I'm not real high on Faulk going into my draft for a myriad of reasons, especially considering the word "retirement" is surrounding his name. Anyways, I have Faulk ranked in my 20-25 RB tier, giving him the benefit of the doubt that if he drops that far I would indeed have to consider taking him.
With all the questions surrounding Faulk, is this truly Steven Jackson's shoes to fill or does Lamar Gordon actually make it in 2004 as Martz's second option? Everyone seems quick to dismiss Gordon but he seemed to do alright when he played last year.
It's difficult to say at this point who is the backup to Faulk. Jackson looks like the heir apparent to be the featured back, but Gordon has filled in well for Faulk in the past. I think it all depends on when Faulk misses his first game. Late in the season, Jackson will be the starter for sure. Early in the season it's hard to say who will start in Faulk's place. Have to wait until training camp and preseason to see what kind of progress Jackson has made.
The latest Faulk rumor reminded me that it makes sense to draft a second backup to an injury prone player. Just like last season where both Gordon and Arlen Harris filled in, there could be multiple starters in St. Louis this season. Gordon can still be had with the last pick of most drafts so he's pretty cheap as well.
Here is a question... What happened to Arlene Harris? He had a few big games last year, but now no one is talking about him. Unfourantly for him, he will most likely be 4th on the depth chart, if he makes it through camp.
But to answer your question, Gordon will probably start the year at #2, but Jackson will almost deff take over that spot by week 7 or 8.
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Harris had one good game, and it was more by virtue of TDs than of yards, 36 carries for 81 yards is not a very encouraging yardage line. Lamar Gordon is alright but he has nowhere near the skills Jackson does, and it takes rookie RBs a lot less time to get acclimated to NFL play than it does for the other skill positions (QB, WR, TE).
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I have to say Jackson will be the #2 as long as he learns the offense - which I understand is tough considering Martz's immense amount of gadget plays.
You don't draft a RB in the first round not to groom him to be your starter down the road...so as others have said here, it'll probably be Gordon for the first half of the year, and then Jackson will be promoted by the end of the year in order to test his abilites in the offense.
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Funny that in the "Faulk to retire?" thread, people were commenting that Jackson will be the clear-cut starter if Faulk does indeed retire.
Is this because nobody wants to see Gordon starting?
That being said, I personally think that as soon as Jackson busts one big play, Gordon (and possibly even Faulk) will be an afterthought. That's exactly how Warner found himself on the bench. I know, I know, 6 fumbles in one game put him on the bench, you say - but I disagree. If Bulger had an even remotely crappy game following it, Warner would have been right back in. Lucky for Bulger, that didn't happen, and now Warner is going to be fumbling handoffs to Tiki.
Steven Jackson was very high on the list of rookie RB's entering the league. To many, he was the #1 back. His speed and agility suits the Rams style of offense well, and I'd expect to see him used early and often. If Faulk decides to play out the year, and the retiring rumor does not happen, I'd still place Jackson over Gordon. With Faulk playing, Jackson will be worked into the offense. Gordon doesn't need to play to allow that to happen - Faulk will give him all the experience needed. Now if Faulk DOES retire, that's a whole different story. The Rams may very well put a capable player in Gordon ahead of Jackson on that Depth chart and "seep" Jackson into the lineup. But I don't think Faulk retires this year, and so I have Jackson one step higher than Gordon. If any of that makes sense
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As said before, the Rams wouldn't have drafted Jackson unless they were planning to groom him to become their future starting back. When Faulk inevitably does go down, I see Gordon and Jackson splitting time for a few games. If Jackson steps up at that time, he will be handed the role of starter and will most likely keep it.
talent aside, this reminds me of the eagles backfield last year. Duce was the starter, but he was skipping camp and such, no one knew who would be his backup, most said buckhaulter. buckhaulter got some shots at the job, failed, and westbrook stepped his game up. I think the same will happen with Stl, i think something will happen to faulk(injury), gordon will blow his opportunity, and jackson will capitalize.