Green Bay Packers: Rajion Neal vs. John Crockett


Quarterback Edition

Its finally here.

The Green Bay Packers started training camp this morning as they took the field for practice at around 8:20. With training camp now underway, Lombardi Ave will continue with our featured match up previews concerning position battles. Today we look at the running back position and discuss the battle heating up for the third running back spot on the depth chart between University of Tennessee’s Rajion Neal and North Dakota State’s John Crockett.

Position Overview

As of right now it seems that the number one and two positions are slated to be taken by young standout Eddie Lacy and team veteran James Starks. This third spot on the depth chart is a huge opportunity given the team’s future of the position. Although Lacy seems to have the position as the starter locked up as long as he is on the field, the number two spot see’s 2015 as a contract season for Starks. With the possibility of Starks not returning to the team next season the third spot this year now opens the opportunity of this years third guy to take over the backup position next season. Both Neal and Crockett seem to have tools to be able to jump into the role and become apart of the organization for years to come. But it seems as if Green Bay will only carry three running backs moving forward. So let’s weigh in on who the Packers should keep by debating the pros and cons of each prospect.

Rajion Neal

Rajion Neal comes from the best college football division in the country in the SEC so he brings a better experience than Crockett. He was a 1,000 rusher at Tennessee and is capable of adding a consistent stability throughout the season. Is a very strong individual, who benched 225 28 times during the NFL combine. Aug 9, 2014; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans defensive back Hakeem Smith (38) dives for the tackle against Green Bay Packers running back Rajion Neal (34) during the second half at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports Has good acceleration and hits the hole very well, can catch passes out of the back field very well and can be a very good blocker out of the backfield. Brings in NFL experience has he was with the Packers practice squad a year ago and seems to have a very good head on his shoulders.

Although has good acceleration does not have tremendous straight line speed. Does not have as much experience as a featured back like Crockett did in college. Doesn’t seem to have the fire Crockett does and seems less competitive. Although he is a bigger back he does not bring tremendous tackle breaking ability. Had the luxury of running behind a great offensive line at Tennessee. Was cut from the team a season ago. Does not feature the ability to break long runs for touchdowns.

John Crockett

Tremendous vision and waits for a hole to open up, very smart with the football. Has a presence with the football in his hands that just seems natural. Has a quickness about him that is noticeable and brings more evasiveness than Neal does. Is more of a gifted runner and has the consistency that is needed to compete in the NFL. National champion in college so has the ability to be apart of a championship offense. Does very well after catching the ball out of the backfield. Very explosive and measured very well with both the vertical and broad jump. Has a chip on his should and has a huge desire to prove himself.

More from Green Bay Packers News

Not a good blocker at all, will struggle in the NFL his whole career. Does not have the experience of playing with the same level of players Neal did as Neal played in the SEC and in the preseason last year. Runs upright a lot and does not have a very good tackle breaking ability. Does not have the same amount of strength as Neal even out of college as their size is pretty comparable. Touched the ball almost 400 times last season so has more wear. Running upright as he tends to do could be the cause of an injury more so than Neal who keeps his shoulder down.

Bottom Line

Another tough choice today as I was not even able to make a selection yesterday. I’m going to give it my best shot today and say Crockett makes the team over Neal. Although I feel Neal has a more NFL ready body and mindset, I think Crockett will being something to camp that Green Bay will be impressed with even more. His ability to run patiently and the vision he possess are things that you cannot teach and Crockett is a special player when is comes to that. His upside and potential are more convincing and he is a winner already being a D1 FCS National champion. He seems to have more talent and I think with the coaching staff the Green Bay Packers have, Crockett could see himself move into a more significant role at a very special level. Although not drafted, Crockett was a high-profile player with a lot of teams being interested. Crockett will win the third spot on the depth chart within the next month and be a viable threat lurking in the shadows on the Green Bay Packers roster.

So what do you think? Do you agree with me?

More from Lombardi Ave