe a first-, second-down back that can give us a little bit of juice to help us out."

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