Going into the 2012 NFL Draft, Isaiah Pead was considered a late riser and hot sleeper among the running back prospects. Now that he has joined the St. Louis Rams as a second-round pick, No. 50 overall, Pead is being tabbed for a featured role in the near future.
The Rams are looking at Pead as more than just a complement to 6-2, 240-pound Steven Jackson, ESPN reports. Given Jackson turns 29 in July and carried a big load over his eight seasons and two-time All-Pro career, Rams officials were expected to bring fresh legs.
Rams coach Jeff Fisher has been versatile in his philosophy about what kind of back can thrive in getting 20-25 touches for his offense. With the Tennessee Titans, Fisher got to Super Bowl XXXIV against the Rams with 6-3, 240-pound Eddie George. Then Fisher got a 2,006-yard rushing season from 5-11, 191-pound speedster Chris Johnson in 2009.
This is certainly interesting from a dynasty standpoint, but it's too soon to write Jackson off. While he does have a lot of wear on his tires, his YPC in 2011 (4.4) was slightly above his career average and he certainly still looks the part of an every-down back. The team will likely work Pead into the mix, but Jackson is a decent bet to repeat the 302 touches he had last season, especially if the Rams' offense improves as expected.