Barring he has some type of character issue that no one knows about, Eddie Lacy will be a first round draft choice.
There are a few RBs that would be worthy of a 1st round pick.
I think they're a dime a dozen myself, but guys like Adrian Peterson don't come around everyday.
Here We Go Steelers, Here We Go...
Here We Go Steelers, Here We Go...
Here We Go Steelers, Here We Go...!!!
I would say, Yes...You could find highly productive or even Pro Bowl caliber RBs later in the draft. You could say that about every position but it seems RB is one that gets the attention because of the touches. I would say it is very rare where a RB clearly warrants that high 1st round grade where he seperates himself from everyone else. That "special" guy coming out where you could see he is a game changer. The speed of the game in the jump is a big equilizer for RBs. That is where being a football player first makes those mid-late round picks have production at this level. There is no meter at the combine that measures "football player". When you put the ball in his hands 20-30 times a game at this level, the football players come to the top & the "athletes" may struggle.
RBs are one of those skill positions where a player can be highly productive in the NFL because of intangibles & non-measurables. It is also difficult at times to project what you see on tape because of whom they played for meaning talent around them, system, depth etc. at the college level. You can find that RB with average measurables that may have unique vision, the ability to be a one cut decisive runner, runs downhill with a good pad level, ability to break tackles & not go down on first contact, and has great balance & feet. A real workhorse who is durable. Not a home run hitter but a chain mover and can get you big chunks. Those are the guys you can find throughout the draft. They can be a "feature" back and make DC gameplan to stop them. I don't think that "risk reward" factor balances out enough for RBs drafted high. Personally, I don't like any RB this year in the top 50.
The Lacy highlights shows him executing "spin" moves. That should move him out of consideration since Steeler Nation dislikes Spindenhall. What I've seen of Lacy, I think I would rather resign Mendenhall. Mendenhall has been a basically productive player, and he's faster. He's been out for a year so he should be able to rehab and get ready for a few more seasons. So he was mad and stayed home for a game, which he wouldn't have dressed or played in anyway. I don't think that warrants the death penalty. If he is contrite, he's forgiven. I'm easy. I don't trust Dwyer or Redman to be a lead back next year and if they don't draft a back in the top 2-3 rds, you don't know what you'll get. The FA crop of RBs is not that enticing.
Were Trent Richardson, Doug Martin, David Wilson, Chris Johnson, Jon Stewart, Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch, Stephen Jackson, Larry Johnson, Willis McGayhee, LT, Duce McAllister, Jamal Lewis, Shaun Alexander, Edge James. Ricky Williams, Fred Taylor, Eddie George, Marshall Faulk, Barry Sanders, Bettis, Robert Smith, Hearst, Emmitt Smith, et al not worthy of taking in the first round?
Also, the article mentions that taking Lacy at 17 over all is too high. I haven't seen ANYONE assert that Lacy go in the 1st round. Everyone has him listed as a 2nd round pick. There have been a ton of top RBs taken in the 2nd round, including Ray Rice, Mo Jo, LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte, Clinton Portis, Travis Henry, Tiki Barber, Corey Dillon, Mike Alstott, Charlie Garner, etc.
Simple maths will show that no other round is as successful in 2012 than the 1st round for RB's, because no other single round of the draft can produce 40% of the top 20 RB's.
That doesn't mean you can't find players in Round 7 that will be successful- but stats prove that it's definately harder.
Schiavone's Race Career:
You can't just look at the 8/20 fact, albeit it's tempting to. I can counterpoint it with these (which are qualitative in nature - not quantitative because I can't prove they're significant):
- 4 of the top 10 RBs (in terms of rushing yards) are on losing teams, including the team with the first overall pick this draft
- all 4 of the conference championship game teams (ATL, BAL, SF, NE) have starting RBs that are from the 2nd round or higher in the draft.
- Ray Rice is the highest drafted player of those 4 teams and he was 55th overall (almost 3rd round)