After a successful high school career as a running back and receiver, and an eighth-place finish in the California state meet in the 100 meters as a senior, Lacy signed to play wideout for the Utes. But surgery on both shoulders before 2008 forced him to take a medical redshirt, and the team’s need for athletes at cornerback put him on defense for the first time when he returned to the field the following fall.
Lacy played in all 13 games in 2009, making seven tackles, mostly on special teams, but also intercepting a pass and breaking up another in the 45-14 blow-out win over New Mexico. He did not play in the 2010 season, but his work on the scout team that season paid off in an honorable mention All-Pac 12 campaign the following year. Lacy showed up as the starter for all 13 contests in 2011, racking up 51 tackles, intercepting two passes and breaking up 10 others.
Lacy is not afraid to mix it up on the outside both in press coverage or when ripping off receiver blocks to grab running backs. His extreme foot quickness and sub-4.4 straight-line speed make him able to stay with receivers off the line as well as close on the ball when playing off. And, of course, the former receiver has the hands to make the interception in a fairly large catch radius (and area in which he can deflect passes from receivers’ hands) for his size.
His lack of height and overall bulk are the major detriments to his draft grade, and might keep him inside at the next level. Larger receivers can stiff-arm him after the catch and better pro receivers will effectively use their superior height and length downfield to keep him out of their catch radius.
This diminutive corner might struggle against bigger NFL receivers, keeping scouts from giving him early-round grades, but Lacy could be a potential starter in the slot at the next level because he will mix it up in run support and in coverage (two interceptions, 10 pass break-ups in 2011).
Future Hall of Famer
A once-in-a-generation type prospect who could change how his position is played
An impact player with the ability/intangibles to become a Pro Bowl player. Expect to start immediately except in a unique situation (i.e. behind a veteran starter).
A quality player who will contribute to the team early on and is expected to develop into a starter. A reliable player who brings value to the position.
A prospect with the ability to make team as a backup/role player. Needs to be a special teams contributor at applicable positions. Players in the high range of this category might have long-term potential.
A player with solid measurables, intangibles, college achievements, or a developing skill that warrants an opportunity in an NFL camp. In the right situation, he could earn a place on a 53-man roster, but most likely will be a practice squad player or a camp body.