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Pushing the Pocket - Ryan Mathews Reward Outweighs the Risk

Fahey looks at the quintessential boom-or-bust running back, Ryan Mathews.

After the first two weeks of preseason, it appears that Ryan Mathews is going to carry the load for the Philadelphia Eagles this year. Mathews is a 28-year old veteran and a former first-round pick who has played for two teams over six years in the NFL. Talent has never been a concern for him. He is one of the most versatile, explosive backs in the NFL whose aggressive running style doesn't match his sleek appearance. That aggressive running style and finely tuned athleticism may play some role in his durability issues.

Mathews has only carried the ball 1,029 times in his career. That averages out to 172 carries per season, an extremely low number for someone who was expected to be the feature back during multiple years in San Diego. He has missed 23 starts in total and only been available for all 16 games in one season, 2013. Last year, during his first year with the Eagles, Mathews played in 13 games because of a groin issue.

The risk with drafting Mathews is built into his price. His ADP has suffered since the early years of his career because you can't rationally expect him to be available for 16 weeks of the season. He is the definition of a boom-or-bust player.