It's nice to have a draft order set and the Senior Bowl behind us (other all-star games, too, I suppose). The combine is the other big event of the offseason, so we really are halfway to the draft. Sort of.
At times runs like a big back, but lacks the size/power
Not overly fast or strong
Yards after contact
Summary: Pead is a quality mid-round running back who could quickly turn into a nice contributor in the NFL. The consensus projection has Pead as a third- or fourth-rounder.
Pead averaged 5.3 yards per carry with 1,259 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns in 2011. He also caught 39 passes for 319 yards and three scores. The senior had huge games against Tennessee, North Carolina State and Louisville, but he did not play well against either South Florida or Connecticut.
Pead had a good showing at the Senior Bowl. He looked pro-ready with the way he showed the capacity to contribute on third down. He also returned some punts well in Mobile even though he didn't do that much in college. Pead runs with good vision with a nice burst. He does not have a lot of power even though there are times when he runs like a big back. He probably won't break a lot of tackles and get much yards after contact in the NFL.
One trait that makes Pead standout over other running back prospects is his blitz protection. He is very advanced in that department. He does a good job of reading which defenders he needs to pick up and fits up pretty well in his blocks. Most running back prospects aren't nearly as well prepared for the passing game. Pead also is a good receiver out of the backfield with good hands. All of these attributes make him an ideal third-down back candidate.
Having said that, Pead doesn't have the bulk or dynamic ability to be a bell-cow running back in the NFL. At times, he runs like a big back and is too upright. He'll need to work on his body lean and run behind his pads more in the NFL. He doesn't present a speed or power mismatch going against a defense. Another issue for Pead is ball security. He had some fumbles at Cincinnati, especially as a senior.
All in all, Pead could be a valuable part of a running back stable and would be a good player to have as part of a dual-back approach.
Player Comparison: Edgar Bennett. Pead reminds me of the former Packer and Bear veteran. Both are similar contributors in a passing offense. Bennett was heavier than Pead, while Pead is faster. Their style of play is very similar, however. Bennett caught 78 passes in 1994. He also had 61- and 59-reception years. Bennett was an early fourth-round pick of the Packers in the 1992 NFL Draft. Pead could go in that same region this year.
NFL Matches: Tampa Bay, Cincinnati, Seattle, Philadelphia, Denver, New York Jets, New York Giants
Pead would be a good option for a number of teams looking for a running back in the mid-rounds. The Bucs need a third-down back, and Pead would instantly be an upgrade in their passing offense. Cincinnati is looking for running back help, and Pead would be a good fit in Jay Gruden's offense. The Seahawks could use a running back for depth.
Pead's third-down abilities make him a great fit in the Eagles' offense. Philadelphia could use some depth at running back behind LeSean McCoy. The Broncos need running back help, and Pead would be a good receiving/blocking back for Peyton Manning to work with. Both the Jets and Giants could use some assistance at the position.