Saints try running backs with Tony Jones Jr. facing 3-4 week absence

We haven’t learned many details about the ankle injury Tony Jones Jr. suffered against the New York Giants, but ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Tuesday afternoon that the New Orleans Saints running back was facing a three to four week absence while recovering.

While New Orleans could get by with Alvin Kamara and Dwayne Washington in a pinch, it prompted the team to call in a squad of five free agents for practice while looking for a third rider:

Ryquell armstead

Armstead, 24, was a 2019 Jacksonville Jaguars fifth-round pick and has appeared in 16 games in the NFL, all with Jacksonville. He recorded 35 rushing attempts for 108 yards (3.1 yards per carry) while catching 14 of his 24 targets for 144 extra yards, scoring two touchdown receptions. He’s a good but not a great athlete with a relative athletic score of 7.74.

Brian hill

Hill, 25, has appeared in 45 games since being selected in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft – all but six in Atlanta. His heaviest workload came in 2020 when he ran 100 times for 465 rushing yards (4.65 ypc) and one touchdown, also catching 25 of his 30 targets for 199 yards in the air. He is a similar solid athlete with an SAR of 7.40.

Duke Johnson

Johnson, 28, could be the biggest name on this list. He spent most of his NFL career with the Cleveland Browns (who drafted him in the third round in 2015) until he joined the Houston Texans in 2019. He totaled 299 races for 1,286 rushing yards (4.3 YPC) with 8 runs scored while catching an impressive 307 passes on 400 targets, totaling 2,829 receiving yards and a dozen touchdowns. He’s a more modest athlete than his peers, but still quite good (ARS of 6.97) for the NFL.

Lamar miller

Miller, 30, was an elite athlete coming out of Miami in 2012 (drafted in the fourth round by his hometown of Miami Dolphins, of course), posting an SAR of 9.38. He then recorded 1,354 rushing attempts to gain 5,864 yards (4.3 ypc) and score 32 touchdown passes for the Dolphins and Houston Texans, also capturing 211 receptions on 273 targets for 1,571 additional receiving yards and 8 other touchdowns. But he only saw two receptions for 6 yards in a game with the Chicago Bears last year.

Ito Smith

My personal preference (Southern Miss, To The Top!), Smith is a 26-year-old veteran who played 35 games with the Atlanta Falcons, who annoyingly drafted him in the fourth round in 2018. He saw 175 runs for 689 rushing yards. (3.9 ypc) and a half-dozen touchdown passes while going 55 of 72 as a receiver, gaining 314 yards in the air. Unfortunately for my personal rooting interests, he is the least productive and least athletic player on this list, with an EDR of just 6.26.

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