The Green Bay Packers got a potential workhorse running back by patiently waiting for Alabama’s Eddie Lacy to fall into their laps on Friday night.
With several options on the board, the Packers traded the 55th pick of the draft to San Francisco in exchange for pick No. 61 as well as the Niners’ sixth-round pick, No. 173.
At 5-foot-11 and 230 pounds, Lacy has an “uncanny knack to get out of trouble” for a player his size, college scouting director Brian Gutekunst said.
The following is published courtesy of Scouting Services Inc. and the NFL.
After patiently waiting for his opportunity while playing behind Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson, both first-round selections in recent drafts, Lacy exploded on to the national scene while leading the Crimson Tide to the national championship in his only season as a starter. The Alabama ball carrier is not the type that you would expect that can turn on the after burners attacking the second level, but he has great field vision and leg drive, resulting in the player leading the NCAA Football Subdivision’s active players with a career average of 6.77 yards per rushing attempt.
The pride of Dutchtown High School, the Louisiana native was a recruiting coup for head coach Nick Saban and the University of Alabama, securing the ball carrier’s services away from Southeastern Conference rival, Louisiana State. At Dutchtown High, Lacy was rated the 13th-best running back in the nation, according to Rivals.com, ranking 17th at his position by ESPN and 24th by Scout.com. The four-star prospect added All-American honors from Prep Football Report and Super Prep during his senior season.
Lacy also received first-team Class 5A All-State honors from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association, as the Mobile Press-Register's Super Southeast 120 choice was a member of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Super Southern 100 squad, despite playing in only seven games during his senior year due to injuries (right ankle sprain and left knee medial collateral ligament sprain). He still managed 1,046 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns in 2008.
That marked his third consecutive season producing 1,000 yards on the ground. As a sophomore, Lacy totaled 1,207 yards with nineteen touchdowns on 178 attempts (6.78 ypc). The following year, he was named LSWA Class 5A All-State after rushing for 1,800 yards and 26 scores in 2007. He opted to attend the University of Alabama after finalizing his choices down to Oklahoma, Tennessee, Mississippi, Mississippi State and Louisiana State, but first had to retake his ACT test in order to qualify.
Lacy would spend his 2009 season at Alabama fully recovering from his high school knee injury. As a member of the scout team, he also worked on refining weak areas of his game.
"I have good vision and speed,” the tailback noted during his red-shirt season. “I'm able to get away from defenders. I move well and I try to play like Adrian Peterson. I have a lot of power too. I really need to improve my pass blocking. That's something I don't do a lot. I also want to improve my leg strength and have better drive. I plan on doing a lot of squats and strength training."
Lacy earned his spot as the third string tailback behind Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson in 2010. In the season opener vs. San Jose State, he ran for 113 yards and two touchdowns in his collegiate debut. In the Capital One Bowl vs. Michigan State, he averaged 17.2 yards per carry and scored two touchdowns, including a 62-yarder in the second half. He would finish his first college campaign with 406 yards and six touchdowns on 56 attempts (7.25 ypc), adding four tackles on special teams.
With Mark Ingram departing for the National Football League (New Orleans), Richardson and Lacy advanced to the top two running back spots for the 2011 Alabama Crimson Tide football team. In the preseason, those close to the program opined that "the Richardson-Eddie Lacy duo may put up bigger and better numbers and go down as the best duo in recent history."
Backfield partner Richardson told reporters that Lacy's spin move is what separates him from other backs: "It's the nastiest spin move ever." The move earned Lacy the nickname "Circle Button" based on the button on PlayStation's video games that triggers a spin move. Aaron Suttles of The Tuscaloosa News wrote, "To the fans, Eddie Lacy is a dread-locked blur, spinning past defenders into the secondary. To his teammates, he's affectionately known as 'Circle Button.'"
The sophomore would appear in twelve games during the 2011 schedule. He suffered a toe injury vs. Florida and did not play following week vs. Vanderbilt. The injury limited him to five carries when he returned one week later vs. Mississippi. He would eventually undergo turf toe surgery following the season and missed almost all of 2012 spring practices. His second season with the Tide saw Lacy record 674 yards and seven touchdowns on 95 carries (7.09 ypc), as he also caught eleven balls for 131 yards.
Much like the previous season when Ingram departed for the NFL, the Alabama food chain at tailback saw Lacy elevated to the starting tailback position with Trent Richardson joining the Cleveland Browns. Lacy suffered an ankle sprain during preseason practice and 'tweaked' it vs. Louisiana State, but still managed to start all 14 games for the Tide in 2012. His back-up was true freshman T. J. Yeldon and both ball carriers finished the year with over 1,000 yards each.
Lacy received All-Southeastern Conference first-team honors and was named the team’s Player of the Week six times. He collected 1,322 yards on 204 carries, the eighth-highest yardage total in a season by a Tide player. His average of 6.48 yards per carry set a school season-record and was the second-best for an SEC player in a campaign (minimum 200 carries). His seventeen touchdowns tied for third on the school record chart. He closed out his career earning MVP honors vs. Notre Dame in the national title clash, as he gained 140 yards with a score on 20 attempts, in addition to catching a pass for a touchdown.