Colts Post-Draft Positional Review: Running Back

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During free agency, the Indianapolis Colts made moves to improve their offense by adding one of the more talented running backs of the past decade to the roster. Despite this addition, the Colts still needed to add some youth to the position.

Behind Frank Gore, the Colts had just Dan Herron and the oft-injured Vick Ballard. Adding a young running back in the draft was a fairly high need on the Colts’ list.

The Colts have desperately needed to establish something resembling a rushing attack to take some of the pressure off of Andrew Luck. The team has relied too heavily on the passing game and rendered the team painfully one-dimensional.

If anything, the Colts merely need the threat of a run to be credible just to set up play action. Luck has managed to set team records, but its been out of necessity as opposed to

Having a reliable run game helps the Colts in a number of ways. First, it will allow the offense to be more dynamic. Second, it will drastically help improve the team’s red zone offense (which became much worse once Ahmad Bradshaw was placed on IR). Third, consistent rushers can help extend the length of drives.

While time of possession is largely a meaningless stat (the Colts have proved that time and again), holding onto the ball helps keep the defense fresh. The Cowboys were expected to field one of the worst defenses in history last season, but leading the league in possession by running the ball it kept the defense fresh late into the game.

A lack of possession by the Colts offense in 2011 (dead last by a wide margin in the NFL) put undue stress on the defense. That led to the defense being on the field nearly 57-percent of the season. Even the multiple Pro Bowlers on that side of the ball could handle the pressure.

The added passers should also help out the Colts’ stable of running backs this season. With so many downfield options, the offensive coordinator will be able to use the pass to set up the run, much like the Colts did during the Peyton ManningEdgerrin James years.

Pro Football Focus provides the grades for players while Football Outsiders gives us the DYAR (total value) and DVOA (value per play).