Teams passed on Lacy because of health concerns. They didn’t know if the big back out of Alabama could handle a full season of carries. They weren’t sure if he was just another pounder out of Alabama’s system that would struggle once he got to the NFL.
Now, with only two games left in the regular season, Lacy has not only been the best running back from the 2013 draft class, but has also clearly been the top offensive rookie this season.
Lacy is currently seventh in the league in rushing with 1,028 yards, tied for fifth in rushing touchdowns with eight, and his 4.1 rushing average is over half a yard better than the Packers leading rushers of recent seasons.
If you’ve been watching the Packers this season, I don’t need to tell you the impact Lacy has had on the offense. I don’t need to tell you he was perhaps the steal of the draft. That he’s helped the Packers move the ball despite being without their MVP quarterback for nearly seven weeks.
In fact, the Packers offense still ranks seventh in the league in rushing despite teams loading up the box to stop the run with Aaron Rodgers out of the lineup.
Lacy gives maximum effort every time he takes the field. And this wasn’t any more evident than in the Packers come-from-behind victory in Dallas on Sunday.
Lacy had arguably the best game of his young pro career. He rushed for 141 yards and a game-winning touchdown. His 60-yard run to open the second half gave the Packers some hope they could fight and claw back into the game.
With Rodgers sidelined, you could even argue Lacy has been the Packers’ most valuable player on offense. An offense that still ranks fourth in the league in total yards despite being without top playmakers Rodgers, Randall Cobb, and Jermichael Finley for extended periods of time.
Lacy has already broken the franchise’s record for rookie rushing touchdowns, and is currently on pace to surpass John Brockington (1,105 yds) for the most rushing yards in a season by a Packers rookie.
Lacy has made a bigger impact this year than even Packers apologists could have even anticipated before the season.
When compared to the other offensive rookies around the league, Lacy completely blows them out of the water. There hasn’t been any other offensive rookie that has impacted his team to the capacity Lacy has this season.
The Bengals’ rookie halfback Giovanni Bernard may come the closest in matching Lacy’s production this season. He has made some plays and is tied with Lacy for the most touchdowns by a rookie player this season with eight. But Bernard has split playing time with BenJarvis Green-Ellis in the Cincinnati backfield and hasn’t been a true three-down back.
Lacy’s 248 carries this season completely trumps Bernard’s 144 carries, and Lacy (1,028) has almost doubled Bernard’s yards on the ground (653) despite playing in two fewer games.
After his performance in Dallas, there should be little doubt that Lacy is this season’s offensive rookie of the year.