Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Steven Jackson was a model of consistency as the St. Louis Rams running back for the past nine seasons, but he joined the Atlanta Falcons as a free agent this offseason. With Jackson no longer in the fold, the Rams appear to have a three-way running back competition which includes rookie fifth-round pick Zac Stacy.
Chances are high that the Rams will not have a true feature back and that all three backs will split carries throughout the season. Nonetheless, all three will be competing for their spot in the pecking order, and Stacy should have a real shot at moving to the top of the depth chart.
Stacy does not have the explosiveness or big-play ability of some of the other backs in the 2013 draft class, but he is a very solid and reliable runner. He has excellent vision and does a terrific job bouncing off contact to extend plays.
Daryl Richardson, who was listed as the team’s projected starter at running back in their pre-training camp press release, should be the favorite in this competition. The 2012 seventh-round pick is a quick, elusive runner who made a strong impression in his rookie season by gaining 475 yards on 98 carries. Richardson received most of the first-team work at running back in the Rams’ first training camp practice, according to Ryan Van Bibber of Turf Show Times.
Isaiah Pead is also a serious player in this competition, as the Rams drafted him in the second round of the 2012 draft to be Jackson’s eventual replacement. However, Pead is coming off a disappointing rookie season in which he received only 10 carries. He is also suspended for the Rams’ season opener due to a 2012 marijuana arrest.
Stacy started camp working with the second- and third-team offenses, according to Van Bibber, but he should not be ruled out of this competition quite yet. If Richardson fails to run away with the job, Stacy will get his opportunity.