On Thursday last week, the Eagles traded Dion Lewis to the Browns for ILB Emmanuel Acho. Lewis was a player I liked, and I felt that the Eagles needed to use their backup RBs more often than they had in the past. Lewis’ departure from the team opens up interesting options in the draft.
Chip Kelly’s Oregon Ducks attempted 373 passes last season. They attempted 685 rushes. That would be a run:pass ratio of roughly 65:35. While I don’t expect Kelly’s run:pass ratio to be anywhere near as lopsided in his first year in Philly, the Eagles will almost certainly be running the ball a lot more often than they did under Andy Reid.
At the “Assistant Coach Summit” a couple months ago, offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur noted that the Eagles would be spreading the ball around to their running backs more to keep them fresh:
“(Bryce Brown) established himself as a good player last year. I know we liked him quite a bit in Cleveland as we did our (draft) evaluations. I’ve always believed that there is a place on the roster, there’s a place in the game to play two RBs. You have your starter, but the other guy or two needs to play so that they can all get through the season together. You have to use more than one RB. It’s a long season, and a guy can run out of gas quickly.”
LeSean McCoy will get the lion’s share of the work with Brown being mixed in, but the 3rd RB could be up in the air. Second year player Chris Polk is currently the 3rd back, but he was relegated strictly to special teams last year, and it is unknown what the current staff thinks of him.
One approach to the draft that I have always admired is the way Mike Shanahan has drafted running backs. In 17 years of coaching (which doesn’t include his short stint in Oakland), the Broncos & Redskins drafted 18 running backs under Mike Shanahan. The list of picks: