Montee Ball or Eddie Lacy: Which was the best pick?


Alabama Crimson Tide running back Eddie Lacy

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

When Hall of Fame-bound former Green Bay Packers linebacker Dave Robinson announced the franchise’s second round selection of Eddie Lacy last Friday, there were many who felt the pick should have been Wisconsin alum and favorite Montee Ball.

But Packers fans soon realized that Ted Thompson had once again locked in a player who was considered one of the best at his position – and probably a better value at the 61st spot than was Ball, who was selected with the 58th pick by the Denver Broncos.

So, which team got the better of the deal – Packers or Broncos.

Well, if you’re the Broncos, who came out like the Steelers and raised the injury issues with Lacy, Ball was the better deal. If you also ask Vincent Salaz, the author of a piece on the subject over at, Ball was by far the better pick.

Wisconsin Badgers running back Montee Ball

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

As Salaz points out, his reasons are these:

It’s great that Ball is smart, well spoken, articulate and hard-working – in fact anyone who has followed Wisconsin football as most Packers have – we knew that already.

Alabama Crimson Tide running back Eddie Lacy

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

What we’re interested in is what the statistics say.

As a word of caution, statistics don’t tell the entire story and can be deceiving – like comparing apples to oranges – but they do illustrate the amount of success each of these player have had in their college careers. However, how that translates into success at the next level is difficult to measure.

In my opinion, both of these players will see success in 2013, but what might give Lacy an advantage, in my opinion, is that the Packers also drafted a guy by the name of Johnathan Franklin out of UCLA.

Franklin, who also runs hard between the tackles, can also provide, like DuJuan Harris, a different look than Lacy will bring to the field. The “Thunder and Lighting” look could give the Packers the most dynamic backfield tandem in years, maybe decades.

But in the meantime, we will let the statistics speak for themselves. At first blush, Hall holds the advantage in sheer numbers, but again, how that translates into success in the NFL remains to be seen.

You be the judge. Who got the better pick?

So here’s a look at Montee Ball’s stats over four years with the Badgers:


Here are Ball’s statistics by game in 2012:

BowlSTANL 14-20100244.201
14NEBW 70-31202219.603
13PENSTL 21-24111274.101
12OHISTL 14-21191394.901
11INDW 62-14198277.303
9MCHSTL 13-1646222.100
8MINNW 38-13166246.902
7PURDW 38-14247298.503
6ILLW 31-14116196.102
5NEBL 27-3090322.803
4UTEPW 37-264094.401
3UTASTW 16-14139373.801
2ORESTL 7-1061154.100
1NIOWAW 26-21120323.801

 Here are the statistics put up by Eddie Lacy over his three-year career at Alabama:


Here are his 2012 stats by game:

BowlNOTREW 42-14140207.001
14GEOW 32-28181209.002
13AUBW 49-0131187.302
12WCARW 49-099109.903
11TXAML 24-2992165.801
10LSUW 21-1789118.101
9MISSTW 38-726102.600
8TENNW 44-1379174.600
7MISOUW 42-10177189.803
5MISSW 33-1482194.300
4FLATLW 40-7106157.100
3ARKW 52-055124.603
2WKENW 35-03694.000
1MICHW 41-143593.901