Originally posted on Fox Sports Midwest  |  Last updated 8/8/12
ST. LOUIS -- Here Isaiah Pead stands, yards behind Steven Jackson as the ninth-year veteran cradles a pass from reserve quarterback Tom Brandstater during drills at Rams Park, the rookie resembling the lightning to Jackson's thunder. "Of course, we're two different types of running backs," says Pead, all of 5-feet-10, 197 pounds. "But you can always learn." Here Pead stands, cutting in the backfield late Tuesday afternoon, searching for a sliver of space between defenders whereas Jackson would bull through them. "Every man is himself," says Pead, chosen 50th overall to complement the 6-2, 240-pound Jackson, the St. Louis Rams' all-time leading rusher. "Everybody has their own routine." Pead is trying to develop his routine while drawing lessons from Jackson's example. The 22-year-old Cincinnati product is one of the Rams' most intriguing newcomers: He's quick, he's explosive, he can pivot in a pinch, and he can bounce from tackles like a greased pinball. The best part? He's only beginning to learn his limits. He lacks the bulk of Jackson, the Rams' rushing king with 9,093 career yards. But Pead has shown shades of Darren Sproles and Jamaal Charles, Chris Johnson and LeSean McCoy. He's shifty and creative, a stylist and a potential career-saver for the largest battering Ram of all. The promising part? He's only beginning to impress. "Isaiah has looked really impressive this camp," says Jackson, 29. "Isaiah is someone that is very shifty. He has a good understanding of the game of football. From my understanding, he played in a spread offense (in college), so he definitely brings a dynamic to us so we can use him and spread out the defense in ways so we can have a matchup problem, actually in our favor though." Perhaps. But how soon will Pead find his niche within coordinator Brian Schottenheimer's offense? The answer will determine the Senior Bowl MVP's comfort within the system, and ultimately, his impact in the coming months. Pead envisions himself buckling up behind quarterback Sam Bradford no matter the scenario to help a rushing attack that ranked 23rd in the NFL last fall with an average of 104.2 yards per game. He also could become a short-range pass option to keep defenses backpedaling. Why stop there? Pead is open to returning kicks. With a grin, he said lining up as a cornerback sounded appealing to him as well. Place him on the field, anywhere, please, and he is confident he will produce. "Whatever it is -- this whole rookie season, I want to be able to answer whenever the call's needed," Pead says. "I don't want to hold the team back. I don't want the coach hesitating or Sam hesitating to throw me in, because I don't know my plays or I drop too many balls. I don't want any hitches." There were few hitches during Pead's college career. He ended his four-year tenure at Cincinnati with 3,288 rushing yards, a total that ranks third all-time in program history. He found the end zone 27 times on the ground. He was named the Big East Offensive Player of the Year and the Liberty Bowl MVP last season. He ran a 4.47-second 40-yard time at the NFL combine. He drew praise for his instinctive style, before the Rams drafted him along with wide receiver Brian Quick (No. 33) and cornerback Janoris Jenkins (No. 39) in a three-pick second round. Pead has the background. Now the Rams want the dynamo from Columbus, Ohio, to show the NFL his burst. "Oh man, he's explosive," Quick says of Pead. "He bounces off tackles. He has nice little moves. It's amazing every time you see him run the ball, especially for a rookie. He's unbelievable when he runs the ball. He can make some amazing things happen." This is what amazing looks like: Rookie wide receiver Chris Givens has seen Pead produce eye-catching runs in recent sessions. On occasion, a defender has popped the running back during those plays, a reminder that these practices are no leisure stroll. Yet Givens witnessed the focused talent, who broke Archie Griffin's all-time rushing record at Eastmoor (Oh.) Academy, bounce back unfazed. One thought raced through Givens' mind: That's somebody I can play with. "You can tell he has a natural feel for the game when he's running the ball," says Givens, who was taken 96th overall. "He's swift with his cuts and elusive in small quarters, and that makes him hard to defend." It's a lesson the Rams want NFC West opponents to learn soon enough. Jackson, rugged and resilient as ever, remains the unquestioned king of St. Louis' backfield. But Pead could become a flashy complement in time. "I kind of have a mellow mind and just observe and watch and learn -- learn from (Jackson's) mistakes, learn from his good points," Pead says. "And I also go out and do what I am capable of doing."
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Bryce Harper has great response to $400 million contract question

Cavs discussed three-team deal that would net them Melo

Celtics reportedly discussing Kevin Love trade

New York Giants to pursue Matt Forte?

Joe Mauer to try wearing sunglasses to improve pitch tracking

Charles Woodson joining ESPN's 'Sunday NFL Countdown' team

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

A’s land Khris Davis from Brewers for prospects

Family of deceased Kyle Field construction worker awarded $53 million by jury

Chris Bosh to miss All-Star Game with calf injury, Al Horford to replace

NBA commissioner Adam Silver supports bringing sports betting in to the light

Mets pitcher Jenrry Mejia becomes first player ever banned by MLB for PEDs

Eight bold predictions for NBA All-Star Weekend

Why the Virginia Cavaliers are a National Championship contender

Cardiff City owner tells team to shoot more, because ugly men can marry beautiful women

Report: American Pharoah will make $35 million as stud in 2016

City hosts Tottenham in Valentine’s Day clash

Ranking the ten best free agent pitcher signings

Is there a place for Aaron Hill with the Brewers?

The market for forwards may shape the NHL trade deadline

Who had the best NBA All-Star Game of the last 40 years?

The winners and losers of the 2016 MLB offseason

The most intriguing NBA story lines for the rest of the season

Report: Timberwolves ‘lament’ Andrew Wiggins missing weight-lifting sessions

Kevin Durant to the Warriors makes little sense

City of Atlanta, Braves fighting over iconic Hank Aaron statue

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Ranking the ten best free agent pitcher signings

Who had the best NBA All-Star Game of the last 40 years?

The winners and losers of the 2016 MLB offseason

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker