TUSCALOOSA, AL - SEPTEMBER 11: Eddie Lacy of the Alabama Crimson Tide against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 11, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
The Alabama Crimson Tide are working hard to prepare for the National Championship match-up they’ll play in under a month. But that hasn’t stop two of their best offensive players from making their decision for their futures clear. According to Tony Pauline of Sports Illustrated , Eddie Lacy (running back) and DJ Fluker (offensive tackle) of Alabama have now declared for the NFL Draft, and both are likely are top two rounders in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Starting with Lacy, it’s easy to like what he can bring to an NFL roster as a power –first as a power running back. Lacy showcases fantastic power through the hole, plays with solid pad level for a power back, and shows great balance through contact and decisive steps upfield. Obviously not a burner at the running back position, Lacy may not be a “feature back” at the NFL level on a consistent basis, but he certainly can be a workhorse that can move the chains and pick up consistent yards. It usually takes big play ability or elite physical tools to be a first round running back anymore, and Lacy doesn’t possess either of those skill sets. However, the 2nd round seems entirely likely, as this running back class isn’t top heavy, and a running needy team may value the physicality and the Alabama pipeline as a way to solidify their position.RELATED: 2013 NFL Draft Underclassmen Tracker As for Fluker, the right tackle prospect has the girth, physicality, and strength to be a long term starter at the NFL level. A true "mauler" (the easiest way to define him), he's more polished with his feet and hands than most right tackles are at the college level, and can provide an instant upgrade in the running game the way few NFL Draft tackles can do generally. He's never had great success against SEC speed rushers, but as long as he can get a tight end chip or the offense can gameplan adequately versus speed rushing 3-4 teams, he shouldn't be too much of a liability. Plus, with his plus hand strength and hand placement, he's shown the ability to handle power rushers, which is a big help in the pass protection game as well. While a right tackle won't be headlining our rankings now (especially with Eric Fisher there for now, and many left tackles set to declare), he'll be a "safe" second rounder (maybe late first) and will give some team a long term starter if he can stay healthy.
This seems like the ideal decision for both players to declare, and delaying this inevitable decision wouldn’t have been a wise one for the either player as they prepare for the National title game in early January. But both aren’t seen as 1st round prospects, and they’ll be thrown into the mix of seniors that this class already possesses, as they hope to stand out and continue the impressive Crimson Tide pipeline of NFL talent.