The idea of the St. Louis Rams selecting a running back to take over the duties of recently departed backfield stalwart Steven Jackson in the 2013 NFL Draft is starting to pick up some steam. Even though the team selected two ball carriers a year ago, it is a definite possibility that another will be added into the mix. If recent reports of pre-draft visits are any indication, the Rams are seriously considering at least one addition to their depth chart at running back.
Of the three names on the Rams’ visitation list, only one is of first round potential in former Alabama workhorse Eddie Lacy. It would be unlikely for the team to spend its 16th overall pick on Lacy, but the 22nd pick is a possibility with other running back needy teams like the Cincinnati Bengals, Green Bay Packers, and Denver Broncos all selecting in that vicinity.
As for the other two names, they are certainly no slouches either and former SEC ball carriers in their own right. Both Mike Gillislee of Florida and former South Carolina do-it-all back Marcus Lattimore are scheduled to meet with the team as well. While Gillislee is more of a punishing back like Lacy and S-Jax, Lattimore has a little more jump-cut ability in him with some real potential to become a star at the next level if he can stay healthy.
Obviously all of these names come with some downside risk as well with Lattimore’s being the most obvious given his two surgically repaired knees in the past two years. Lacy has not been able to run for scouts in the pre-draft process due to a nagging hamstring injury, and he has also had his fair share of bumps are bruises during his collegiate career. The problem with Gillislee isn’t physical as much as it is the lack of proven track record since he only started during his senior year with the Gators.
While Isaiah Pead and Daryl Richardson can both offer some dynamic elements to the Rams’ offensively, their presence was made much more effective by the presence of SJ39. Having that punishing changeup in the backfield to go with the lateral quickness is a much needed element for balance. Both Pead and Richardson have great qualities, but the one downfall is that they are nearly identical in size at 5’11” 200lbs. and 5’10” 196lbs. respectively.
Running backs may not be in vogue anymore, but the Rams realize that their offense needs to have a balanced attack to have success. These pre-draft visits show that the team is seriously considering an addition at running back in order to maintain that consistent threat on the ground both between the tackles and on the edge. Having a reliable running game can open up better throwing lanes for the aerial attack by sucking up the safeties as well as wearing down opposing defenders during the course of a 60-minute contest. It certainly wouldn’t be a shocker to see the Rams address the position in the first three rounds of the upcoming draft.