Franklin stands out in first padded practice of campSubmitted: 07/28/2013
Story By Green Bay Press Gazette

GREEN BAY - There are plenty of caveats for judging this early in training camp whether the Green Bay Packers significantly upgraded their running game in this year's NFL draft.

The team has practiced only once in pads, and even in that setting there's no tackling, which eliminates the crucial tackle-breaking element of running back play.

Still, it was hard not to notice Johnathan Franklin in the Packers' first padded workout Sunday. The rookie stood out most at a position that general manager Ted Thompson augmented with two of his first five draft picks this year.

"From what I've seen so far, it looks like (Franklin) is going to be a pretty decent player," said Josh Sitton, the Packers' left guard. "Haven't seen a whole lot yet, but he's a shifty little son of a gun."

Coach Mike McCarthy has vowed that the Packers will run the ball better this year than they have under his stewardship, and Franklin and Eddie Lacy are a huge part of that plan.

Lacy, a second-round pick, had an uneventful first day in pads, in large part because he had little running room on his three carries during 11-on-11 periods. His strengths as a runner also don't show up as much as Franklin's on the practice field. At 5-feet-11 and 230 pounds, Lacy is a power back who, if his abilities translate well to the NFL, will push piles and either run through or spin off tackles, which he can't do because there's no tackling.

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