A Closer Look at the Eagles' Second-Round Selection: LeSean "Shady" McCoy

Leo PizziniAnalyst IJune 4, 2009

MORGANTOWN, WV - DECEMBER 1:  Running back LeSean McCoy #25 of the Pittsburgh Panthers rushes upfield against the West Virginia Mountaineers during the second half at Milan Puskar Stadium December 1, 2007 in Morgantown, West Virginia.  Pittsburgh defeated West Virginia 13-9.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

I am just way too excited to see what LeSean "Shady" McCoy is capable of doing in Andy Reid's offense.  He may not be the prototype running back by the traditional standard.  He is, however, a prototype running back for Andy Reid.

I am going to go out on a limb here and say that I believe McCoy is the best running back from the 2009 draft class.

McCoy at PITT

At PITT, McCoy put up some gaudy numbers in just two seasons:

| 2007 | 1,328 yards | 4.8 avg | 14 TD | 33 receptions | 244 yards | 1 TD |

| 2008 | 1,488 yards | 4.8 avg | 21 TD | 32 receptions | 305 yards | 0 TD | 

McCoy will be 21 in July, he was a sophomore in 2008.

Those are pretty impressive numbers for such a young player.

In 2007, McCoy earned unanimous freshman All-American and Big East rookie of the year accolades while setting freshman conference and school records.

In 2008, McCoy earned second team All-American and Big East offensive player of the year awards while setting more conference and school records.

McCoy was simply brilliant as a college football player.  He had a great sense of knowing where he was, where he wanted to be, where he was needed and how to get there.  He did especially well when he needed to be in the end zone.

When you watched him play at PITT, his quickness in and through a hole in the trenches was of an incendiary nature and his ability to manipulate the open field with vision, quickness and velocity was extraordinary.

McCoy's Workouts and Draft Day

Although McCoy was ill on the day of his combine workout, he impressed on his pro-day. 

His 4.48 second 40-yard dash did not disappoint anyone but McCoy.  That 4.48 would have ranked him fourth in the combine, but faster than Moreno, Brown and Wells.  He ran a 4.25 second 40 at the 2004 Nike State College Training Camp. 

LeSean's pro-day yielded more very strong running results with a 4.18 second 20-yard shuttle and a 6.82 second three-cone.  Those times would have ranked tied for sixth and first respectively, both faster than Moreno.

He surprisingly did not jump very well.  His broad jump and vertical left something to be desired, but his quickness and speed are definitely there.

In another draft, McCoy could have easily been a first round pick.  In 2009, McCoy is a Philadelphia Eagle.

On the Philadelphia Eagles team web site, McCoy was quoted, "I thought I would go way higher...being patient and then being drafted by the Eagles, the wait was worth it."

McCoy indicated on the Eagles team page that he has been mentored in many things by fellow Bishop McDevott, Pitt and Philadelphia Eagles alumni Ricky Waters. 

McCoy also mentioned that he grew up as a Barry Sanders fan.

More points in his favor.

In his post draft interview, he showed a ton of respect for Brian Westbrook's abilities.  McCoy expressed his intent to learn from Westbrook and contribute on the offense as a rookie, recognizing that he needs to work on his blocking.

McCoy's Prospects for the NFL

Aside from pass blocking, McCoy will need to improve his ball security a bit as well.  He ran with the ball a little too loose at Pitt and Andy Reid and running backs coach, Ted Williams, will make sure he is prepared to protect the ball at the NFL level before he steps on the field.

There have been differing statements expressing concern regarding McCoy's size.

LeSean McCoy is not as small as he has been billed.  At the combine he measured up at 5'10" and 198 lbs.  This is what is listed on the Eagles website and on the NFL draft page and other places. 

McCoy was battling the flu at the combine and did not participate other than in the bench press.  He was dehydrated and well under game weight.  Pitt measured McCoy at 5'11" and 210 lbs.  He weighed in at mini-camp at 213 pounds.  That's his game size.

The doubt that goes with small size is power and durability.  One problem with that as an exclusive correlation is that all backs get hurt, big and small.  Brandon Jacobs and LaDainian Tomlinson and everybody else gets hurt.

McCoy recorded two injury free seasons as a freshman and sophomore starter at PITT.  That's as much as you can do to show durability as an NFL rookie.

No mistaking him for a power back, McCoy was definitely the most elusive running back in the draft.  He may not finish like Moreno, have the stiff arm of "Beanie" Wells or the pass blocking skills of Donald Brown, but he has a shiftiness that none of them posses.

What I really like about McCoy is told by the way he works the ball in his hands.  He does a great job demonstrating his balance and understanding of his center of gravity as he changes ball carrying hands to gain leverage and preparedness in accelerating around and away from would-be-tacklers.

When he cuts, he looks like Westbrook.  Their plant foot just pierces the dirt and as they realign their bodies, the earth is violently turned-over under their feet as they explode in a new angle. 

It's a beautiful thing.

When finishing his run, he works down low to get under tacklers and squeeze out an extra yard or two.  Very much like Westbrook will finish a lot of runs.

McCoy is also a fantastic receiver out of the backfield.  He catches very well on the run and accelerates through the catch.  His hands are receiver quality. 

McCoy can learn his pass blocking technique.  His power comes from his legs and that is where you pass block from. 

McCoy Fitting in with the Eagles

In the rookie mini-camp and OTAs, McCoy has looked very good and breathtakingly quick.  His burst has caught everyone's attention.

Although McCoy has a lot to learn about the offensive system, he played in a pro style offense that is similar to the Eagles.  He should have an easier time adjusting because of his experience at PITT.

So we can expect that McCoy will be ready to contribute in 2009.  If McCoy can pick up the pass blocking duties he can be a three down back and give Westbrook a more sustainable breather.

He is a perfect fit for Andy Reid's brand of the west coast offense and should assimilate into the "where's waldo" running back role with his versatility.

McCoy has the raw skill set to develop into a very Westbrook like player.

LeSean McCoy will be a great back for the Eagles for several seasons.

For a first hand report on playing against LeSean McCoy: Click the Link

Breaking News

As I am writing this article, news is released of Westbrook requiring surgery for bone spurs in his ankle.  McCoy will likely get a lot of work early-on and a lot of share time with Westbrook to at least midseason.

This is terrible news.  The only bright spot is the hope that rookie LeSean McCoy can be ready for the NFL by the season opener. 

This is a lot of pressure for young McCoy, but I do think he works well under pressure.

For More Analysis on the Westbrook Injury: Click Here


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