Philadelphia Eagles: 5 Reasons Philly Needs to Draft a Running Back
One of the key needs for the Philadelphia Eagles this offseason is to upgrade the backfield.
While I agree that the most pressing needs are on the offensive line and in the secondary, the Eagles cannot overlook the RB position on draft day.
LeSean McCoy had a breakout 2010 campaign in which he rushed for over 1,000 yards and scored nine TDs.
However, McCoy is not the problem. McCoy is going to be a star in this league and he has already shown signs of that.
The problem lies with the current players behind McCoy.
Eldra Buckley and Jerome Harrison are free agents and the Eagles have no depth at the position.
Addressing this position in the draft would be a wise move.
Here are five reasons why the Eagles need to draft a RB.
The Brian Westbrook Effect
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Eagles fans all remember what happened to Brian Westbrook.
After having seven very successful years in Philadelphia, Westbrook broke down in his eighth-and-final season with the team.
In his first couple seasons, Westbrook was complimented by Duce Staley and Correll Buckhalter.
Once Staley left, Westbrook was left to carry a heavy load.
At only 5'10" and 200 pounds, he could only take so much.
He went from being one of the best RB in the league in 2008 to debating whether or not to retire in 2009.
The life of an NFL RB can change that quick.
McCoy was heavily overused last season. If the Eagles do not want the same thing to happen to McCoy, they have to find a compliment that can take the load off of him.
Short Yardage Situations
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For the past few seasons, the Eagles have been dreadful at converting on 3rd-and-short situations.
In 2010, the Eagles did show improvement by using Michael Vick to convert more third downs.
However, using Vick to run is not how the team should operate on offense.
The Eagles need to find a compliment to LeSean McCoy, who is a bigger stronger back.
They can use a mid-round pick and get a guy like Daniel Thomas out of Kansas St.
Thomas is a 6'0", 230-pound back who can pound the ball up the middle.
His catching abilities also could make him a dual threat in the Eagles backfield.
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As I mentioned before, the only Eagles RB that is signed through 2011 is LeSean McCoy.
The growing trend in the NFL is that teams need two or three RBs who can be productive.
In the past, teams like Dallas, New Orleans and New York (G) have had multiple RBs that split carries.
Having more than one RB helps the team in the long run. It helps keep the No. 1 guy fresh and limits his carries so that he is healthy for the playoff run.
If the Eagles do not find a compliment to McCoy, "Shady" will not have a very long NFL career.
He already had to miss a game last season and played through multiple injuries because of how much he was used.
Make the Offense Even More Dangerous
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With the emergence of Michael Vick in 2010, the Eagles offense went from being a good offense to being one of the best in the league.
The Eagles have plenty of weapons, including DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Brent Celek.
If the Eagles could add another compliment RB to LeSean McCoy, the Eagles offense will get even better.
Teams started to focus on McCoy and Vick towards the end of the season and the Eagles offense struggled at times.
If the Eagles add another RB and create a dual backfield, that will make the Eagles offense that much more dangerous.
Reliance on the Run
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Under Andy Reid, the Eagles have been known as a pass-first kind of offense.
Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg is trying to change that approach as he has continued to call more running plays the past few years.
In 2009, the Eagles rushed 24 times per game for an average of 4.3 yards per carry.
In 2010, they rushed almost 27 times per game for an average of 5.4 yards per carry.
Mike Vick definitely helped that statistic with his ability to run if the pocket collapses.
However, if the Eagles continue to show their willingness to run the ball, they are going to need another RB behind LeSean McCoy who can take the load off the third-year veteran.
It will also make the Birds less one-dimensional than they have been in the past.