NFL Draft 2013: Teams That Must Go After Eddie Lacy
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Alabama's redshirt junior running back has not yet entered the 2013 NFL Draft, but his stock has never been higher. According to CBS Sports, Lacy was the second-ranked running back prospect even before he gashed Notre Dame with 20 carries for 140 yards and two total touchdowns.
Listed at 5'10, 220 pounds, it shouldn't surprise teams that Lacy was a load for Notre Dame to take down. That said, he made a very talented linebacking corps look silly with his burst, vision and elusiveness, qualities he could not display when he was banged up earlier in the season.
Lacy turned the National Championship into his own personal showcase, inserting himself into the conversation of potential first-round pick. A few NFL teams must take notice.
If Lacy is still around in the early second round, the Arizona Cardinals ought to snap him up.
The Cardinals finished dead last in the NFL in both rushing yards and yards per carry. With Beanie Wells telling ESPN his departure from Arizona is "inevitable," the league's worst rushing attack is left with the undersized LaRod Stephens-Howling as the best bet out of the backfield, with William Powell serving as backup.
Enter Lacy, who has the physicality and mentality as a runner to stand up to some hits, which is necessary for any Cardinals back. He'd be able to produce even as Arizona tries to repair its suspect offensive line, a vital area for a rebuilding team to target.
Arizona's offense was a mess in 2012. A steady running game would do wonders to shore it up.
New York Jets
If the New York Jets want to regain their smash-mouth running game, they need a new face in their backfield.
Shonn Greene posted his second consecutive 1,000-yard rushing season, but he only registered 3.9 yards per carry, the lowest mark of his career.
Although the Jets o-line took a step back in 2012, Greene did not help matters. The big running back consistently falls forward for extra yardage, but he doesn't break many tackles or make defenders miss. He just doesn't have what it takes to be a top rushing option.
Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight have shown glimpses of promise as change-of-pace backs, but the Jets need a more reliable workhorse and Lacy fits that profile perfectly.
With the 24th pick in the first round, the Indianapolis Colts are the earliest team to likely look at Lacy.
As impressive as Andrew Luck was in his rookie year, he was operating largely without a running game to support him.
It's shocking that no running back on this 10-6 team with a rookie quarterback averaged 4.0 yards per carry or ran for more than 814 yards this season. Vick Ballard and Donald Brown took a combined 319 carries, but not because either of them is very good. None of those carries went for more than 26 yards. Indianapolis simply had to run the ball occasionally to take some pressure off its rookie passer.
Between the veteran Reggie Wayne and young guys like T.Y. Hilton and tight ends Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, Luck's receivers showed promise in 2012. Indy now needs a running game to create stability in an offense that saw Luck record 44-plus attempts eight games, including 54 in their playoff loss to Baltimore.
Now more than ever, taking an early run at Eddie Lacy seems like a wise choice for the Colts.
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