clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

LeSean McCoy: The Best, With Numbers To Back It Up

This feature is a weekly piece on titled From The Eagles, featuring Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro. The intention is to provide a perspective directly from the Philadelphia Eagles in this forum for the great fans who visit BGN.

LeSean McCoy was taken by the Eagles the second round of the 2009 draft, and a week or so after the draft I hosted an event at the NovaCare Complex with Ted Williams, then the team's running backs coach. Williams, now the Eagles' tight ends coach, knew a thing or two about great running backs having coached Ricky Watters, Charlie Garner, Duce Staley, Brian Westbrook and Correll Buckhalter prior to McCoy's arrival.

Anyway, I asked Williams what made McCoy so enticing.

Williams directed my attention to the floor. "I'm making a 3 foot by 3 foot box," Williams said, air drawing an imaginary box. "I could put any running back in this draft in this box with a defender and LeSean is the only one who would get out of the box untouched. That's why we drafted him."

It turned out to be a master stroke. McCoy was the 53rd overall pick, selected in Round 2, taken after Knowshon Moreno (Denver), Donald Brown (Indianapolis) and Beanie Wells (Arizona), all of whom were first-round draft choices. McCoy has outdistanced them all - combined.

In fact, McCoy is 48 yards away from juking past Wilbert Montgomery and into first place on the franchise's all-time rushing list. In his sixth season, McCoy's number eclipse them all - Staley, Westbrook, Van Buren, Watters.

Only Montgomery remains.

And while the numbers will verify that McCoy is the best in the modern era of Eagles running backs - this does not include Steve Van Buren, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and a dominating player from the late 1940s - the truth is that McCoy established himself long before the rise up the rushing yards charts. He's been a durable, consistent and extremely productive player since he was drafted. Although his numbers have dropped as a pass catcher - he has caught 50-plus passes in three different seasons, including 78 in 2010 -- McCoy thrived in Andy Reid's West Coast offense and he's excelled in Chip Kelly's scheme.

McCoy has four 1,000 yards seasons. He had 17 rushing touchdowns in 2011. His 637 ground yards in 2009 set an Eagles rookie record. McCoy led the NFL in rushing yards and total yards from scrimmage in 2013. He does the dirty work in pass production. He takes on contact - McCoy is fourth this season in the NFL in yards after initial contact, according to Pro Football Focus.

That's what made his early-2014-season lack of production such a topic of conversation for the media and fans. "Why Is LeSean McCoy Struggling This Season?" shouted a headline on in September. Media members opined on the source of McCoy's down numbers, wondering if the pressure of his pre-season stated goal of 2,000 rushing yards weighed on him, or if he had lost a step, or the toll of so many touches in 2013 (366) simply wore him out, or if defenses were just so concentrated on McCoy that his run lanes were clogged.

Turns out, it was none of the above. Shady is still Shady. The early-season injuries and changing personnel up front stifled the running game, but now that center Jason Kelce and left guard Evan Mathis are healthy and right tackle Lane Johnson is on the field after missing four games because of an NFL suspension, the offensive line is opening holes and McCoy is making great things happen.

He's the best the Eagles have ever had, at least in the era that we know. McCoy is 48 yards away from making history, from making something official that anyone who has watched him these last six years already knew: There has been no running back at his level in an Eagles uniform in decades. McCoy stands alone.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Bleeding Green Nation Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your Philadelphia Eagles news from Bleeding Green Nation