MY PICK: Eddie Lacy, RB Green Bay Packers
Ever since Lacy received the starting role in 2012 I knew he would be a stud in the backfield not only for Alabama but eventually for some lucky NFL franchise. Lacy is just a little under 6 feet but comes in at a beast-like 231 lbs. Despite being such a big running back, he can have 4.4 speed and has lightning agility which will enable him to move quick in the NFL and run over anyone in his path. With the past success of Alabama running backs such as Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson it seems to me that Lacy will follow the successes of his predecessors and do very well in the NFL. Being drafted to the Green Bay Packers is a blessing for young Lacy. He has arguably the best quarterback handing him the ball and a super bowl contending team around him. With the defense having such a problem with Rodgers and his passing assault that he brings every Sunday, Lacy will have an easier time moving the ball up and down the field. With more of a running style which his buddy Trent Richardson has, I believe with his power and speed it will be hard for teams to stop Lacy when he comes barreling into the hole. Last year at Alabama, Lacy rushed for 1,322 yards averaging 6.5 yards a carry and also had 17 touchdowns. So next year when the Packers are in the red zone and on the goal line it seems to me it is an easy option who they will hand the ball off to in order to get into the end zone. I predict that Lacy will have over 1,000 yards and between 8-10 touchdowns but I also predict that when the Packers reach the playoffs, he will be the X-factor in the post season and will make big plays for Rodgers.
Other Possible Candidates:
Tavon Austin, WR St. Louis Rams
With the absence of Danny Amendola, the number one option for Sam Bradford will be West Virginia’s own Tavon Austin. A special player who can not only be a threat catching the ball, but he also is a player who can be utilized in the back field or used to return the ball on special teams. Players like Austin are game changers who in the blink of an eye can take the ball and do magical things with it. Seeing he will be the number one receiver, his targets will be more than most rookies and with more opportunity I believe due to his unique skill set he will succeed and help the Rams win games. With 17 total touchdowns last year it is clear that Austin has a nose for the end zone and he will find it. He reminds me of a Devin Hester, DeSean Jackson or a Percy Harvin like player and all three of these guys are worrisome for every defensive coordinator and due to Austin’s ability to be versatile he will be just like these three NFL studs.
Montee Ball, RB Denver Broncos
One of my favorite college athletes will not only be remembered as a star at Wisconsin but will make a name for himself with the Broncos as well. The Broncos need a running back who will be a three down back and can do everything from run in between tackles, to blocking, and even running out games and Montee Ball can do that and more. This young man loves going all the way rushing for 22 touchdowns in his senior season. Also last year he got the ball a crazy 356 times and still averaged 5.1 yards a carry. Montee Ball will also be playing with one of the best quarterbacks to ever line up behind center which will surely help out his confidence as a rookie. The only issue with him winning this award is that well, his quarterback is Peyton Manning and he run a pass happy offense with all the weapons he has at his disposal this year. Nonetheless, I still think Ball will get his carries and will make many Denver fans very happy this year. I predict he will notch 900 rushing yards and will have 11 rushing touchdowns helping the Broncos all the way to the Super Bowl.
EJ Manuel, QB Buffalo Bills
The only reason why he is my long shot to win this award is because well he probably won’t play a full season due to Kevin Kolb but also because well, he is on the Bills. Despite being on a team who hasn’t made the playoffs in my teenage years, EJ Manuel has all the abilities to be a successful quarterback in this league. He reminds me of Donovan McNabb and hopefully he will play like him when he starts his tenure with the Buffalo Bills. EJ has a big arm and can rip the ball down field as well as he is very mobile in the pocket and outside which will be troublesome for defenders. He proved to be efficient by completing 68% of his passes last season. I was very shocked that EJ was the first QB picked in this years draft but that has to say something about his skill set and ability. If a team made moves in order to draft this young man in the first round they clearly saw something special in him in order to basically make him their franchise quarter back. His downfall is he will be thrown right into his rookie season with no leadership and the lacking quality which is the Buffalo Bills but I believe he might be the quarterback to return the Bills to their Jim Kelly days.