Why LeSean McCoy Is the NFL's Most Underrated Player

Randy JobstSenior Analyst ISeptember 20, 2011

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 18:  LeSean McCoy #25 of the Philadelphia Eagles runs the football against the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on September 18, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The most important playmaker on the Philadelphia Eagles high powered offense isn't Michael Vick or DeSean Jackson. The player that makes this offense go is clearly LeSean McCoy. Jackson may be known for his ability to take it to the house on any given play, but McCoy opens things up for everyone on offense.

McCoy is as dangerous a runner as he is a receiver. In his first two seasons, McCoy had 1,717 rushing yards, along with 118 receptions and 900 receiving yards. Through the first two games, McCoy has 217 rushing yards on 33 carriers and six receptions for 36 yards.

He has become the most complete rusher in the NFL. He has had great success in short yardage situations while also having the ability to bounce any run to the outside. McCoy has become the perfect running back in a pass happy offense.

One of his most underrated attributes is his ability to pick up a blitz. McCoy has helped the Eagles to allow just three sacks through the first two games. In his third season, he has improved his ability to both read the blitz and be able to hold off blitzing linebackers and defensive backs.

In 2010, the Eagles went 6-0 when they had at least 150 rushing yards and 4-6 when they went under 150 rushing yards. McCoy's 1,080 rushing yards last season was a big reason for the success on the ground. This season, the Eagles opened the season with a 31-13 victory against the St. Louis Rams. McCoy lead the way as the Eagles rushed for 236 yards. In Week 2, the Eagles had some success on the ground, but not enough, as they lost to the Atlanta Falcons 31-35. The Eagles finished with 133 rushing yards.

The Eagles under head coach Andy Reid have become a pass first offense, but they have had more success when they have success running the ball. McCoy has been a big part of that the past two seasons. Since McCoy was drafted, the Eagles are 10-0 when rushing for at least 150 yards.

McCoy is just now starting to get some recognition as an elite back in the NFL. Players like Arian Foster, Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson get all the hype, but McCoy is starting to prove he belongs in the same conversation with that group.

Peterson has struggled with ball control in his career, and Johnson hasn't proven to be a good inside runner. McCoy has never lost more than one fumble in a season and has been one of the most successful short yardage backs in the league.

Currently, McCoy is fifth in the league in rushing. He trails the league's rushing leader, Fred Jackson of the Buffalo Bills, by just 12 yards despite having less carries. McCoy is averaging 6.6 yards per carry.

If the Eagles are going to finally going to win a Super Bowl, McCoy needs to become a larger part of the offense. He has just 39 touches through the first two games. Ideally, the Eagles should make sure that McCoy gets 20 to 25 touches a game. The more McCoy is involved in the offense, the easier it is for the rest of the offense to function.

When the Eagles can run the ball, it forces defenses to keep a safety in the box, thus creating deep ball opportunities for both Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson. It also takes the pressure of Michael Vick. The more success you have running the football, the more the defense has to key on containing the run rather than just rushing the passer.

 LeSean McCoy is still getting better as a player, as he hasn't even reached his prime yet. McCoy is already a top five back, and he hasn't even scratched the surface on how good of a back he is going to become. The better McCoy becomes, the great the Eagles high powered offense can become.