Is DuJuan Harris Done?
Security is a fickle thing in the NFL. Six months ago, you'd have said DuJuan Harris was a mortal lock to be in the mix as the Packers' starting running back going into this season. Now, he might be a few short weeks from looking for a new job. Don't believe it? We've covered it before, but let's do a little positional math. The Packers are carrying six running backs right now: Alex Green, James Starks, Harris, Eddie Lacy, Johnathan Franklin, and Angelo Pease. They're obviously not going to keep all six, and four would probably be considered a generous allotment of roster real estate. But for sake of argument, let's assume four running backs will be on the roster at the end of camp.
Lacy and Franklin are all but shoo-ins for two spots. You don't cut second round picks after training camp and Franklin has shown enough already to merit a spot. That leaves two remaining spots. Pease likely won't leapfrog three veterans, so the final two will come down to Green, Starks, and Harris.
Green's knee is finally at full strength, and Starks is completely healthy too, although knowing him he could have an entire leg fall of while walking to practice tomorrow. Regardless, both Green and Starks have experience in the system and finally seem to be making full use of their immense physical gifts.
That leaves DuJuan Harris, who hasn't practiced yet due to a mysterious knee injury. The Journal Sentinel reports that Harris "won't say exactly [what it is] and Packers have not been forthcoming with anything more than the fact he has a knee injury." The Packers will say, through Mike McCarthy, that Harris could miss 2-3 weeks with the injury, which might be enough to put him out of the running back competition for good.
Hypothetically, if Green and Starks continue at their current level, there may be no reason to keep Harris around. As we've previously noted, Harris' numbers come from a pretty small sample size, and even within the small samples, a few long-ish runs may have inflated his yards per carry numbers. It wouldn't be overwhelmingly difficult for the two bigger backs to produce similar numbers.
Harris' best hope might be to stay on the Physically Unable to Perform list for the first six weeks of the season. After that, the Packers will have the opportunity to evaluate him for a couple weeks before sending him to IR, putting him of the active roster, or cutting him.
But there's also a possibility the Packers may see enough from everyone else over the next few weeks that even a healthy DuJuan Harris just isn't that valuable. Though he may have been a late season hero in 2012, Harris could be a roster casualty in 2013.