With the 29th pick of the 2nd round of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers selected University of Alabama Crimson Tide redshirt junior running back Eddie Lacy. Lacy, who left Alabama with one year of eligibility remaining, rushed for over 2,400 yards and scored 32 touchdowns in his college career.
Last season, the Packers lacked a consistent rushing attack to compliment quarterback Aaron Rodgers, but head coach Mike McCarthy said he wants “less volume and more creativity” on offense. “Running the football is important, but at the end of the day, the offense’s responsibility is to score points”, McCarthy said in a June press conference. “I want to play as fast as I can, and I want to beat you as bad as I can. That’s the way we play”.
Lacy, who played behind former Crimson Tide star and current Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson, didn’t become Alabama’s full-time starter until last season. Despite undergoing toe surgery at Alabama, Lacy put together seven 100-yard rushing games and ten multi-touchdown games in his Crimson Tide career.
“He (Lacy) is a bigger back, and he is such a power runner”, McCarthy said. “(Packers all-time rushing leader) Ahman Green had the similar running style. They are built differently, but they run the same way”.
In 2012, Packer running backs averaged 3.9 yards per carry (22nd in NFL), and Lacy should help bolster the running back competition in training camp. “I’m looking forward to seeing who grabs the rope (in the running backs group) and runs with it”, McCarthy said. “It’s the most competitive group I’ve ever had here. You never have enough running backs”.
Lacy, who was often overshadowed by Alabama true freshman running back T.J. Yeldon last season, was outstanding in both the SEC Championship and BCS National Title games for the Crimson Tide. In wins versus Georgia and Notre Dame, Lacy had 40 carries, rushed for 321 yards, and scored four touchdowns. Lacy, a two-time national champion, was considered the top running back prospect by many draft analysts in the 2013 draft, but a hamstring injury didn’t allow him to participate in the NFL Combine.
Lacy did work out at Alabama’s pro day though, running a 4.59 40-yard dash and recorded a 32.5-inch vertical jump. Despite Lacy’s previous injury problems, Packers’ running back coach Alex Van Pelt was pleased to see the 1st-team All-SEC tailback on the board after Packers’ general manager Ted Thompson had traded down in the second round to snatch him.
“I’m surprised Eddie (Lacy) fell that far”, Van Pelt said. “I thought he was the top back in this class”.
Thompson selected both Lacy and UCLA running back Johnathan Franklin to help bolster the offensive backfield. Lacy is a bigger back who has the ability to punish defenders, and Franklin is a tall and slender back who can make defenders miss.
“You shoot for balance”, Van Pelt said. “If we can get balance with the running game, it’ll open up the passing game”.
Both Lacy and Franklin are considered to be roster locks, and they will be immersed into a deep running back group which includes veterans Alex Green and James Starks, one year wonder DuJuan Harris, and undrafted rookie mini-camp standout Angelo Pease.
The 23-year old Lacy will wear the number 27 jersey for the Packers.
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