The Redskins need to produce more in the run game. Jay Gruden said as much, and so did Doug Williams.
As a team, Washington rushed for 90.5 yards-per-game last season. That ranked 28th out of 32 teams. Rookie Samaje Perine led the team with 603 yards, but he averaged just 3.4 yards-per-carry and scored only one touchdown on the ground.
Chris Thompson was the most dynamic running back on the team, by a long shot. He ran for nearly 300 yards, averaging 4.6 YPC, and added another 510 receiving yards on 39 catches. When Thompson went down with injury in late November against the Saints, the Redskins offense never recovered.
There is also Robert Kelley. 2017 was a struggle for Kelley, who dealt with a number of injuries, played just seven games and posted less than 200 yards rushing. Kapri Bibbs showed some ability late in 2017 and should get a chance to compete in training camp this summer.
That's the long version of the Redskins current running back crew. Yes, Keith Marshall is on the roster, but the 2016 7th-round pick hasn't played a single snap in the NFL.
Looking ahead, Gruden wants to add talent at RB. He talked about it last week in Orlando at the NFL League Meetings.
"It is OK for a back to run between the tackles and catch the ball. It is legal," the coach said. "[It's] harder to find those guys now a days."
Here's the thing that is hardest for Redskins fans to understand: The Redskins need help at running back, but that doesn't mean the team will invest the 13th or 44th draft choice at the position.
The Redskins do like Derrius Guice, likely the second running back off the board later this month in Dallas. And certainly the 'Skins like Saquon Barkley, but the crazy talented Penn State product won't last to 13. Plenty of other names are intriguing, perhaps none more so than Sony Michel, but don't overlook his college teammate Nick Chubb either. Players like Ronald Jones and Rashaad Penny have some brand value, but don't sleep on Auburn workhorse Kerryon Johnson.
Point being that the running back crop is deep, and while the Redskins don't hold a third round pick after the Alex Smith trade, Bruce Allen made clear the team would like to move back in the draft.
Should the Redskins move back, later into the first or get more picks in the second, then a running back early begins to make sense. If the Redskins gain a third-round pick, then it certainly starts to look like the team could add an RB.
Remember, however, Washington has taken a running back in the last three drafts. Marshall in 2015, Matt Jones cost a third-round pick in 2016, and Perine was taken in the fourth round last year.
When it comes to 2018, the Redskins made zero moves to address running back via free agency, even with some players the front office liked readily available. Isaiah Crowell fits that bill, and he signed a moderate contract with the Jets.
It's easy to discuss the hypothetical of adding a running back, then there is also the matter of roster construction.
Thompson is absolutely on the 53 in 2018. Perine probably is, too. That leaves two more spots, and a healthy Kelley will push hard for one of them. Kelley was the starter last season, and Gruden has been on record about how much he likes "Fat Rob" and his ability to make the first defender miss.
Asked in Florida about the notion of taking a running back early in the draft, Gruden seemed fairly dismissive of the idea.
The Redskins need a lot, and on some level, drafting another running back is a luxury. Gain more picks, though, and suddenly, luxury items become more affordable.
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