Philadelphia Eagles: Is Noel Devine the New Brian Westbrook?

Jacob ForresterCorrespondent IJuly 28, 2011

LOUISVILLE, KY - NOVEMBER 20:  Noel Devine #7 of the West Virginia Mountaineers runs with the ball during the Big East Conference game against the Louisville Cardinals at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on November 20, 2010 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Everyone in Philadelphia is talking about the big trade of Kevin Kolb for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and all of the possibilities of whom the Eagles may get in free agency. Because of this the signing of Noel Devine has been overlooked.

I personally think that is a big mistake. When I see Devine, I see a great new running back to team with a top-tier back already in LeSean McCoy. I see Brian Westbrook II.

First of all, they are very similar in size, with Noel Devine being the slightly smaller of the two. This characteristic is a very superficial comparison, but one that must be had if you need to compare the two. You couldn't compare Devine with Brandon Jacobs, now could you?

Then, you look at their respective college careers. Brian Westbrook played at Villanova for four years, and his career stats were 725 carries for 4,298 yards, averaging 5.9 yards a carry. Noel Devine has similar numbers over his four years at West Virginia, with 728 carries for 4,315 yards, for 5.9 yards per carry.

It is unfair to compare their receiving, rushing TD, or kickoff return numbers. West Virginia has more players that were good enough to achieve all of those tasks, while Westbrook was the star of his team. However, I feel Devine could have accomplished numbers like that of Westbrook, if he was put in a similar situation, based on the statistics he did accrue.

PHILADELPHIA - DECEMBER 15:  Brian Westbrook #36 of the Philadelphia Eagles runs the ball against the Cleveland Browns on December 15, 2008 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

They are both considered elusive and have the ability to catch, run and return kickoffs extremely well. Devine could have similar role for the Eagles as Westbrook did. Both also had issues surrounding them out of college (injuries and size), which caused their stock to drop. I feel Devine may have been drafted and at a decent pick if it were not for the de-emphasis of the running back in the current game of football, like it was when Westbrook was drafted.

No one has really noticed the signing of Noel Devine as a big thing. But don’t worry Eagles fans, they should. I expect that we will see great things out of Devine in the next few years, causing other teams to kick themselves for not getting him when they had the chance.

Good. Bad. I’m the guy with the voice.