Rams could not wait to end Vanderbilt's wait to have running back drafted

Sunday, April 28, 2013 at 11:08pm

ST. LOUIS — Zac Stacy made draft-day history for his school. He made the St. Louis Rams pretty happy, too.

The Rams were so enamored of the Vanderbilt running back that they finished off their draft class early by trading up to get Stacy in the fifth round on Saturday. Besides holding school records for rushing yards and touchdowns, the 5-8, 216-pound Stacy is the first Vandy back to get chosen since the NFL went to a seven-round draft.

He's the school's first back to get drafted, period, since the New Orleans Saints took Frank Mordica in the ninth round in 1980. The Rams traded both of their sixth-rounders to Houston for the chance to snag him and end Vandy's 33-year slump.

"He was one of probably the last guys on our board that we were really, really jacked about," general manager Les Snead said. "The rest was just going to be people we liked but (were) not jacked about, so at that point in time we said, 'Let's go get him.'"

The Rams wrapped up a seven-player class by trading up, just as they did to get West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin with the eighth overall pick. On the final day, they also took Alabama center Barrett Jones in the fourth round and Miami cornerback Brandon McGee earlier in the fifth, to go with linebacker Alec Ogletree in the first, and USC safety T.J. McDonald and West Virginia wide receiver Stedman Bailey in the third.

"From start to finish, very pleased," Snead said. "Each player fits a role, each player was coveted."

Stacy was third in the SEC with 1,141 yards rushing as a senior with 10 touchdowns. He's the school's only player to rush for 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons and holds school career records of 3,143 yards and 30 touchdowns, was second-team all-SEC and the MVP of the Music City Bowl.

"Zac is a very explosive runner," coach Jeff Fisher said. "He's a complete back and a strong inside kind of power runner that kind of gives us a change of pace."

Stacy, who set the school single-season rushing record with 1,193 yards as a junior, blossomed the last two seasons after totaling seven starts the first two years. He had anticipated getting picked on the final day. He knew the Rams had been interested.

"I was just sitting around, relaxing, not trying to stress about it, watching a little bit of the draft," Stacy said. "It all worked out great.

The Rams need depth at running back after losing Steven Jackson in free agency, leaving them with a pair of second-year players in Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead. Both Richardson, a seventh-round find last year as the change-of-pace back behind Jackson, and Pead, who had a disappointing season after getting picked in the second round, are more finesse-type backs.

"We're looking forward to Isaiah taking a step and Daryl continuing to improve," Fisher said. "This was a guy we thought had a chance to make some plays for us."