19. James Starks (Ray’s pick)
Do you remember Jahvid Best? How about Anthony Dixon? Or John Conner?
I didn’t think so.
They were all among other running backs taken in the 2010 draft before James Starks was nabbed in the sixth round by Ted Thompson out of the University of Buffalo.
Had it not been for the fact that Starks emerged healthy on the Packers scene just in time in 2010 as the rookie helped lead a late season surge and the franchise’s run to their fourth Super Bowl title.
Starks was hurt during camp and through much of the first part of the season, but because the Packers were down a couple of running backs that season and had been relying on John Kuhn and Brandon Jackson, Starks took the opportunity and ran with it all the way to the Super Bowl.
As it turned out, Starks only played three games in 2010, rushing 29 times for 101 yards, but it was his performance in the playoffs that not only surprised many, but solidified a roster spot for him in 2011 and beyond.
Starks started all four of those 2010 playoff games, rushing 81 times for 315 yards and a touchdown. His 78.8-yard average in those games lifted the Packers run game just enough to allow defenses to take notice and for Aaron Rodgers to take advantage.
Starks has had issues with injuries through his six seasons in Green Bay and it was the past two seasons of 2014 and 2015 that he played in all 16 games. In 2011, he played in 13; in 2012, he played in just six games and in 2013 he played in 13.
However, the Packers thought enough of Starks to re-sign him prior to the 2014 season to a two-year contract. And they thought even more of him to sign him once again this spring to a renewed contract.
Starks was re-signed to play backup to Eddie Lacy and has performed admirably in that role.
When Lacy came in as a rookie in 2013, Starks got on the field for 89 rushes for 493 yards, a 5.5-yard average.
Though his average dropped to 3.9, as did his touches (333 rushes), Starks was still a valuable backup to Lacy.
2015 was a big year for Starks as he neared age 30. Though he didn’t have a huge year, the Packers considered him for one more contract.
Nevertheless, Starks has been a solid running back for the Packers and one of Ted Thompson’s diamonds in the rough.
Next: No. 19 (Freddie's pick)