Unlike Running Backs Past, LeSean McCoy Won't Be Bust for Eagles

Paul DowdsContributor IJune 12, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - MAY 1: Running back LeSean McCoy #29 of the Philadelphia Eagles runs the ball during minicamp practice at the NovaCare Complex on May 1, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

I was perusing the recent articles on PhiladelphiaEagles.com when I came upon this response from a fan in regard to an article about Brian Westbrook's injury:

"Westbrook was past his prime anyway. It's been time to start shopping for a new running back, and going into the draft this year, I saw LeSean McCoy as the biggest potential bust."

LeSean McCoy is not a bust.

Not yet, at least. And don't count on that changing.

Many people seem to assume that McCoy will be a bust because of Andy Reid's lack of success drafting running backs in the middle rounds.

Ryan Moats

It all started with Ryan Moats. A third-round pick, he went 5'8'', 210 pounds.

There were expectations for Moats. He was given a number of opportunities—some he capitalized on, some he didn't.

His NFL career began in 2005. Westbrook went down, and all of a sudden Moats was thrown into the spotlight.

Moats played seven games, one of which he started. He averaged a very solid 5.1 yards per carry with 278 yards on 55 attempts. He showed signs of life, including an electric 59-yard touchdown run. Moats' future looked bright in Philadelphia.

But that didn't last all that long. By the 2006 offseason, he was receiving fewer looks in organized team activities and mini-camps. Nobody knows exactly what happened, but Andy Reid and the organization no longer saw him as a viable future starter.

The 2006 season was disappointing for Moats. He did not start a game, and was only played sparingly. He managed a meager 69 yards in 22 attempts—an insufficient 3.1 yards per carry. That performance signaled the end of Ryan Moats in Philadelphia.

Tony Hunt

There was a lot of hype around Tony Hunt when he was selected by the Eagles in the third round of the NFL draft. The pride and joy of the Nittany Lions was expected to make an impact in his first year as a Philadelphia Eagle.

He was a bigger running back by Andy Reid's standards. He had a solid four inches on Westbrook—a giant among the Eagles' running back corps—at 6'2". He was also on the heavier side for a running back—again, by Reid's standards—at 233 pounds.

In his first season as an Eagle, Hunt could not get onto the field. He was used very sparingly, mostly in games that the Eagles had already won or when Westbrook was too shaken up to play. He managed only 16 yards on 10 attempts—a pathetic 1.6-yard average.

In his sophomore year, Hunt seemingly found his niche on the team. He was announced as the starting fullback. After some disappointing performances, he found himself on the bench again for another four games before being released from the Eagles.

LeSean McCoy

That brings us to the Eagles' most recent draft pick. LeSean McCoy, out of Pittsburgh, weighs in at 5'10'', 198 pounds. There was a lot of supposition that if he had remained in college for another year he could very well have been a first-round pick in the subsequent draft.

Many so-called fans believe that McCoy is a sure bust because he's much like Reid's other experimental, miniature, early mid-round running backs. But there's another running back with McCoy's height and general weight.

His name is Brian Westbrook.

Westbrook: Third round, 5'10'', 203 pounds.

McCoy: Second round, 5'10'', 198 pounds.

Notice a resemblance?

I'm not going to try and tell you that McCoy is the next LaDainian Tomlinson. I'm not even going to try and tell you that he's the next Brian Westbrook.

The bottom line is, it's too early to even put the words "McCoy," and "bust," in the same sentence. I expect big things from McCoy, and you shouldn't do anything different.


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