Entering his second season in the NFL, it seems the competition around Daryl Richardson to the starting running back position for the St. Louis Rams isn’t very impressive, making him the most likeliest opening day backfield starter in the post-Steven Jackson era, lining up at that spot in the previous nine seasons.
Richardson was a bit surprising last season, being a 7th round pick out of the unheard of college of Abilene Christian. He never started a game, but showed some impressive bursts of speed with 475 yards on 98 carries, adding 24 receptions and 163 yards in the passing game. Not star material out of the bat, but certainly promising for a team that was used to giving all their touches to just one player.
His competition for the position this summer is starting to fade. Isaiah Pead, also entering his second season, coming out of Cincinnati, was a disappointment last year, at least away from the field, leading to him getting only 10 touches, good enough for 54 yards. If anyone thought he’d be a decent competition for Richardson, his one-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy probably hurt his chances (he is still eligible to take part in all practices and preseason contest leading up to the season opener) of ousting Richardson.
The two aren’t alone. The Rams used one of their two 5th round picks on Zac Stacy, a running back out of Vanderbilt. Terrance Ganaway, another late pick in the 2012 NFL draft, didn’t get a single touch on the ball last season in three games, and is unlikely to be making any threats on the position at the moment.
The Rams have a lot of yards to fill, even if Sam Bradford can afford to throw more this season thanks to some better receptions and hopefully a better wide receiver crop, including first-round pick Tavon Austin. Steven Jackson was a guarantee, even far from his best, for more than 1000 yards on the ground. The Rams will be very happy if they can get the same amount from the group they have leading their running attack this season.