Will Carroll is taking a look at the top draft picks in the 2013 NFL draft with any medical questions. Carroll takes a look at the full spectrum of info, including injury history and exclusive medical insight from Dr. Neal ElAttrache, a medical consultant to many pro teams and the current L.A. Dodgers team physician. Be sure to check all the draft reports!
Eddie Lacy, 6'0", 219 pounds
Running Back from Alabama
Lacy does not have a significant injury history. He was never asked to carry the load full-time at Alabama, but this is not unusual in Nick Saban's system. Playing behind Trent Richardson and ahead of T.J. Yeldon makes this understandable, though it does raise some question about whether Lacy needs to be paired with another back. His size suggests he should be fine.
Few believe that Lacy is as complete a back as Trent Richardson, though some argue he's more or less the same player, with the same strengths and weaknesses. I will note that Richardson came with significant concerns about his knees before the draft, which played out as expected in his first season.
The weight is an issue, but not for the reasons most would think. Richardson was listed by Alabama at 219, but most believe he played most of last season at around 240. He did not do an official, public weigh in, but he is believed to be between 220 and 230 now.
Lacy did not participate in the physical activities at the NFL Scouting Combine due to a strained hamstring he had picked up during workouts. He passed on physical activities at the Alabama pro day as well, once again unable to run due to the lingering hamstring strain. There has been some concern that Lacy isn't running to avoid a slow time but rather re-injury, but straight-line speed isn't what Lacy does best anyway. Lacy did run for scouts at a 4.57 clip, a good speed for a back of this type, but many noted that he had dropped some weight prior.
"Lacy has all the physicality you look for in a back. There's some durability questions, some wear down that he wasn't asked to do in college. He's the power type that looks for contact which is fine up to a level. The hamstrings aren't bothering most teams at all, but with the durability questions it will take the right fit for a team to pull the trigger in the first round." —Dr. Neal ElAttrache
Lacy has a wide range of possibilities, from the middle of the first round to the middle of the second. This is less a reflection on Lacy than it is the reluctance of some teams to pick a back this high. Lacy has been cited as high as 16th overall pick to the St. Louis Rams by Bucky Brooks of NFL.com and as low as Matt Miller's second-round (No. 46 overall) slot, with Lacy going again to the Rams. This question is more one of need and the reluctance of teams to use a high draft pick on a running back than any injury concern regarding Lacy.
Lacy comes into the pros with more questions than his former teammate Trent Richardson, but less injury questions. Lacy's durability is more about how many carries he can take in a game and season rather than whether he's more likely to break down. Lacy would slot into almost any team's offense, especially if paired with a second back. His power and ability at the goal line will make him a solid fantasy RB2 if he can be kept around 20 to 25 carries per game.
These reports were compiled from various cited sources. All draft data courtesy NFL.com. Inside Look is exclusive to B/R from Dr. Neal ElAttrache of the Kerlan-Jobe Clinic and former team physician for the Los Angeles Rams. Dr. ElAttrache helps give insight into what the team doctors for NFL teams will be looking for in this type of player with injury concerns.
Will Carroll is the Lead Writer for Sports Medicine at Bleacher Report.