What if LeSean McCoy is lost for the season?
By Matt Waldman
September 2nd, 2012

LeSean McCoy is without a doubt among the elite at his position. Explosive, versatile, and reliable for tough yards, McCoy can move the chains and break the big play at any time. Coupled with Michael Vick in the backfield, McCoy is the recipient of stretch play runs that look like screen passes because of Vick's ability to stretch to the flat before he makes the exchange with his running back. As good as McCoy is, the Eagles are in good, if not great shape, if its starting runner is sidelined. Although the running back depth chart is young, it is packed with talent capable of providing fantasy production that won't limit Philadelphia as much as other teams that might lose an elite runner like McCoy.

BUY

Dion Lewis, RB Although rookie running back Bryce Brown is generating a lot of buzz this summer, Dion Lewis is a talent with surprising skills between the tackles for his size. He has excellent feet, good balance, and strong vision to move the chains. He's not a breakaway threat like McCoy or Brown, but he's similar to Jacquizz Rodgers in skill set. Lewis will benefit from the threat of Michael Vick's legs and see nice opportunities on draws, delays, stretch plays, and screen passes. Unless Brown becomes a great pass blocker overnight, Lewis will likely see the majority of carries for the Eagles if McCoy gets hurt. Lewis should provide no less than flex-play consistency.

HOLD

Michael Vick Whether it is Dion Lewis, Bryce Brown, or even Chris Polk, the Eagles offensive is still system that often passes to set up the run. Vick's ability to get yards in chunks with his arm and his legs places enormous pressure on opposing defenses to account for him even on running plays. The Eagles can move Vick around the field to avoid pressure and create a moving pocket and the receiving corps has enough big-play weapons that the loss of McCoy will only have a marginal effect on the passing game if none of the talented runners on the depth chart perform to expectation.

SELL

No one. If the Eagles ground game remains as good as projected above, then this unit remains at status quo.

ADD

Bryce Brown, RB A few years ago, Trent Richardson and Bryce Brown were considered the best prep prospects in the country and Brown looked as good as his billing during his freshman year at Tennessee. The rookie has feature back size and small back agility with terrific hands as a receiver. The reason Brown was a seventh-round pick had to do with him quitting Tennessee to transfer to Kansas State and then quitting the team after three carries. Based on the research Philadelphia did, which included speaking with venerable Kansas State coach Bill Snyder, Brown took accountability for his immature decisions and presented himself as a smart young man that learned from his mistakes. The only thing missing from Brown's game is experience as a pass protector. This is important in the Eagles offense, but he can still thrive as a two-down back or a three-down back if used for his tremendously soft hands. If McCoy gets hurt, make sure Brown is your insurance to Dion Lewis or a consolation prize with elite talent.

Chris Polk, RB There is no guarantee that the Eagles keep four running backs and it is possible that if Polk loses the No.3 spot to Brown in training camp, but competes well, that he'll be around for Philadelphia to place on its practice squad. Polk is a tremendous after contact runner with the pass-catching skills of a former wide receiver. The reason Polk wasn't drafted comes down to three things: past injuries, a flabby body at the Senior Bowl, and a disinterested attitude that turned off the media and scouts at the all-star game. If Polk earns the No.3 role and Dion Lewis falters, he has the skills to perform as a solid No.2 running back, perhaps more if he's in great shape.

DROP

None. The Eagles have enough running back depth on paper that the offensive system won’t change enough to warrant this kind of adjustment.

Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to waldman@footballguys.com.

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