Eddie Lacy, NFL-Ready Back
Wednesday, February 06, 2013
I watched six Alabama games on television this past season and admittedly entered this Evaluation with a positive opinion of Eddie Lacy. One focus for this particular column involved attempting to isolate Lacy's run skills from his offensive line's performance. The Crimson Tide front five was the premier run-blocking unit in 2012 college football. Running backs tend to look an awful lot better with room to run, and Lacy often had the pleasure of being sprung into space running off the backsides of Chance Warmack, D.J. Fluker, Barrett Jones, Anthony Steen, and Cyrus Kouandjio.
For review and more intensive study, the first step I took toward that end was choosing games in which Lacy faced competent run defenses. I didn't want to see him tee off on Florida Atlantic, Western Carolina, or Auburn. So I re-watched Lacy against four top-35 NCAA run defenses, including three that finished in the top 20.
The first two aspects of Lacy's running ability and tendencies that stood out were his consistency in finishing runs and absolute refusal to leave yardage on the field. Lacy finished carries with violence and abandon. In an Alabama run scheme that went heavy on stretch-zone plays -- giving its back freedom to select his own hole -- Lacy displayed highly impressive vision and smarts. Lacy excels at reading his blocks and running behind them. An angry but intelligent runner, Lacy rarely if ever picked the wrong lane.
Lacy is listed at 6-foot, 220 on Alabama's website. I wonder if the school portrayed him that small in order to gain a competitive advantage on opposing teams' whiteboards. I'd be shocked if Lacy weighed in any lighter than the 230s at the NFL Combine, and wouldn't be the least bit surprised if he came in at 240-plus. Lacy is a very big back. He doesn't always run like one, though, and I mean that in a positive way.
Lacy consistently won in open-field one-on-one situations in the four games I viewed. I charted him with 16 "wins" compared to just four "losses" when he hit green grass and encountered the initial defender. [Compare this to UNC's Giovani Bernard, whom I charted at 5-of-13 (38.5 percent) one-on-one in the open field.] Lacy forced missed tackles with both power and elusiveness. He is blessed with exceptionally light feet for a big man, and his trademark move is the lateral shake to set up a spin. Lacy made LSU S Eric Reid, Notre Dame LB Manti Te'o, Arkansas LB Alonzo Highsmith, and Notre Dame S Zeke Motta all look genuinely silly on tape. Those four defenders will play on Sundays. Although he lacks the first-step burst of a Bernard or ex-teammate Trent Richardson, Lacy is nimble and moves smoothly laterally to his left or right. He can create space for himself in the running game. Lacy's yards-per-carry average (6.50) was pumped up by great blocking, but independently he is not a blocking-dependent back.
more: http://www.rotoworld.com/articles/cfb/4 ... ready-back