Rotoprofessor’s Pop Quiz: Should We Consider LeSean McCoy a RB1?
Written by Eric Stashin of www.rotoprofessor.com
Image courtesy of Icon SMI
LeSean McCoy showed enough in his rookie campaign to allow the Philadelphia Eagles to let oft injured veteran running back Brian Westbrook walk in the offseason. Selected in the second round of the 2009 draft, McCoy now has a chance to put his skills on full display.
The question is, how good do you think he will be? In abbreviated appearances (only 4 starts despite appearing in all 16 games) last season he managed to rush for 637 yards and 4 TD. He averaged 4.1 yards per carry, a more then respectable number.
As has always been the Eagles nature, he was a great option in the passing game. He had 40 receptions for 308 yards, showing the same type of ability as Westbrook did. In their offense that uses a lot of screens, Westbrook accumulated as many as 90 catches in a season and was always a threat.
With Kevin Kolb manning the quarterback position, it’s quite possible that the focus on using the running backs increases. Despite the ability Kolb showed last season, there’s a big difference starting week after week, as opposed to starting just one or two games (you can click here for my full thoughts on him).
He could easily feel the pressure. The Eagles could easily script the plays in order to protect him, limiting the risks he’s forced to take. That means more screens, more check downs to his running back or tight end. That means more opportunities for McCoy to excel.
The offensive line, however, will need to hold up to allow him to run rampant. The last time they stepped on the field, they allowed four sacks to the Dallas Cowboys, including a pair from DeMarcus Ware.
They did little to improve the line, though the group is rather large and has a year of playing together under their belts:
- LT Jason Peters – 6′4″, 340 lbs.
- LG Todd Herremans – 6′6″, 321 lbs.
- C Nick Cole – 6′0″, 350 lbs.
- RG Stacy Andrews – 6′7″, 340 lbs.
- RT Winston Justice – 6′6″, 320 lbs.
They did allow 38 sacks last season, twelfth most in the league. They had a few injuries, as well as a sub par season from the newly signed Stacy Andrews (who was recovering from injury), so they should see improvements there. Still, the group is a bit of a concern.
It’s not enough of a concern to downgrade McCoy, because the truth is a weak line could help steer them more towards a shorter passing game. That will help to offset any struggles in the running game. While it’s easy to blame Westrbrook for the team finishing 22nd in the league in rushing, the line certainly helped to play a role.
If they aren’t improved up front, it doesn’t matter how electric McCoy may be. And he has the potential to be electric…
McCoy played just two seasons at Pittsburgh, but he showed the same ability there that flashed last season. In 24 games he rushed for over 2,700 yards and 37 TD. He also showed his ability in the passing game, with 64 receptions and another 500+ yards.
I wouldn’t draft him as a RB1, but he has the potential to perform like one. He has a current ADP of 35.6, meaning he’s going at the end of the third round. That’s the 18th running back coming off the board. I have him significantly higher (11th on the most recent rankings, which you can view by clicking here), though, like I said, I’d much prefer to have him as my RB2. In the late third/early fourth round, I’d select him every time.
He has a ton of potential, and the young QB should help get him involved in the passing game. If the line holds up and gives him room to run, he could significantly exceed his current draft position.
What are your thoughts on McCoy? How good could he be? Are you concerned at all?
Make sure to check out Rotoprofessor’s 2010 rankings: