Buying or Selling Bryce Brown as a Feature Back in the NFL
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On Monday Night Football in Week 12 against the Carolina Panthers, the rookie’s first start resulted in 19 rushing attempts for 178 yards and two touchdowns. He added four receptions for 11 yards. Six nights later, Brown followed up that performance with 24 carries for 169 yards and two more scores, adding four grabs for 14 yards against the Dallas Cowboys on the road.
Like the starting running back in the other jersey on Sunday Night Football, DeMarco Murray, Brown’s first start came as a result of a midseason injury. Each guy made the most of his opportunity when it came (Murray ran for 253 yards against the St. Louis Rams) and now Murray is in a position that Brown most likely hopes to have.
Brown’s combination of power, speed, elusiveness, decisiveness and consistency (albeit over a small sample size) are qualities that would assist him in his pursuit to be a featured running back in the NFL. His talent wasn’t the reason that he slipped in the NFL draft.
Can Bryce Brown be a successful feature back in the NFL?
Of course, if Brown is going to be a feature back in 2013, it’s likely not going to be in Philadelphia—mostly because incumbent starter LeSean McCoy is no Felix Jones. McCoy scored 20 total touchdowns (in 15 games) in 2011, is a threat to score any time he touches the football and won’t be disappearing as an offensive option.
Jones has topped 1,000 total yards in a season once. His career-high number of total touchdowns in a season is five (and counting) in 2012.
Brown’s numbers aren’t just rosy because of poor competition. Prior to Sunday Night Football in Week 13, the Panthers were 25th against the run, but the Cowboys’ beat-up unit was 12th. Brown certainly looks legit and is playing his way into more touches in the future.
He just can’t have them all with a healthy McCoy around—and he certainly won’t get the chance if his fumbling problems persist. Brown has turned the ball over three times in the two games.
For more NFL analysis and opinions, follow Jamal on Twitter: Follow @StatManJ.
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