Over the next few days I'll take a look at each position on the roster, analyzing how they're better, or worse, compared to last season.
Who they lost: Evan Royster
Where they’re better: Well, it’s tough to say they are considering three of the four backs return and Redd has never carried the ball in an NFL game. He’s a little like the guy he replaced, Evan Royster. I like Redd’s tough runs -- there’s a passion you feel when he carries the ball. But we also never saw him carry against starters. Morris is just an excellent back and good fit in this system, a guy who understands how to set up a defense. He said he wanted to improve as a pass-catcher, both with his hands and his route-running, but he struggled catching the ball this summer. Helu is about the same: a guy who sometimes gets too impatient as a runner and instead of cutting back for good gains he’ll get a lot of two- and three-yard runs. Young gets a little better each season as a blocker and is a nice occasional weapon.
Where they’re worse: Well, see above. If they’re not much better because it’s pretty much the same group then they can’t be much worse either. The question I have is, do they have what Jay Gruden wants from a third-down back? He talked about wanting to improve that spot in the offseason and again this summer. Tough to say that they have. Helu can play this role and do it well at times. Redd’s strength is as a good runner in a zone system, using a combination of power and vision.
Overall: They still lack the Darren Sproles-type that they were looking for, but they have Chris Thompson on the practice squad. If he stays healthy then I’d imagine he’ll be on the 53-man roster at some point. He was on target to do just that before spraining his ankle against the Patriots. I love what Morris does in the run game, but the pass protection from this group is OK at best. Redd is good insurance, though in truth there’s still a little more to learn about him. Helu is fine as a pass catcher, but it’s not as if he’s been special in this area. Could do worse; could do better.