While the Denver Broncos are looking at a bunch of big running backs heading into the 2013 NFL draft, including Stepfan Taylor, Le’Veon Bell and Montee Ball, it seems their number one candidate to take over the rushing mantle is Eddie Lacy coming out of Alabama.
The Broncos were 25th last season in yards per attempt, averaging only 3.8 yards per carry, finishing 16th in the NFL with 114.5 yards per game. Their top rusher, Willis McGahee, finished with 723 yards and is going to turn 32 during the first half of the upcoming season. Knowshon Moreno has had his injury problems and ran for 525 yards, while Ronnie Hillman, finishing with 327 yards and 3.9 yards per carry, isn’t a very reliable option at the moment.
Lacy has profited for playing behind what many consider the greatest offensive line a College team has ever had, winning two national titles with Alabama, and averaging 6.8 yards per carry during his three-year college career, including rushing for 1322 yards in 2012, scoring 17 touchdowns on the ground. He also added 189 yards from passes, scoring a further two more touchdowns.
How good was the offensive line he had? Lacy averaged 4.2 yards per rush before first contact, and he made it at least five yards past the line of scrimmage without being touched on 35.8% of his rushes. Up the middle was his specialty, 64.7% of his rushes came between the tackles. Lacy averaged 7.6 yards per carry on such running plays with about one in every four attempts going for at least 10 yards.
The Broncos, who have the 28th pick in the first round of the upcoming draft, aren’t the only team looking into Lacy. Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Green Bay are all interested in him, but there’s a good chance the St. Louis Rams, making their pick at number 22, will be the team that ends up with him, hoping he replaces Steven Jackson.