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Steven Jackson: Running Back of the Future

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Steven Jackson had an amazing year in 2006. Action Jackson, as the fans call him in St. Louis, picked up more yards from scrimmage then anyone else in the NFL last season for the Rams. Even more then LaDanian Tomlinson, deemed the top player in the NFL last year, after winning his first MVP Award. Action, surprisingly enough made the list of MVP votes with one, and should be ready for a lot more if he performs as expected this year in a Rams offense that ranked fourth in the NFC last season, and sixth overall in the NFL.

Jackson has a bright and talented quarterback in Marc Bulger, who has his options and uses them very well. This is all the more reason to figure Jackson as one of the elite running backs in the league heading into 2007. He has versatility in that he can catch the ball (Steven had 90 receptions in 2006 and three receiving touchdowns), and run with the ball. It’s always good to know you have a second wide receiver in your running back and the Rams can be sure they have that in Action. The three-year NFL vet has also shown his fair share of durability, specifically last season when he ran 346 times for 1,528 yards and averaged 4.4 yards per carry. Those are some amazing numbers, and this guy’s only going to get better.You might ask, is the presence of wide receiving talent on this team going to affect Jackson’s playing time? Well, there has been no evidence of that in the past couple of years. Torry Holt, the hall of fame wideout on St. Louis that seems to be an ageless wonder, caught 93 balls last year, dropping nine from his 2005 total of 102. And in that same year, Jackson had just over one thousand rushing yards. There was a slight drop off in Holt’s numbers as Jackson became more talented, but Big Game Holt still produces pro bowl numbers every year as it is.

Back to the running back of the future in Jackson. The guy ran for 100 yards or more in six games last season, four more than in 2005. He showed more quickness and reliability that he will have to continue to show in the coming years because eventually Torry Holt and Drew Bennett will not be on the team anymore as they are not the youngest receivers in the NFL. Jackson will still be there when they leave, and I believe he will continue to carry this franchise when that happens.

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