- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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Who’s the best No. 2 running back in the division?
There is very little experience here, with second-year players Donald Brown, Rashad Jennings and Javon Ringer in the mix. Also in contention for the prestigious title could be rookies Deji Karim and LeGarrette Blount.
That group has a grand total of 125 carries for 531 yards and four touchdowns.
Brown would be the choice for the Colts based on promise and draft status, but he averaged just 3.6 yards in a carry, 2.9 in the playoffs. He also had moments of uncertainty in pass protection, a major no-no when the quarterback is Peyton Manning.
I expect Ben Tate, the second-round choice out of Auburn, to start for the Texans. I think Steve Slaton would be in line to work on third down. If Slaton is healthy after neck surgery and if he can show renewed ball security after major fumble-itis in his second season, he’s my choice here.
He ran for 1,282 yards as a rookie in 2008, with a 4.8-yard average and nine rushing touchdowns. Another AFC South rookie to the north, the Titans' Chris Johnson, rushed for 1,228 yards, averaged 4.9 yards per carry and scored nine touchdowns in 2008.
A Slaton rebound to form might be a lot to ask. But for now, he gets the nod here.