Philadelphia Eagles rookie running back Bryce Brown emerged as a legitimate threat on Monday Night Football against the Carolina Panthers.
Brown rushed for 178 yards and two touchdowns and proved that the Eagles are not as handicapped as first forecasted when LeSean McCoy went down with an injury.
He showed great quickness and acceleration out of the backfield—quickly finding holes opened up by a struggling Philadelphia offensive line and making defenders miss once he reached the second level.
Brown's success raises questions about how the Eagles will use him going forward and if McCoy will lose any touches once he returns from injury, a similar sounding situation to the one Arian Foster found himself in just a few years ago.
Remember Steve Slaton? The Houston Texans running back that rushed for 1,282 yards and nine touchdowns in 2008 only to be replaced by Foster after getting injured in 2009. Foster emerged with a 4.8 yards-per-carry average that season and asserted himself as the leader of the Texans backfield. Slaton went into a downward spiral and has rarely been heard from since.
Now, I am not jumping to conclusions after one game and saying Brown will be the next Foster, but he could be. They have similar builds—Foster at 6'1", 228 pounds and Brown at 6'0", 223 pounds. They have similar rushing styles that stay largely between the tackles but can also emerge outside the hash marks when needed.
Foster has become one of, if not the best running back in the NFL because has a versatile skill set and can also be a weapon in the passing game. Foster has 1,436 career receiving yards and six receiving touchdowns. While at Tennessee in 2009, Brown gained 137 yards and a touchdown on just 10 receptions.
The similarities between the two are almost too hard not to mention:
Same college? Check.
Brown spent a year at Tennessee before transferring to Kansas State while Foster spent his entire collegiate career with the Volunteers.
Similar draft position? Check.
Brown was taken at the tail end of the draft in the seventh round while Foster went undrafted.
Brown has that scary prospect of potential and showcased it on Monday Night Football. Will he continue to flourish or fade away quickly? That much is unknown, but the next Foster may be ready to emerge.