Dec 22, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers free safety Dashon Goldson (38) tries to tackle St. Louis Rams running back Zac Stacy (30) as he carries the ball during a game at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports

Rams Pre-Draft Position Overview: Running Back


 

Sep 8, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams running back Daryl Richardson (26) avoids Arizona Cardinals cornerback Jerraud Powers (25) after a pass reception during the first half at Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Leading up to the draft we are going to take a look at every position to see what the Rams have at the position, what the Rams need at the position, if they should draft somebody at the position, and lastly a position grade. Last week we took a look at the quarterback . Today we will look at the running back position as we cover the rest of the offense throughout the week.

What The Rams Have

1. Zac Stacy

2. Daryl Richardson

3. Benny Cunningham

4. Isaiah Pead

5. Chase Reynolds

 

Last season the Rams found a diamond in the rough in the 5th round in running back Zac Stacy. Had Stacy started the entire season, there is no doubt he would have ran for over 1,000 yards, and had a legitimate shot at offensive rookie of the year. Still, in just 12 games last season, Stacy still managed  973 yards and seven touchdowns.

Stacy is an outstanding starting running back, but at every position you need depth and the Rams have just that. Richardson had a disappointing 2013 while dealing with injuries, but in 2012 he showed potential rushing for 475 yards. Richardson gives the Rams a change of pace speed back that can compliment Stacy’s style of running pretty well.

Undrafted rookie Benny Cunningham came out of nowhere and showed some good potential last season rushing for 267 yards and a touchdown which included a a 100 yard game against the Chicago Bears. Cunningham gives the Rams a reliable downhill runner behind Stacy, if he ever gets hurt, which did happen a couple of times last year.

Isaiah Pead has so far been one of the early round busts of the Les Snead regime, but he did begin to make a name for himself on special teams. Chase Reynolds is also a good special teams player.

 

What The Rams Need

The Rams really could use a reliable change of pace speed back that can at the very least push Richardson and Pead for that role. Richardson definitely has the ability to be the third down change of pace back, and it’s really time for Pead to step up and show what he’s got, if anything.

The Rams need somebody that can push these guys for a roster spot because adding some reliable speed to the Rams back field would add a lot of variety and give defenses just one more thing to prepare for.

 

Should The Rams Address This Need In The Draft?

This isn’t an immediate need for the Rams in this draft, but with 12 picks, they have a lot of options. If a speedy running back ends up falling to them in the fifth or sixth round, I don’t see why the Rams shouldn’t address this need in the draft.

It’s time to put some pressure on Richardson and Pead and put them on the spot. Adding some competition would give the Rams an idea of what those two are capable of for better or worse.

 

Grade: B+

As mentioned earlier, Zac Stacy is a solid starting running back and can get the job done. He has the makings of becoming one of the better running backs in the league. And the Rams don’t just have Stacy, they have solid depth behind him in Cunningham, Richardson, and Pead.

However, the Rams are missing that reliable change of pace third down back. If the Rams only rely on Stacy, they will run him down and run his career short. The Rams need somebody that can take some of the load off of Stacy, and whether that guy is on the roster is uncertain at this point.

 

Tags: St. Louis Rams

  • Gary Stewart

    well blaine i am with you most times this is one of the few times i have a different tack.
    my belief is a 6 2 240lb punisher is what we need i am happy to have d-rich as the speed option i want a tenderizer to soften up the defenses for stacy. you know what i mean like maybe earl campbell just for 5-8 carries per game anothe 5-8 for d-rich and about 15-20 for zac thats 30-35 carries per game leaves room for 25-30 passes and a well rounded offense. if pead cant pressure d-rich or d-rich himself can’t get it done the stud back still gives us a way to force the defenses to stack the box and give the likes of tavon stedman and jared a cleaner field to get open in and if they try to hold up with a 7 man box keep running the ball til you force them to add an extra safety near the line. what do you think of my idea blaine??

    • Blaine Grisak

      That makes a lot of sense, although I believe we already have that punisher per say in Cunningham. Whatever the type of back may be, the Rams I feel just need somebody to push Richardson and Pead for a roster spot

      • UhhDuhh

        Yeah I like Cunningham myself. He runs low to the ground, has deceptive speed and is also tough to tackle.

      • Gary Stewart

        my biggest problem there is his breakout game came against a bears team that finished last against the run in the nfl #32 of #32. not saying cunningham cannot be the punisher i just have not seen it yet.

    • Beer O’Clock

      I’m with you Gary. Actually, I posted back in February that a Zac Stacy-Carlos Hyde tandem would wear defenses down to the nub by the second half, open up the passing game, reduce Stacy’s possibility of getting hurt by half, provide insurance should either get hurt without losing much performance. Add Greg Robinson, Lewan or Matthews and a key piece or two on defense–the Rams would be a tough opponent week in and week out. Also agree with you on D-Rich.

      • Nathan Kearns

        Just posted an article making a case for Carlos Hyde as a potential early-2nd round “luxury” pick. Why have a “change of pace” back when you can have a “keep the pace back,” right? Stacy-Hyde would a 1a-1b running back duo that the NFC West, and certainly everyone outside of the division, would absolutely dread. Both players get strong as the game goes on, and with Stacy’s already-visible propensity for injury, it would be invaluable to have another back on the roster that would take the reins without having to settle for a downgrade. Then again, I would be opposed to sticking with the current lineup, assuming Richardson is back to full health with his foot and Benny Cunningham is shows some improvement in pass pro/receiving

        • Beer O’Clock

          100% agree regarding Stacy and Hyde.

          Did you mean to say you WOULDN’T be opposed to sticking with the current lineup?

          • Nathan Kearns

            Lots of typos in that previous comment. But, yes! Wouldn’t be upset if they stuck with the current running back depth chart (i.e. Stacy, then Cunningham, then a healthy Richardson). However, would love if they snagged one of these top tier backs, like Hyde or Mason!

  • Gary Stewart

    and creating ways to get tavon the ball on run plays a bit more could be good too!!

    • UhhDuhh

      Yeah, like that reverse TD against the Bears. I bet other teams will copy that play this year.