As impressive as fourth-round draft pick Johnathan Franklin of UCLA has looked carrying the ball -- his speed and shiftiness have been on display daily -- he appeared overmatched on Tuesday morning during a one-on-one drill that called for the running back to block a blitzing linebacker.
Franklin had all kinds of trouble with outside linebacker Nick Perry. To be sure, Perry has a 60-pound advantage over the 205-pound Franklin, but the Packers expect the running back to at least slow down the blitzer’s path to the quarterback. Instead, Franklin allowed Perry to overpower him. Later in the same drill, Franklin fared no better against rookie outside linebacker Donte Savage.
“I felt like the outside linebackers clearly got the best of the running backs today,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said after practice. “We were too high. We weren’t sitting down. We didn’t have our head up. So it’ll be good tape to watch. So that’s a drill I’m sure we’ll do again.”
Pass protection is important because Franklin is viewed as a possible third-down back in the Packer offense. It could take a while for the Packer RB hierarchy to shake out.