In 2013, Eddie Lacy arrived and immediately gained a reputation as one of the NFL’s toughest and most punishing running backs.
Thus far, Lacy’s talents as a power runner have been overshadowed by Marshawn Lynch, who in 2013 established himself as the league’s quintessential power back.
With “Beast Mode” out of the league, will Lacy fill that void?
Football Outsiders has been tracking “broken tackles” since at least 2009. These include escaping the grasp of a defender and “juking” a defender who is in position to make a tackle. In 2014, Football Outsiders added plays in which the runner drags the tackler at least five yards after contact is made.
For the 2013 season, Lynch topped the list. He was followed by LeSean McCoy, Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles, DeMarch Murray and Lacy.
In 2014, Lynch had an overwhelming lead, followed by Le’Veon Bell, Lacy and Murray tied for third, and C.J. Anderson in fifth place.
There are no such stats for 2015 yet.
Most of these power runners aren’t as big and heavy as you might expect.
The listed weights for the above guys are: McCoy (215), Peterson (220), Charles (199), Murray (217), Bell (241) and Anderson (224).
Lynch, amazingly, was listed at only 215 pounds. He once intentionally got up to 230, but didn’t like it, so he dropped back down.
Lacy, generously listed as 5’11”, doesn’t need to weigh 230 or more to be an elite power back.
The common trait among this group seems to be massive thighs, not massive weight. Lacy possesses these — whether he’s at 220, 230, 240,or 250.
Lacy’s ability to break tackles is arguably better when he plays at a lower weight. His patented spin move, for example, was lightning-quick in 2013,
compared to his slow-motion version in 2015.
It might sound counter-intuitive, but if Lacy can play at around 220 pounds in 2016, he will likely take over the broken tackles crown worn for years by Lynch.
Lacy’s top competition might well be another Alabama alum. Alabama power back Mark Ingram (5’9”, 215), drafted in 2011, regularly shows up on the broken tackles lists. And this year Bama’s imposing Derrick Henry (6’3”, 242) should get lots of playing time as a rookie with the Titans.