They may be “fat”, but will they still produce? That’s the question that’s been running through my mind this offseason when members of the community have been discussing the weight of Eddie Lacy and Kelvin Benjamin. Yes, they’re certainly bigger guys, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be relevant and hold substantial value.
Kelvin grabbed headlines early this offseason when there were murmurs of him showing up to practices at 280 pounds. Albeit a likely exaggeration, his case wasn’t helped by this image. With many already considering Kelvin to be sluggish (or as Rich calls him…a tub of goo), these reports certainly didn’t help alleviate any question marks regarding his conditioning.
Coach Ron Rivera confirmed that he entered camp “a little heavy”. However, as the offseason has wound up, Kelvin has seemingly worked his way back into shape. Kelvin acknowledged that he needs to be in the best shape of his life to succeed this season, and after months of hard work he seems to be close to achieving his goal. Rivera brought a different tone as preseason approaches by stating, “he is where he needs to be” weight-wise. This was supported by The Charlotte Observer who claimed Kelvin looks “leaner” and “quick off the ball” early in Panthers camp.
Kelvin isn’t a world beater, but he has been slipping to the 7th and 8th round of startup drafts lately. This seems ludicrous and I firmly believe he can be a touchdown producing WR2/3. The Panthers haven’t had all phases come together for a while now. Either the O-line is banged up, Cam is hurting, or Kelvin is dealing with an injury. Perhaps 2017 could be the year when those 3 can produce at the same time. If Carolina can sufficiently protect a healthy Cam, we saw what he was capable of in 2015. That season Kelvin was missing with a torn ACL, but if he entered the fold I am certain he will be more than worth his price.
The Panthers added Curtis Samuel and Christian McCaffrey to make their offense more dynamic and this could alleviate some pressure from Kelvin. I expect over 1,000 yards and 6 TDs in 2017 for Kelvin….at which point, I’m sure the fat jokes will end.
Switching to the West coast, Eddie Lacy has suffered ridicule for years. Even after consecutive 1,100 yard pro bowl seasons in 2013 and 2014, Lacy has endured critics regarding his weight. This was brought to the forefront yet again when it was revealed that he would get paid $55k every month for reaching weight goals, as well as his well-documented P90X workouts. Lacy’s regime seems to have worked after getting down to 245, after being listed at over 260 pounds to start the program. As such, Pete Carroll noted that Lacy can be a big factor in getting Seattle’s run game back on track. However, there appears to be a bit more competition for Lacy than Kelvin.
Seattle has a 3-headed monster in the backfield with Lacy, Rawls, and Prosise. All of whom have struggled with injuries lately. Prosise’s role seems to be a given. With his traits and expertise most would agree that he figures to be the passing down, change of pace back. However, Rawls and Lacy possess a similar early down bruising style.
Unfortunately, this could lead to both backs being limited production wise. Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times believes they will “take a fairly equal share of the basedown carries”. Having said that, with Rawls missing 10 games in 2 years, an injury could open a big opportunity for Lacy. On the flip side, Seattle’s offensive line is beyond bad (ranked worst in the league by PFF), so even if Lacy gets the starting job locked down, there’s no guarantee he’ll have the space to produce.
My conservative estimate for Lacy is 500 yards rushing with 5 TDs. If Rawls can’t remain in the picture however, I could see that jump to 800 yards and 7 TDs.
For me, all the negativity regarding both their weights plays in my favor. I’m happy to watch their prices slide allowing me to get a WR3 or RB3 for pennies on the dollar. There very well could be “Fat” production out there.