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Eagles top 10 acquisitions of 2017: #7 — LeGarrette Blount

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NFL: Super Bowl LII-Philadelphia Eagles vs New England Patriots Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Virtually everything the Eagles touched in 2017 turned to gold silver. With free agency around the corner and the draft to follow, we look back at the top 10 moves the Eagles made on their path to the Super Bowl.

Doug Pederson’s offense was rightfully praised as the most advanced in the NFL. Innovation in the NFL almost always trickles up from college and high school, and Pederson and his staff gobbled it up like ice cream.

Which makes it interesting that the player that touched the ball the most in his offense (after the quarterback and center) was a good old fashioned smash mouth running back. LeGarrette Blount was the perfect dose of old school to the new school Eagles. So long as offensive players block and defensive players tackle, there will always be a need for players who excel at being hard to tackle. According to Football Outsiders, Blount broke a tackle on 26.5% of his touches, the 9th most of anyone who touched the ball at least 100 times.

That was about the only thing predictable with Blount. Brought in to be the primary runner, he touched the ball just once, a pass reception, in the Week 2 loss to the Chiefs. Three years prior in Pittsburgh, he left the sideline before the end of the game after receiving no touches in a game and was cut the next day.

After leading the NFL in rushing touchdowns in 2016, he didn’t even lead the Eagles. Almost nothing about Blount’s performance went according to expectation, and none of it was his fault. Carson Wentz was on another level in the red zone, throwing 23 of the Eagles 37 total red zone touchdowns. 15 teams didn’t even throw for 23 touchdowns all season. There was no reason beyond keeping a team off balance or continuing to dominate a defense on the ground to put the ball in anyone else’s hands. Blount even got in on the pass catching action, getting the second touchdown reception of his career.

When the Eagles traded for Jay Ajayi, Blount’s role as the primary back was all but over. There was a fear that given his history, and that given the way his season went, that Blount would be a problem.

Like the rest of his season, that prediction fell flat. It would be five weeks until Ajayi out carried Blount, and in the Super Bowl Blount had more touches. And in the Super Bowl, who was the first to celebrate with Corey Clement when Clement scored?

It was the 3 yards and a cloud of dust running back in the league’s most advanced offense.