Eddie Lacy came out of Alabama as a talented second round draft pick who many thought would develop into one of the best running backs in the game. He was spectacular during his first two season but then experienced a deep drop in production due to injuries and a rapid increase in weight. However, last season prior to getting hurt he was averaging a career high 5.1 yards per attempt. With the emergence of Ty Montgomery at running back and a growing frustration with Lacy’s weight and injuries the Packers decided to let him walk.
He eventually signed with the Seahawks, with a contract that included 7 weigh-ins to make sure that he was decreasing and maintaining his weight. After reportedly weighing in at 267 pounds in free agency he had a 255 pound goal for May, 250 for June and August, and 245 during the season. He had achieved made weight in the first three weigh-ins, each earning him $55,000. He is on pace to meet that 245 pound goal, but Coach Pete Carroll is hoping that he doesn’t dip below 240 as he wants Lacy big enough to be a bruiser, similar to the role that Marshawn Lynch played with the team.
In a recent report, Lacy split first team carries with incumbent running back Thomas Rawls during an intra-team game. So the first question to see whether or not Lacy will get many carries revolves around the success of Rawls. During the regular season Rawls only broke the 100 yard threshold once, averaging a mere 3.2 yards per carry for the year. In the post season he had an impressive 161 yard performance against the Lions but this took him 27 carries. It is worth noting that per Football Outsiders, the Lions had the 12th worst defensive line in the league and stopping the run wasn’t one of their strong points all season.
However, how much of this was actually the fault of Rawls? Not very much as the Seahawks also came in with the 7th worst offensive line in the league. They had the 3rd highest stuff percentage on offense at 30% meaning that only two teams had more runs stopped at or behind the line of scrimmage. This would certainly hinder a running back’s ability to succeed. In comparison the Packers had a 20% stuff rate coming in with the 16th highest rate. In Pro Football Focus’s offensive line rankings for the upcoming season the Packers were ranked 8th and the Seahawks were placed at 32nd, last place. Going to a deep with a worse offensive line hurts the argument for gambling on Lacy.
One way to cover up a lesser skilled offensive line is to throw many screen passes and Rawls was certainly valuable in this scenario with a 76.5% catch rate and can be counted on to contribute on all downs. Lacy on the other hand has not shown the same abilities as his catch rate is steadily decreasing from the near 80% he came into the league with to 57.1% last season. This limits the added value that Lacy brings to the team.
With limited value added and a worse offensive line, it seems difficult to argue in favor of gambling on Lacy however the one major thing that he has going for him is that Pete Carroll loves running backs similar to him. The Seahawks always seem to make something out of nothing so it is possible that he has a renaissance season but at the end of the day, I’m not taking him any higher than the fourth or fifth running back on my team.