While the future appears quite bright for second-year running back LeSean McCoy, in today's NFL one running back is not enough. Call it running back by committee or whatever you like, but the truth is that the every-down running back is an endangered species. That's a big reason why the Eagles brought in veteran Mike Bell as a restricted free agent this off-season, but Bell is only on a one-year contract. So while you can't discount Bell, or Pro-Bowl fullback Leonard Weaver for that matter, there is an opening for a future Thunder to McCoy's lightning - or perhaps, in this case, a burst of light after a dose of shade - and sixth-round running back Charles Scott could be just that player.
Scott is one of several players in the Eagles' 13-man draft class who appears to have slipped on draft weekend because of an injury suffered in college. After a dominating junior season in 2008 when he ran for 1,174 yards and 18 touchdowns in 13 games and earned first-team all-SEC honors, Scott missed the final four games of his senior year with a fractured right clavicle. So when a productive and highly-decorated player like Scott fell to the Eagles in the sixth round, they snatched him up with little hesitation.
The first thing you notice about Scott is that he's built like a brick wall. At 5-foot-11 and 238 pounds, Scott is the biggest of the six running backs currently on the Eagles roster - Bell weighs in at 6-foot, 220 pounds. Scott will tell you himself that he thrives in short-yardage situations, but be careful not to pigeonhole the guy who had eight career 100-yard rushing games in college.
"I would have to say I would be more of a short-yardage goal line back, but then again still can be in on third down and pass protect and catch the ball out of the backfield, so hopefully I'll expand my role," Scott said.
Scott will no doubt have to fight not only to earn playing time but to make the final roster. In addition to McCoy and Bell, other competitors at the running back spot include holdover Eldra Buckley, a special teams ace in 2009, the Canadian Football League's Most Outstanding Rookie in 2009, Martell Mallet, and undrafted free agent Keithon Flemming. Wide receiver Chad Hall can also line up at running back. But none of those players can offer quite what Scott can.
"It's not that I go out and seek contact, it's just my style," Scott said. "I'm the type of guy that tries to wear on a defense, and by the time the third quarter comes we're going to see who really wants to play football. Are you going to be tired of hitting me or am I going to be tired of hitting you? I just put it in my mind that I'm not going to let a guy outlast me. When it's time to go in the third quarter and it's third-and-1 or it's third-and-goal from the (1-yard-line), I have no doubt that I'm going to make it because he's tired of three quarters of this. So I kind of just psych myself up and just that physical nature, that's what I love about this game."
We will really see what Scott has to offer when the pads come on for training camp later this summer, but until then, he has already opened some eyes during OTA's with the surprising ease with which he catches passes out of the backfield. If Scott can show to be a multi-purpose player, as well as prove that he can hold up in pass protection, then his prospects for playing time will improve significantly.
So while he's counting the days until he can don the shoulder pads in late July, Scott will focus on immersing himself in his new offense. After all, now that he doesn't have to attend classes, Scott has all the time in the world to study.
"It's just a matter of sitting down, getting in your playbook and then sitting down and getting better at the things that are new to you," he said. "As you settle down and start to focus on all the new things, you just break it down piece by piece, and we have great coaches that explain everything, so it's starting to get easy.
"There's always room for improvement, but I'm just going to keep working at it."
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 9:09 p.m., May 26