Isaiah Pead is a HB out of Columbus, Ohio. At Eastmoor Academy Pead broke records once held by two time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin. In his freshman year, he appeared in 7 games. As a sophomore he played in all 13 games, making three starts, leading the Big East with 6.7 yards per carry. In 2010, Pead burst onto the scene with an impressive 169 yards rushing against a very tough Oklahoma defense. He finished the season with 1,029 yards rushing.
At 5’11 200 pounds, Pead isn’t the largest back but does have room to add more weight to his frame. While he’ll never be a bruising type runner, he possesses enough strength to consistently produce solid yardage between the tackles.
Pead is a HS Division II champion in the 400m dash. He was also on the 4x100m relay team which made it to the state finals. Pead has a personal best of 10.89 in the 100m dash. While he’s expected by many to run in the 4.3 range, I feel as though that is rather ambitious. I fully expect him to run the 40, anywhere in the range of 4.47 to 4.50.
Pead is cat quick in terms of his change of direction and ability get to his top end speed. He shows outstanding burst through the hole freezing defenders with above average start and stop ability.
Pead is not the toughest interior runner at this point in his career, and will have even greater difficulty at the next level in this area. Due to his superior quickness, Pead is well adept at squeezing through the slightest crease in a defense. With that being said, he arrives at the hole with an extremely high pad level leaving him susceptible to being upended by arm tackles. He also has a tendency to keep a rather narrow base while running between the tackles which does not bode well for maintaining balance after contact. There are times where Pead will bounce an inside run to the outside before letting his blocks develop, relying upon his athleticism too heavily. Pead must become more patient and learn to press the hole to become a more accomplished inside runner.
On Sundays, Pead’s ability on the perimeter is where he will likely earn his keep in the NFL. Above all, his instincts and vision are what allow him to get around end on a consistent basis. On plays designed to the outside, he’s consistently displayed an ability to make defenders miss in a small window.
Since his days at Eastmoor Academy, Pead has shown natural hands out of the backfield. That aspect of his game that has seen tremendous improvement is his route running ability. Pead has the capability to create mismatches and poses a tremendous challenge to Safeties and Linebackers alike.
Pead does not possess prototypical size; however he’s a willing blocker who shows solid technique in pass protection. I was pleasantly surprised by his ability to step up in the hole and stop defenders in their tracks. Pead can absolutely be counted on in pass protection as he is greater than a chip/ cut blocker at the next level.
On outside runs, Pead reads his blocks extremely well. He has a unique ability to site cutback lanes as he is rarely strung out of bounds. For every bit of patience he shows on outside runs, he’s extremely impatient on inside runs. Instead of pressing the hole and waiting for his blocks to develop, he routinely bounces the run to the outside. While his current style may net him positive yardage in the Big East conference, the odds are certainly stacked against him at the next level.
Since his days in HS, I’ve always credited Pead with having exceptional vision. While he does have a tendency to bounce runs outside, he has had success when he is patient and continues to press the hole on inside runs. On designed cutback runs and plays designed to the outside Pead has consistently chosen the correct rushing lanes to maximize yardage. At the next level, he is going to have to continue to press the hole and be more patient on inside runs instead of running up the heels of his blockers.
Carrying/handling vs. fumbling
Pead carries the football rather low while in the open field but between the tackles, he is cognizant of how he’s carrying the football and looks to take care of it. Once Pead deems the inside to be clogged and begins looking to get on the perimeter, I quickly noticed his ball carrying become exponentially more sloppy. Overall Pead protects the football quite well and does not have true ball security issues.
Pead has been nicked up over the course of his collegiate career but has yet to sustain a serious injury. He has stayed relatively healthy; however he has endured knee and hamstring injuries. Last year he missed games against Indiana State and North Carolina State due to a bruised knee. There are times; Pead comes out of games for significant stretches leading some to question his toughness. All things considered Pead has remained relatively healthy, but I would like to at least him remain in games when minor injuries occur.
Pead has certainly worked hard at his craft. While there is nothing wrong with being confident and believing in your talent and preparation, there are concerns that he is at times overconfident in his abilities. Though he is just a young man in his early twenties, it has been suggested that there is a lack of maturity that exist with Pead as well. It is my hope that a talent like Pead can become more humble in his approach and become a positive locker room presence on a consistent basis.
With his elusiveness, vision, instincts and catching ability out of the backfield, it’s difficult to deny Pead’s talent. Unfortunately his lack of natural inside running ability makes him somewhat limited. Pead should look to lower his pad level and remain patient while pressing the hole on inside runs to maximize yardage. Pead averaged 6.6 yards per carry last season, but this stat is slightly misleading. I rarely knock a player for looking for the home run; however it tends to have an impact on his consistency in runs. Pead should come to understand that in some situations, a 3 yard run is a good play. At this point in his career, Pead is better suited as a situational back with an outside chance of becoming an every down type if he is able to improve upon his pad level and inside running ability. Pead will likely be a late 2nd to 3rd round selection in the 2012 NFL draft.