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Mayock: Alabama’s Eddie Lacy is a “potential consideration” for Steelers

EDDIE LACY

EDDIE LACY

Mark Kaboly  |  Tribune-Review

 

If it is up to NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock, the Steelers should take a long look at bruising Alabama running back Eddie Lacy with the 17th pick in April’s NFL Draft.

 

Mayock said the reason is that general manager Kevin Colbert “has always valued need” and it’s hard-pressed to find a greater need than running back for the Steelers heading into the draft.

 

With free agent running back Rashard Mendenhall unlikely to return, the Steelers are left with Jonathan Dwyer, Isaac Redman, Baron Batch  and fullback Will Johnson on the roster.

 

“If Eddie Lacy is sitting there – and I think he could be – that is the only guy I would put a first-round grade on,” Mayock said. “He kind of fits what Pittsburgh does so he could be a potential consideration at this point.”

 

MIKE MAYOCK

The Steelers’ run game could use a shot in the arm.

 

As a team, the Steelers rushed for 1,537 yards – their second fewest in a full season since the NFL adopted a 16-game schedule in 1978. It also was their fifth-worst rushing season in the past 50 years and their worst in any nonlosing season during that time. Dwyer’s 623 yards also represented the second-lowest total by a team leader to Merril Hoge‘s 610 yards in 1991.

 

The 5-foot-11, 220-pound Lacy could provide an immediate impact. He rushed for 1,322 yards and 17 touchdowns at Alabama last year including 140 yards in the title game against Notre Dame, but getting a running back in the first round doesn’t mean automatic success, according to Mayock.

 

Over the past five drafts, there were 14 first-round picks. However, eight of them missed significant time due to injury.

 

That could be the reason why there have been only four running backs taken in the first round over the past two years, two of which came from Alabama – Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson.

 

“The first-round running back is by no means a bang the table, starting top line running back,” Mayock said. “I think you can get a running back in the second, third and fourth rounds, I really do.”

 

But after that, you are pushing it.

 

Only seven of the 32 starting running backs in the NFL at the end of last year were picked after the third round.

 

“You can get running backs pretty much two, three and four,” Mayock said. “Ray Rice, LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte, Bernard Pierce, DeMarco Murray, Steven Ridley, Jamaal Charles – I think you can get those guys. I do believe that you can get quality in the second, third and fourth rounds at the running back position.”

 

There are quality after the third round like Washington’s Alfred Morris, Atlanta’s Michael Turner and undrafted Arian Foster of Houston, but for the most part, running backs after the third round come with baggage, according to Mayock.

 

“When you drop into the third and fourth rounds, what you are getting is one or the other,” Mayock said. “You are not getting a three-down back. You are either getting the guy who is a third-down, change-of-pace guy or you are getting that bigger back that really doesn’t have that burst or acceleration. What that means in that you need two of them.”

 

Since the merger, the Steelers drafted only five running backs in the first round – Franco Harris, Greg Hawthorne, Walter Abercrombie, Tim Worley and Mendenhall.

 

TOP OF THE CLASS

Here is a list of current starting NFL running backs
and what round they were drafted:

1st round

Marshawn Lynch – Seattle

Steven Jackson – St. Louis

Beanie Wells – Arizona

Doug Martin – Tampa Bay

C.J. Spiller – Buffalo

Reggie Bush – Miami

Trent Richardson – Cleveland

Chris Johnson – Tennessee

Knowshown Moreno – Denver

Darren McFadden – Oakland

Ryan Mathews – San Diego

Adrian Peterson – Minnesota

Jonathan Stewart – Carolina

David Wilson – N.Y Giants

Cedric Benson – Green Bay

2nd round

Ray Rice – Baltimore

Maurice Jones-Drew – Jacksonville

LeSean McCoy – Philadelphia

Matt Forte – Chicago

Mikell LeShore – Detroit

3rd round

Stevan Ridley – New England

Shonn Greene – N.Y. Jets

Jamaal Charles – Kansas City

DeMarco Murray – Dallas

Frank Gore – San Francisco

4th round

NONE

5th round

Vick Ballard – Indianapolis

Michael Turner – Atlanta

6th round

Jonathan Dwyer – Steelers

Alfred Morris – Washington

Undrafted

Arian Foster – Houston

Benjarvus Green-Ellis – Cincinnati

Pierre Thomas – New Orleans

Author: Mark Kaboly

Mark Kaboly covers the Pittburgh Steelers for the Tribune-Review. Mark has covered more than 250 NFL football games in all 32 NFL cities as well as three Super Bowls -- XL in Detroit, XLIII in Tampa and XLV in Dallas. A Belle Vernon Area graduate, Mark earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a specialization in journalism from California University of Pennsylvania. Mark lives in Port Vue with his wife, Jennifer, and boys Rocco and Bugsley Pug

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