In the coming weeks I will do a series of posts on the Philadelphia Eagles and how their players stack up at each position. These Tiers are an indication of what talent level can reasonably be expected of each player for the 2013 season. Future potential and contract status are not really taken into consideration, as this is more an indication of a players talent level and expected production.
Description: Top level starter, at elite or near elite level, absolute lock to both make the team and start. Won’t face any competition for his job.
-After coming off a huge 2011, McCoy was a little disappointing last season rushing for just 840 yards and just two running touchdowns in 200 carries. In context though, those numbers are pretty impressive when you consider that the Eagles were missing 3-4 offensive line starters just about every game. Also, later in the season McCoy was dealing with injury issues and the Eagles were without Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson, putting more of a focus on the running backs. Also despite the down rushing numbers McCoy continued to show his value out of the backfield, with 54 receptions for 373 yards. With a healthy and improved offensive line, and a likely heavy run focus, McCoy could be inline for a career year this season. He remains one of the more elusive backs in the NFL and could top 2,000 combined yards this season.
Description: Quality starter who may have some minor struggles in a given year, but overall is a good football player. Typically just outside the elite/near elite level. Should both easily make the team and start. Will be one of the key players on the team.
Description: Passable starter, can play the position and be okay, but won’t consistently play at a high level. Will be streaky throughout the season and over the course of many seasons. Depending on position would be better served as a good role player, or would be the best reserve player at a position. Should make the team, though not a lock and should face competition for a starting job.
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-Brown was once a top recruit and considered one of the most promising RB’s in the nation, but his college career never really got off the ground. In fact last season with the Eagles in limited work (115 carries) had more rushing yards (564) than his entire college career (476). Brown was a major find for the Eagles in the 7th round last season, and really looked well when he was called upon to replace an injured LeSean McCoy. Brown’s production is even more impressive when you consider how many offensive linemen the Eagles were missing and the fact that there was a rookie quarterback under center. Unfortunately though questions surround Brown as well. The vast majority of his production was just in a pair of games where he accounted for nearly 350 of his total yards. Brown also had major fumbling issues, as well as showed little ability as a receiver or blocker. As a starter the Eagles would probably be pretty concerned, but as the change of pace back who gets 7-10 carries a game, Brown should have good value for the Eagles.
-Jones has not come close to living up to his first round pick draft status for the Dallas Cowboys, but he could be a really nice pick-up for the Eagles this season. Though Jones has never been a feature back and has had some injury issues, he’s still averaged 4.8 yards per carry and that was behind a notoriously weak Cowboys offensive line. He has the big time speed Chip Kelly covets, and he is also a valuable weapon out of the backfield. His carries will likely be limited with McCoy and Brown ahead of him, but he could catch 25-30 passes this season, and he offers valuable insurance in case either of the top two backs go down.
Description: Replacement level starter. This is a guy who could start in a pinch or as a long-term injury replacement but will max out as an average starter, and will probably be below average. He’s a guy who could be okay as a short term filler, but over an extended period will struggle. Depending on position could be a solid player, or would be a good back-up. Has a decent chance to make the team, and could get a look at a starting job, but nothing is set in stone for him.
Description: Solid back-up caliber player. Shouldn’t really ever start, and would be below average in that capacity, but can be a short term injury replacement. Shouldn’t even be much of a role player depending on the position, their best value is in their reliability as a replacement. Depending on the position, should be capable of backing up multiple positions or roles to increase their value. Has a chance to make the team, but really shouldn’t be considered a starting option at all.
-Polk was a highly touted back at Washington who amassed over 4,000 yards with three straight 1,000 yard plus seasons. He was initially expected to be a 2nd-4th round pick, but after some injury concerns popped up, he fell out of the draft entirely. The Eagles signed him last year and he showed some promise in camp. He made the team, but didn’t register a single carry or reception last season. This year there is some potential for him to see if he can once again be considered a quality runner, but he faces tough competition for a roster spot (depending on how many backs the Eagles keep). The Eagles may try to hold on to Polk for the future, but he is unlikely to make much of an impact this year.
Description: Replacement level player. Not considered at all for a starting role, and isn’t even considered a viable back-up. Really only has a shot to make the team if injuries thin out the competition. Overall has a poor chance to make a roster, and is a player who will likely be replaced during the season.
-Tucker is a college free agent signing out of TCU where he rushed for 2,600 yards on 494 carries. He averaged 5.3 yards per attempt and totaled 33 touchdowns. The interesting thing about Tucker is the fact that he never earned the fulltime job as he never managed more than 148 carries in a single season. Though long term he is a bit intriguing, he really maxes out as a possible practice squad guy this season.