Many fans were shocked, and some felt that the Rams "reached" for Pead. But after the draft, reports came out that the Rams viewed Pead as a successor to Steven Jackson and not just a change-of-pace running back.
During pre-season, Pead was beat out by 7th round rookie Daryl Richardson. Pead stayed the 3rd-string back up for the rest of the season, and only saw noticeable playing time during the New England Patriots blowout loss.
He finished the season with disappointing stats: 54 rushing yards on 10 carries, 16 receiving yards on 3 catches, and 212 kick return yards on 10 attempts. That's not what you would hope to see out of a 2nd round pick, but he did enough for ESPN's Adam Schefter to take notice.
@mikeclaynfl Schefter had Pead as his NFC breakout player for 2013 pending a SJ departure.— The Pigskin Arch (@ThePigskinArch) February 25, 2013
The Schefter comment came during the annual NFL Combine tweetup held by Sports Illustrated's Peter King. Some of the most popular media personalities like Schefter and King were there to answer questions while they were in Indy. Patty Hsieh from The Pigskin Arch put together a great recap of the event.
Getting back to Isaiah Pead, it's interesting that Schefter would pick him. If you remember, during the Jeff Fisher interview process when it was down to the Dolphins and Rams, he kept shedding information on the process (he had a great interview about Fisher during that time; I quoted some of it a year ago on this site, kudos if you find it). It seems that he knows Fisher personally or knows someone close to him. That suggests that he could, and it wouldn't shock me, know more about the Rams then you would think. Because, out of all the players you could pick, you wouldn't likely go out on a limb and choose Pead.
During the NFL combine, Rich Eisen mentioned the Rams might be in the market for a new running back, and Mike Mayock mentioned something along the lines of last year Pead was learning to be a pro (seemed like he was talking about maturity issues, but then again, I could be wrong and if anyone else heard it leave a comment below).
Take that for what it's worth, but it coincides with my interpretation of what Mayock said. This doesn't mean that Pead will be a horrible player; but if it is true, it means that he learned his lesson since.
Either way, Pead should improve this season and become a weapon for a Rams offense that needs them.
Just watched all of Isaiah Pead's rookie-year carries. Guy looks very explosive. Like Quick, don't give up after 1 year. Buy, Buy, Buy.— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) February 25, 2013
Pead only played 42 snaps - 10 carries, 26 pass routes, 6 blocks. Positive grade on all three pass block attempts. #Rams— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) February 25, 2013
@rensmacneill I think they can compliment each other well. Higher upside for Pead. Let Jackson walk.— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) February 25, 2013
I'd still take Pead over D. Richardson. If I'm the Rams, I'm happy to let Jackson leave. Go with the talented DR-Pead duo. Fresh legs.— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) February 25, 2013
@thepigskinarch On a per-carry basis, I think Pead was a lot better. DR did it over a larger volume though— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) February 25, 2013
Isaiah Pead vs. Oklahoma (2010) (via DocHoIidaze)