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Draft and the Depth Chart: Running Back

Third in a series looking at how the guys the Eagles drafted affect the depth chart at each position.

Part 1: Cornerback

Part 2: Wide Receiver

  1. Brian Westbrook -- Do I really need to talk about this? He's arguably the most important Eagle, so hopefully he won't get hurt anytime soon (fingers triple crossed).
  2. LeSean McCoy -- He's certainly got the talent. And we all love the pick. But it really is essential that he perform. This isn't some flyer at RB like Moats, Hunt, or Booker, who had the luxury to develop (or try) behind a solid back-up like Correll Buckhalter. McCoy's going to be thrown into the fire. Let's hope he's up to the challenge, especially blocking. Because if he struggles, we have so little depth behind our most valuable player. The coaches will cetainly be giving him all the opportunites in the world to grab this spot; but keep in mind, even Westbrook did hardly a thing his rookie season. We may be expecing too much for him to immediately contribute.
  3. Leonard Weaver -- Yeah yeah, he's a fullback. But he will likely also be the third leading rusher on this team, maybe even some short yardage stuff that we've needed so desperately. He's certainly got a nasty streak. Right now he's signed as a one year rental, but if he performs well there's no reason his stoutness can't be blocking here for a long time.
  4. Lorenzo Booker -- Here's where the bubble begins. Undeniably talented, he's been one-upped by another shifty back in McCoy, and will have to reassert himself if he wants to make the team, let alone assume the backup spot behind Westbrook. I imagine he'll have another great set of pad-less drills, but its when the real tackling starts that Booker has to show he's willing to take hits and deliver blocks. If he can't, the question becomes, why keep Booker when LeSean can do everything can do, but better?
  5. Kyle Eckel -- I for one really like what Eckel brings to the table here. He ran with some real toughness to grind out some of those wins at the end of last season. It would be nice to have a guy like that who can take pounding away from Westbrook, if LeSean's not trustworthy/big enough. Certainly we can't put Booker in that role. However, its unclear exactly how much Andy & Co. value a player like that, so the likelihood is that he's fighting for a job.
  6. Walter Mendenhall -- According to SI.com, Rashard's older brother is "just as big and strong carrying the ball... as Walter shows power on the inside, speed in the open field and the ability to slip tackles then create yardage." That all sounds good, and he would be a nice big back to complement the shifty guys the Eagles have (i.e instead of Eckel). Still, he's facing some long odds to make the roster. With surpluses at receiver, defensive back, and (as always) offensive line, I would think the Eagles try to keep only 4 backs this season, including Weaver as the big/short yardage back. 5 would make it much easier for him to make the cut, but remember the last big Big Ten back we took (Andy certainly will) and don't count on it.
  7. Marcus Thigpen -- He's a speed demon who ran on the track team (10.67 seconds on the 100 yard dash - hot damn) and accumulated big yards on the football field as a kickoff returner. That's more likely what he was drafted as by the Eagles, and Thigpen even said that the team told him he would be a "slot receiver and kick returner."  Thus, this may not be the best place to list him.
  8. Marcus Mailei -- Mailei is an interesting case who isn't quite competing with the other running backs, and probably won't make the team unless Weaver gets hurt. He's a pure fullback who didn't perform well in workout situtations but showed nice blocking ability and caught 58 balls in college. If he shows some promise, look for the Eagles to try and stick him on the practice squad as a possibility for next year if Weaver leaves.
  9. Eldra Buckley -- Call me cynical, but I find it hard to believe that a guy who spent 2 years on the Chargers practice squad makes this team.

What do you think?

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