COMMENTARY | The Green Bay Packers came away from their Week 6 game against the Baltimore Ravens with a 19-17 victory. One of the main reasons for the victory was rookie running back Eddie Lacy, who carried the football 23 times for a total of 120 yards. That kind of performance makes Packer fans wonder just how much talent their new running back has.
Eddie Lacy was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft, and was immediately expected to become their starting running back. Green Bay has had major issues finding a consistent ground game since former NFL star Ahman Green left the Packers. Ryan Grant stepped in and had a couple solid seasons on the ground for Green Bay, but wasn't able to stay consistent for a long period of time.
While Lacy is just a rookie, he has played beyond his years so far this season. During his NFL debut against the San Francisco 49ers, he recorded his first career rushing touchdown, and also ran for 41 yards. Lacy suffered a concussion during Green Bay's 38-20 win over the Washington Redskins and missed their Week 3 game, but finished his recovery during the Packers' bye week in Week 4.
Lacy has had two consecutive big games for the Packers, rushing for 99 yards against the Lions two weeks ago, and the 120 yard performance this past week against the Ravens. Not only has he put up great yard totals throughout his rookie season so far, he has averaged a very respectable 4.4 yards per carry as well.
Coming out of Alabama University in the 2013 NFL Draft, he was considered to be one of the best running backs available. Due to concerns about injuries, he was passed over until the Packers chose him with the 61st overall pick, and Lacy vowed to make those teams that passed on him regret it. So far, there isn't much doubt that he has taken a good first step towards following through with that promise.
Now that we have established his impressive statistics throughout his first few games as an NFL running back, the question becomes how good Lacy can become in the future. Green Bay believes that they have found a franchise running back who will lead the rushing attack for years to come in a big way. There have been analysts who compare Lacy's ability to that of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, but those comparisons are coming way too early.
There are many positives that make the Packers believe that they have found a special talent. One of those positives is Lacy's ability to create yards after contact. Standing at 5'11" and weighing 230 pounds makes him a very difficult person to bring down, especially if he's able to break through the opposing defensive line. With Green Bay having arguably the best quarterback in the NFL, Aaron Rodgers, it opens up the rushing attack for Lacy to make some noise. Defenses have to respect the pass on every single down, and Lacy has already taken advantage of that multiple times in his first three full games in the NFL.
Even though Lacy is a big running back, he does not lose any of his quickness or elusiveness. He's very quick for his size and is more than capable of breaking long runs as well as pounding the football up the middle for needed yardage. Those qualities are part of the reason that some see a bit of Adrian Peterson in him. As he continues to learn the speed of the NFL, you can expect to see more big runs from Lacy.
Overall, there is no question that Eddie Lacy has the ability to become a special NFL running back. He has a lot of work to do to reach the level that he wants to be at, but he has a great work ethic and motivation to get there. The Packers have been searching for their running back of the future to help open up the passing game for Aaron Rodgers, and they seem to have found their guy. Lacy will be in Green Bay for many years to come barring injury.
Evan Massey lives in Indianapolis and has followed the Green Bay Packers for the past 16 years. He has written for many sports websites including Hoops-Nation.com, Pro Football Spot, and Naptown's Finest. Follow Evan on Twitter at @massey_evan.
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