The Green Bay Packers are looking to make their running attack an important part of the offensive arsenal in 2013. In a big way. With the help of a big running back. That big back's name is Eddie Lacy.
Lacy is 5'11", 231 pounds.
Many thought Lacy would be drafted in the first round, as most scouts had him rated as the best running back in this draft.
That would include Mike Mayock of NFL Network, who had the Packers selecting Lacy with the 26th pick of the draft in his mock draft.
Mayock also had Lacy rated as the top running back in the draft.
But Lacy lasted until pick No. 61 in the second round, where the Packers finally did select the former Alabama star. That was after trading out of the 55th spot in the second round to get an extra sixth-round pick.
The fact that Lacy was still available that late in the draft was somewhat shocking. I also thought that Lacy would be drafted much earlier. Lacy was one of the 10 players I had listed on the Packers' Big Board, plus I also had the Packers selecting him in the first round in my second mock draft.
Why? Well, not only is Lacy a big back, but he has come up big in the biggest of games. For instance, in the SEC Championship Game versus Georgia, Lacy ran for 181 yards as Alabama advanced to the BCS title game.
Then in the BCS National Championship Game versus Notre Dame, Lacy rushed for 140 yards on 20 carries and a touchdown, plus caught two passes for 17 yards and had another score, as the Crimson Tide hammered the Irish for their third national title in four years.
For the entire 2012 season, Lacy rushed for 1,322 yards (6.4 average) and had 17 touchdowns. Plus he also caught 22 passes for 189 yards and two touchdowns.
In his career at Alabama, Lacy ran for 2,402 yards and 30 touchdowns.
Green Bay expects similar production, so the Packers can have a much more balanced offense. Everyone knows that Aaron Rodgers is the focal point of the Green Bay offensive attack, but a back like Lacy will help make things even easier for Rodgers.
Why? Too many times last season, Rodgers saw the opposing teams playing their safeties deep. The teams did that because they did not fear the running attack of the Packers, plus they wanted prevent the threat of any deep passes.
With Lacy in the backfield now, expect to see the safeties closer to the line of scrimmage. That will open up the passing game even more.
General manager Ted Thompson certainly wasn't concerned about any lingering effects from a hamstring injury which had been hampering Lacy in the offseason, as he spoke to the media via Packers.com.
“We feel pretty good about (Lacy’s durability),” Thompson said. “I think it could have been one of the reasons he wasn’t drafted earlier by other teams, but we felt pretty good about it. Between the lines he’s a go-getter.”
Thompson was very happy to select a player like Lacy, as he gave a quick assessment of the back. "He's big. He's powerful," Thompson said. "He's got a great lateral cut and a spin move. He's played at a fairly high level. Good kid."
Brian Gutekunst, the Packers’ director of college scouting, also shared his thoughts on Lacy via Packers.com.
“(Lacy) has got great lateral quickness,” Gutekunst said. “Great ability to drop his pads in the hole, very powerful guy. He has kind of an uncanny knack to get out of trouble for a guy his size. He’s a little bit different than we’ve had maybe in the past. He’s a really good player, he’s been a good player there the whole time even though he’s been behind some very good backs. I think he gives us a little bit of size we haven’t had for a while.”
But what about running back Montee Ball of Wisconsin, who the Packers could have drafted at pick No. 55 had they kept the pick?
“We liked Montee Ball a lot,” Gutekunst said. “We kind of had them in the same range. We thought they were both very, very good backs. And I knew we traded down because we had a bunch of numbers up there.”
Ball ended up getting drafted by the Denver Broncos at pick No. 58.
Still, the Packers have to feel very happy about getting a very talented running back at pick No. 61, especially since Lacy had a first-round grade level in most scouting circles.
In 2013, the Packers are expecting big things from the big back from Alabama. Based on his recent track record, the Packers should be quite pleased with the results.