Will Isaiah Pead be a Problem For Steven Jackson in 2012?
As Steven Jackson is set to turn 29 in July, the St. Louis Rams continue to prepare for life without Jackson although if Jackson keeps running like he did in 2011, that day may not be for a while. Measures for the future, though, were put into place when with the 50th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Rams selected running back Isiah Pead out of Cincinnati.
Don’t expect Pead to take over the featured running back reins just yet, though. Steven Jackson will still get the bulk of the carries, and why wouldn’t he? The 9th year man out of Oregon St. rushed for over 1,100 yards on 260 carries in 2011 and continued to be the go-to option for the Rams despite the 2011 offseason acquisition of RB Cadillac Williams.
Pead will serve a similar function in 2012 as Williams did in 2011. Williams had 87 carries and 14 receptions, being featured mostly on third downs.
Pead, like Williams in 2011, will be mostly featured on third down and will provide a change-of-pace to Jackson to bolster the Rams’ running attack. Pead, however, should be much more effective than Cadillac Williams since his younger legs and incredible vision will simply yield more yards and production for the Rams with each carry.
In 2011, Jackson had 260 carries and Williams had 87. I expect Jackson to have about 250 carries in 2012 while Pead has near 115. Again, the workload will be similar to Williams, but slightly more since he simply brings more to the table.
Analysts like NFL Films’ Greg Cosell have compared Pead to Eagles RB LeSean McCoy and some have even likened Pead to Titans RB Chris Johnson. If that type of success does fizzle out for Pead, expect it to be later rather than sooner. Despite spending a second round pick and Jackson approaching the big 3-0, Jackson has showed no signs of slowing down and he will continue to be the king of the Rams’ backfield until he is dethroned.
It’s been stated by the Rams’ front office that Pead was picked to be the successor to Jackson and he was chosen with the future in mind. Jackson’s ability to continue production and Pead’s ability to impress with the carries he’ll get will determine how quickly that certain transition will take place.