When the Pittsburgh Steelers came on the clock to pick in the second round, you expected to hear the words “The Pittsburgh Steelers select Eddie Lacy, running back from the University of Alabama.”
To the shock of many at the time those words didn’t come out of the mouth of former Steeler Merril Hoge, but instead Hoge announced the selection of Le’Veon Bell (on a side note here, and totally off topic, are you telling me out of all the former great Steelers, the best the NFL could do to announce their pick was Hoge?)
At the time I wasn’t a big fan of passing on Lacy in favor of Bell, but that pick is growing on me.
As far as the Steelers passing on Lacy, apparently they had their reasons.
Even though he appeared to be the most NFL-ready running back and a perfect fit for the Steelers’ offense, according to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Steelers were scared off not by Lacy’s hamstring injury but by an injury to his big toe that resulted in fusion surgery.
Though the injury previously had been described as “turf toe,” there had been no reports or discussion that the toe had been fused.
Coming into the draft Lacy was the top running back on almost every draft board, but he ended up being only the fourth one taken, by the Packers as the 29th pick in round two.
You have to wonder if the Steelers played this one right or if they read too much into things.
I do like Bell as a fit with the Steelers, but they could be kicking themselves when they watch Lacy become a beast with the Packers.
However that’s all hindsight now.
Injuries play a big role during the draft and how teams evaluate players on their boards.
Hopefully they made the right call on Bell and this will be a moot point years from now.