Eddie Lacy to Packers: How Does RB Fit with Green Bay?
Widely regarded as the top running back in the 2013 draft class and a potential first-round pick, Lacy fell into the Packers' laps in the second round. Green Bay even traded down from No. 55 but still were able to take the potentially game-changing running back.
Lacy will now be expected to be the bell-cow back that quarterback Aaron Rodgers simply hasn't had in Green Bay over the past two or three seasons.
Let's take a closer look at how Lacy fits with the Packers in 2013 and beyond.
Role: Likely three-down starter
While the Packers received a surprising lift from unknown running back DuJuan Harris to end the 2012 season, it's very clear the selection of Lacy signals another changing of the guard at the position.
A powerful 231-pound back with surprisingly quick feet and balance, Lacy will be expected to be a three-down player for the Packers offense next season. No longer should the Packers have to tinker with a talent-inferior committee situation.
Considering how skilled Lacy is in between the tackles, he's a good bet to be the Packers' go-to back on early downs. He's also big enough to handle the pounding against the bigger fronts traditionally seen on first and second downs.
Lacy's presence on early downs should also keep teams from running predominantly two-high safeties against the Packers. For long stretches in 2012, quarterback Aaron Rodgers struggled to find big plays because defenses were essentially daring the Packers to run the football with their below-average stable of running backs.
That should no longer be a consistent worry with Lacy on board.
And even when head coach Mike McCarthy wants to throw the football—something he absolutely loves doing—Lacy will be an option.
At Alabama, Lacy was asked to catch passes out of the backfield (35 career receptions), and he typically looked very comfortable doing so.
He also has experience in pass protection and should have the body type necessary to muscle up against NFL blitzers. To play in a McCarthy offense, a running back better be able to both understand protections and execute the blocks.
Short-yardage situations should be another area where the Packers call on Lacy to do the dirty work.
In years past, Green Bay would run out fullback John Kuhn to convert from short. Not anymore. Instead of the predictability of a Kuhn quick dive on every 3rd-and-short, lining up Lacy in the backfield should provide both a battering-ram runner and a play-action weapon during such important situations.
Even in less defined downs and distances, Lacy should pose a threat of play-action like Rodgers hasn't had in some time.
Also, let's not forget the impact Lacy could have in the late-season months, when the weather gets nasty in Green Bay and running the football becomes more important. Tackling Lacy 20 times a game won't be fun in the cold weather of Green Bay.
Overall, Lacy brings a lot to the table.
Keep in mind, No. 61 overall is the highest general manager Ted Thompson has ever taken a running back in Green Bay. That signals a very clear expectation that Lacy will be the kind of complete player at the position the Packers have lacked for so long.
Harris has certainly earned a right to compete for snaps and touches next season, but the Packers aren't drafting Lacy to watch the sidelines. Expect him to be the starter in 2013, with Harris stealing away some snaps as a change-of-pace option.
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