Philadelphia Eagles News

A Look At Rookie Running Backs

LeSean McCoy had already made history before he stepped on the practice field for the first time as a Philadelphia Eagle. As a second-round pick, the 53rd overall selection in this year's draft, McCoy was chosen with the highest draft pick to ever be used on a running back in the Andy Reid era. Not even All-Pro Brian Westbrook, a third-round selection, was drafted that high.

The need for depth at the position in the off-season was apparent. Correll Buckhalter departed for a chance to start in Denver. The only other running back on the roster with experience in the Eagles offense was Lorenzo Booker.

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RB LeSean McCoy

"We drafted McCoy, obviously, for a reason, and that's to work in and play," head coach Andy Reid said. "And so, I think what I've seen from him, and these camps are good if you're looking at the skill position players, you get an idea of what they can do and see what their strengths and weaknesses are there. I like what I've seen from him."

So, what has he seen?

"Great change of direction, ability to catch the football." Reid added. "We're asking him to do a lot of things formation-wise; he's able to handle that. He wants to learn, and has enough aptitude to learn. And so, he's really done well."

The question now is how long is it before McCoy is expected to make an impact on the offense. Westbrook underwent ankle surgery earlier this month and the Eagles are optimistic that he will be fine for the start of the regular season. And as good as McCoy looked in the Organized Team Activities, he will need to prove it with the pads on during training camp and the preseason in order to earn playing time.

"It's hard to talk about whether I'm going to play immediately if I don't know what I'm doing," McCoy said. "We have to get that squared off first then further down the line we'll know more about it. I'm doing pretty good I think. Everyday I'm getting better and better. Fewer errors, especially mental errors."

Here's a look at how rookie running backs have done under Andy Reid, the best seasons by a rookie running back in Eagles history and last year's top rookie runners ...

Rookie Running Backs Under Andy Reid
YearNameAtt.YardsTDs
1999Cecil Martin (FB)330
2001Correll Buckhalter1295862
2002Brian Westbrook461930
2004Thomas Tapeh (FB)12420
2005Ryan Moats552783
2007Tony Hunt10161

Most Rushing Yards By A Rookie In Eagles' History
No.NameYearYards
1Correll Buckhalter2001586
2Keith Byars (FB)1986577
3Po James (FB)1972565
4Mike Hogan (FB)1976561
5Billy Barnes1957529
6Clarence Peaks1957495
7Steve Van Buren1944444

Most Rushing Attempts By A Rookie In Eagles' History
No.NameYearAtt.
1Po James (FB)1972182
2Keith Byars (FB)1986177
3Lee Bouggess (FB)1970159
4Billy Barnes1957143
5James Joseph1991135
6Correll Buckhalter2001129
7Clarence Peaks1957125

Top 10 Rookie Running Backs In 2008
No.NameTeamAtt.Yds.Avg.TD
1Steve SlatonHOU2681,2824.89
2Matt ForteCHI3161,2383.98
3Chris JohnsonTEN2511,2284.99
4Kevin SmithDET2389764.18
5Jonathan StewartCAR1848364.510
6Darren McFaddenOAK1134994.44
7Tashard ChoiceDAL924725.12
8Ray RiceBAL1074544.20
9Tim HightowerARI1433992.810
10Jamaal CharlesKC673575.30

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