Calm down. It's May 1. The 2013 NFL Draft has been over for four days. It's way too early predictions.
So let's make a prediction!
This actually isn't my prediction. Dan Kadar, editor at Mocking the Draft, dropped an interesting tidbit in his recap piece from Tuesday. Look who Kadar picked for his way too early Offensive Rookie of the Year:
Well, well, well. I asked Kadar to fill us in with some context after reading that. Here's what he told me:
Running backs in the draft are such a crapshoot. You never know which one drafted late is going to break out, but it seems every year one does. My quick, off-the-cuff choice of Stacy as Rookie of the Year is because I think he'll get on the field a lot. I know Jeff Fisher has said he likes Daryl Richardson, but why did he get less than 100 carries last season? Stacy is a strong runner who can explode through gaps. He should be able to grasp the playbook pretty quickly as well. That's one of the things he was drilled heavily on during a visit with the Rams. It's also in his benefit that he can pass block. While that won't earn him ROY votes, it does mean he could be on the field more.
Side fact: He's just about the same exact size as Alfred Morris. They also had nearly identical 20- and 10-yard splits in the 40-yard dash and a similar shuttle drill time.
All the talk in the days after the draft has been on the Rams' new big play offense, headlined by the Tavon Austin pick in the first round. Duh. The idea of a Rams offense capable of moving the ball is such a foreign concept that it's only natural to get really excited about that. But think about the big picture.
Austin, Chris Givens, Jared Cook ... all those guys should open the field up, forcing defenses to account for the deep speed. A smaller crowd around the line of scrimmage and an improved offensive line, which borrows more from zone blocking than you realize, should make for a more productive running game too.
As Kadar notes, Fisher has always been a coach partial to the running game. He never hid his desire to find a back capable of carrying the load between the tackles since Steven Jackson left. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer is definitely planning to open the Air Coryell section of his playbook, but he's also got an established history of leaning on his running backs too. Hell, he is Marty Schottenheimer's son.
Add it up, and it looks like 2013 could be a very good year for the Rams running backs. Will it make for Rookie of the Year conditions?
The lack of stud quarterbacks in this year's draft, on the surface, makes for a wide open OROY race. Stacy might have as good a chance as any player from this year's draft. However, his biggest competition, anyone's biggest competition for the OROY, might be Tavon Austin.