Sleeper Spotlight: Will Isaiah Pead Prove Valuable In 2012 Or Beyond?

by Ray Kuhn

Player:  Isaiah Pead

Position:  RB

Team:  St. Louis Rams

ADP:  152.03

Draft Range:  112 – Not Drafted (All ADP data courtesy of www.mockdraftcentral.com)

Pead was drafted in the second round by the Rams this year as they begin to think about eventually replacing mainstay Steven Jackson.  Other than due to an injury (and Jackson has managed to stay healthy so far in his career), that will not happen in 2012.  What will happen is Pead will see the field on third downs, have the opportunity to catch some passes out of the backfield (although this is not a need for the Rams because Jackson has pass catching ability) and at times spell Jackson to keep his workload manageable.  Additionally, in leagues that count return value, Pead will have value.  In college he only returned 10 punts for 74 yards, but that was due his role as running, not lack of ability.

In college Pead was a player that got better every year as he got more opportunities.  Last season for Cincinnati he rushed 237 times for 1,259 yards and 12 touchdowns.  He also caught 39 passes for 319 yards and 3 touchdowns.

He is a smaller player (5’10’ and 197 pounds) so do not expect much between the tackles rushing from him, at least as a rookie.  There are some similarities with another Jeff Fisher draftee, Chris Johnson.  Not only do they have combine weights in common, but also a 1.4 second time in the 10 second split.

Jackson is one of the few running backs left with a strong hold on the starting position, but as he ages the Rams are aware that is workload must be watched.  By making Pead their second round pick they signaled that they are aware of this.  At the moment Pead does not hold any value beyond very deep leagues (14 teams and above) or dynasty leagues, but that could change as the season progresses.  He is someone that I would keep an eye on as his role and worth will be tied to Jackson’s health and performance, not necessarily his own skill.  He is someone that could surprise this season.

What do you think? Is Pead someone that you will be looking to draft late? Or will he just remain on your watch list for the season?

Make sure to check out our 2012 fantasy football rankings:

Training Camp Battle: Should Fantasy Owners Be Pulling For Jon Baldwin Over Steve Breaston In KC?
Wide Receiver Regression Risk: Whose Targets Could Diminish In 2012 (Lloyd, Bowe & More)

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