The St. Louis Rams are a team in full-on rebuilding mode, and as part of that reconstruction, the team selected University of Cincinnati running back Isaiah Pead with one of three second-round draft picks in April's NFL draft.
Pead will back up starter Steven Jackson in the Rams backfield in 2012, but just because the youngster isn't set to see the field right away doesn't mean he's without value to fantasy football owners this season.
Here's a handful of reasons why Pead should be on fantasy radars come draft day.
Isaiah Pead hasn't been in St. Louis very long, but apparently it hasn't taken the youngster much time to make a good first impression on both the organization and his new head coach.
According to NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah, via Rotoworld, Pead has opened quite a few eyes in the Gateway City. That includes the eyes of first-year Rams head coach Jeff Fisher.
According to Jeremiah, Fisher "sees some traits in (Pead) that remind him of Chris Johnson."
The University of Cincinnati may not be a big-time school, but Isaiah Pead showed off some big-time skills during his time there.
In three years of significant action with the Bearcats, Pead racked up nearly 3,100 rushing yards, averaging over six yards a carry and scoring 27 touchdowns on the ground.
The 5'10", 197-pound back also proved to be a more-than-capable receiver out of the backfield. He hauled in 85 catches for 710 yards and six scores over that stretch.
Steven Jackson has had an outstanding eight-year NFL career on some terrible teams in St. Louis, gaining over 12,000 total yards for the Rams and making it to the Pro Bowl three times.
However, Jackson has paid a high price for that success.
Jackson's 2,138 career carries are the most by any active running back in the National Football League, and many fantasy pundits have questioned whether this is the season that all that wear and tear truly begins to show in the 29-year-old's performance.
That makes Isaiah Pead, at the very least, a must-have fantasy "handcuff" for owners that spend a draft pick on Jackson. He's also an interesting speculative choice if you think that 2012 is the year that Jackson's wheels fall off.
The name of the game in fantasy football is winning, unless you happen to be a masochist.
That being said, if you play in a dynasty format, things are a little different. Not only must you attempt to field a competitive team this season, but you also have to look ahead, lest one year of success be followed by four years of futility.
As I mentioned in the previous slide, Steven Jackson isn't getting younger, and he's carried the ball a lot in his time in St. Louis.
At some point in the not-too-distant future, it's going to be time for him to pass the torch, whether he wants to or not.
The Rams drafted Isaiah Pead to receive that torch as part of a youth movement that includes quarterback Sam Bradford and wide receiver Brian Quick, which bumps Pead's fantasy football value into RB3 territory in dynasty leagues.
This is the age of the first-round quarterback, and we're even seeing tight ends come off the board in the first round of fantasy football drafts, which was once thought to be sheer lunacy.
With that said, take a look at the players that are still available at the end of your fantasy draft, and I'll guarantee you that the most picked-over position will be running back.
Unless you play in a very shallow fantasy football league, the odds that you'll be able to find a startable ball-carrier on the wire in midseason—should injuries strike your squad—aren't good.
That makes it all the more advisable to spend a late pick or two on a running back to stash on your bench, and Isaiah Pead is an excellent candidate to be just such an ace up your sleeve.