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Sam’s Film Room: Why Eddie Lacy is a good fit for the Seahawks run game

Video analysis of his 71 carries from his 2016 season.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Edit: If the video above does not play, please click “Watch on YouTube” or follow this link.

The Seattle Seahawks signed Eddie Lacy to a one-year deal worth up to $4.25 million in March, four years after he went one pick ahead of their selection in the 2013 draft. For this video, I tracked all of his carries from 2016 to determine the Green Bay Packers’ scheme and to figure out his role in Seattle’s offense.

From my research, Packers and Seahawks actually share many similarities. Both teams run a high portion of zone running plays which make up roughly two thirds of their called runs. Green Bay’s main running play is outside zone, but when Lacy was on the field they ran almost equal inside zone to outside zone. Seattle, on the other hand, ran a higher portion of inside zone this season. Additionally, both teams primarily run out Shotgun and Singleback.

Based on scheme, I think Lacy is a good fit. He is a powerful back and runs with good pad level. He’s light on his feet and makes quick fluid movements. He is not afraid to run through contact and shows underrated elusiveness in space. He isn’t extremely dynamic, but he consistently falls forward and broke 26 tackles on his 75 total touches.

One of my biggest fears, due to the Seahawks’ poor blocking unit, was that Lacy would have to show agility and elusiveness to create on his own. Early last season, the one thing that I loved about Christine Michael was that he was rarely taken down in the backfield for a loss.

As far as negatives, Lacy sometimes does not take the “dirty play” leading to a poor decision. In a zone scheme, the running back is required to hit his holes almost mechanically. A running back that does not consistently do this becomes a liability. It did not happen on every play, but it happened enough for me to spot it on tape.

Beyond the occasional poor read on a zone play, he also needs to keep his weight in check to be effective. When he was drafted in 2013, he weighed 231 pounds. According to his contract, he needs to get under 245 pounds by September and stay there for the rest of the season. Clearly, the Seattle front office considers it a problem, but they think Lacy can still be an effective running back in their system and also don’t want him to lose too much weight as they like him as a big — not too big — force in the backfield.

Overall, I really like this signing. Lacy is a fit for the Seahawks scheme, and he’s also still young enough to potentially only be halfway through his career, giving him a chance to stick around beyond 2016 if all goes right.

Update: Lacy passed his month of June weigh-in for being under 250 lbs.