Packers snatch Eddie Lacy afterall, in round two : Packers Insider

Packers snatch Eddie Lacy afterall, in round two

April 26, 2013 by  
Filed under News

By Tyler Dunne, Journal-Sentinel

~Green Bay — His plane had just landed when the call came in. Eddie Lacy had left New York City to fly back to school, to train.

And literally right when he landed the call from the Green Bay Packers came in.

“As soon as the wheels touched the ground, I turned my phone back on and when the service came back in, they were calling me,” Lacy said. “It’s just a big relief.”

Eddie Lacy ran right through the Notre Dame defense in the BCS title game this January.

A relief because Alabama’s Lacy was considered by many as the top running back in the NFL draft. But as the second round dragged on — and the Packers traded down from No. 55 to No. 61 — Lacy remained on the board. The 5-foot-11, 231-pounder was the fourth running back taken, after Giovani Bernard (37th, Cincinnati), Le’Veon Bell (48th, Pittsburgh) and Montee Ball (58th, Denver).

The Packers could have taken either Lacy or Ball with their original second-round pick. Instead, they picked up an extra sixth-rounder (173rd overall) by trading down and took Lacy. When asked which back the team preferred, director of college scouting Brian Gutekunst said Green Bay had the two in “the same range” and that they’re two different backs.

Eddie Lacy faces some tough defenses in LSU, but he has that SEC toughness.

Either way, Lacy is the pick. Maybe he’s one solution to busting the Cover 2 defenses that gave Green Bay problems in 2012. Echoing what he told the Journal Seninel last week, Lacy described himself as a complete back. And this draft-day fall, he said, will be “a big motivation piece.”

“I’m a bigger guy, a tough runner, a physical runner,” Lacy said. “That’s just natural. But I’m also shifty and I can make defenders miss and also break long runs. I just feel like I can do anything.”

Lacy was the heartbeat of Alabama’s rushing attack last season, rolling to 1,322 yards on 204 carries (6.5 avg.) with 17 touchdowns. Gutekunst said the Packers weren’t concerned about Lacy’s durability and he doesn’t believe Lacy was merely the product of a star-laden offensive line that had two players selected in the first 11 picks (Chance Warmack, D.J. Fluker).

All along, to Green Bay, Lacy’s strength was the game tape.

“You watch that and kind of take the different situations he’s been put in and watch those,” Gutekunst said. “They did have a very, very good offensive line at Alabama, very good players. But he averaged six-something yards in the SEC his whole career. He’s a good back, we’re really excited to have him.”

If he is able to beat the Packers injury jinx at RB, his addition should take some pressure of the MVP Aaron Rodgers.

His poor pre-draft workout may have been one reason Lacy fell so far. A hamstring suffered in training held Lacy out of the NFL scouting combine and Alabama’s original pro day. When he finally worked out, he struggled getting through the drills — the product, he said, of having only two weeks to prepare at 100%.

The hamstring is fine now. Lacy expects to be ready for rookie camp, OTAs, minicamp, etc.

Still, it was difficult to wait this long. Lacy nearly fell all the way into the third round. On the day the player subject to the most famous draft-day plunge cashed in, Lacy’s patience was tested.

“I couldn’t tell you why I slid so far,” Lacy said, “but at the end of the day, it is what it is and you can’t do anything about it. I’m just looking forward to being part of a new team and contributing.”

So now, Lacy joins a backfield that includes DuJuan Harris, Alex Green and James Starks. Injuries hounded the group in 2012, start to finish. Of these four, the Packers will be counting on someone to stay healthy and finally take some heat off Rodgers and the passing game. Defenses, deep into the season, didn’t give Green Bay’s running game respect.

The question on Lacy, in addition to his injury history, is how will he cope with not having huge holes behind that great Bama offensive line.

Possibly, Lacy could change that.

“I think it brings balance,” Lacy said. “I will allow the defense to not just be able to focus on the passes because there’s a back in the backfield who’s going to have to make them think about the run. And if we can run out of the shotgun, it’ll just make the offense that much more dangerous.”

Added Gutekunst: “He’s got great lateral quickness, 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.”

Maybe the Packers wanted Ball more. Maybe not.

Lacy will be redirecting to Green Bay soon.

“I don’t like to compare myself to other players,” Lacy said. “The coaches saw something they liked in me that they didn’t like in him, I guess you could say.”

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