Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy had a fantastic year in 2013. He’s in the prime of his career, and it’s hard to argue that he isn’t the best running back in the game.
But what about the two guys behind him on the roster?
Chris Polk and Bryce Brown are obviously working with limited carries behind McCoy. But in today’s NFL, injuries can happen at the drop of a hat. The question now is this — would Polk, Brown or both be able to adequately fill in if McCoy was out for an extended period of time?
The two combined to run for less than 500 yards in 2013. 20 percent of Brown’s touches went for zero or negative yardage. Polk only carried the ball 11 times.
After recent surgery to repair his shoulder, Polk may be poised to surpass Brown as the team’s No. 2 option. A guy who isn’t afraid to run between the tackles, Polk could be a short yardage, third down back for the Eagles. Brown has seemed hesitant at times to do this.
Part of the reason Polk went undrafted was because of said shoulder issues. Bryce Brown was a 7th round selection, though his career trajectory has trended downwards — he was one of the best players coming out of high school in 2009.
I don’t think the Eagles would consider bringing in a veteran to compete for a backup spot — they tried to do this last year, when Felix Jones was signed. Jones was eventually traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Polk and Brown would wind up rounding out the running back corps.
There are a few options that could intrigue them in the draft, but it again is all dependent on how the draft plays out. One player I believe they wouldn’t hesitate to take is Oregon’s De’Anthony Thomas. He would make an immediate impact in the return game, and we probably see more time lined up in the slot rather than the backfield.
Oh, and Chip Kelly of course coached him in college.
Regardless of what happen, the writing on the wall points to a battle going down in training camp for the No. 2 job. It’s all going to depend on how the Eagles view both of their young running backs, as they’re always a snap away from being heavily counted upon.