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Johnathan Franklin, Eddie Lacy ready to run for Pack

Green Bay was a team reluctant to run the football last season. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers predictably killed teams through the air, but this otherwise dynamic offense lacked identity on the ground.

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Those days are over.

After using a second-round draft pick (No. 61) on Alabama back Eddie Lacy on Friday, the Packers spent a fourth-rounder (No. 125) Saturday on UCLA runner Johnathan Franklin. NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah had Lacy and Franklin ranked first and second, respectively, among backfield prospects, and both make the Packers a more rugged, balanced offense.

"This is one of my favorite players in the draft," Jeremiah said on NFL Network seconds after the Franklin pick.

At UCLA last season, Franklin rolled for a career-high 1,734 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns. He's a power runner with the ability to accelerate through traffic. Franklin's also a proven pass protector, which was an issue last season for the Packers.


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The addition of Lacy and Franklin puts the remainder of Green Bay's shaky backfield set on high alert. Alex Green and DuJuan Harris are fighting for their jobs, and James Starks might be on the way out. NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reported Saturday that the Packers have made it known Starks is on the trading block. We doubt they'd get much in return.

Green Bay vowed to use this offseason to become more physical.

The Packers haven't forgotten what happened in January, when the San Francisco 49ers rolled into Lambeau Field and ran over, around and through them. Stopping that brand of football remains an issue for coordinator Dom Capers' defense, but going toe-to-toe with a bruising running game of their own now is a reality for Rodgers and friends.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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