Do the Eagles have the best group of running backs in the NFL?

This weekend, NFL Insider Adam Caplan joined Dave Spadaro on, and had extremely high praise for the Eagles’ trio of running backs, LeSean McCoy, Bryce Brown, and Felix Jones.

“I’d have to say, if Felix Jones is healthy, this is best group of running backs in the league,” said Caplan. “Adrian Peterson is the best back in the league, but (from) one to three tell me a team that’s deeper than this.”

Caplan poses a good question. Are there any teams more deep and talented at RB than the Eagles? Personally, I’d trade all three of the Eagles’ backs for Adrian Peterson in a heartbeat, but Peterson aside, I think Caplan makes a strong case.

Here’s a menu of other teams around the league (listed in alphabetical order) who might be in the conversation, and their backs from one-to-three (via Ourlads’ depth charts). I’ll quickly note here that the Patriots have LaGarrett Blount as their 4th back, but he does not appear in the chart below:

Continued at the Allentown Morning Call…


  1. Joe D says:

    absolutelyyyyyyyyyyy make that trade!!!! I concur that Adrian Peterson is by leaps and bounds the best back and makes any team MUCH better!!! He may go down as the best ever

  2. Greg says:

    If we dont blame him for the down season last year, then we just as easily could give the o-line the credit when he does succeed. His stats sort of are the o-lines stats too. I hate to say this but the team game aspect does make it hard to evaluate how good a player is. A great line and system could make an average back look great and vice versa. I will say though that mccoy has looked really good at times.

    1. mjoedgaard says:

      McCoy was still on pace for over 1100 yards. Yes his ypc was down and so was his touchdowns (the whole Eagles O kept fumbling or throwing the ball away so its hard to score points). McCoy still got special talent, but when your OL cant block for shit, its tough to get good yards and McCoy essential had to create his own yards.

  3. No love whatsoever for the #1 rushing attack in the NFL? Morris Helu Royster Thompson Jamison and you’d have to put a asterisk by Griffin as a huge factor as well with over 120 carries last year. Obviously, that will not be the case this year. Fact remains that Washington has the #2 RB in the league statistically entering his 2nd year, returns Helu who is only a year removed from leading all rookies in rushing his 1st year and has depth with Royster and the two Rbs they just drafted. Seems absurd to not even mention or discuss this group.

    1. Griffin doesn’t factor in at all within the topic of the post.

      Otherwise, the Redskins aren’t in the conversation with the Eagles, in my opinion.

      I like Morris a lot, but…

      McCoy > Morris
      Brown/Jones >>> Helu/Royster

      1. horatius says:

        So, the Iggles should be the #1 rushing team in 2013 right?

        1. I don’t think the debate between which RBs are better and which team rushes for more yards are congruent.

          1. horatius says:


        2. mjoedgaard says:

          If Kelly gonna run like he did in college, the Eagles will most likely get more yards from running backs than the Redskins (I dont forsee Moris getting close to 1600 yards again)

          1. horatius says:

            He doesn’t have it. Helu, Thomspon or Jamison will more than make up for whatever he doesn’t get.

      2. Thats a joke. Helu > Brown when healthy. And don’t argue that Helu is injury prone b/c so is Felix yet you included him as better than Helu and any combo of our new rookies. McCoy has had a few really good seasons but none as good as Alfred’s 2012. Deny it all you want, I will be glad to draft Alfred over McCoy come fantasy football time.

  4. SteveH says:

    I think the love for Bryce Brown is premature. He had a great couple games but he needs to do it a bit longer, and he has the fumbling issues which may or may not be corrected. I’m excited about the kid but, lets not get ahead of ourselves.

  5. Neil says:

    I don’t mind the AP trade in terms of talent exchange, but I probably wouldn’t sign off on it myself because with 3 backs we can give them 40 carries in a game with no worries. RB is not a position where you leave yourself with one stud if you can help it. But also with the Eagles situation two to three ACLs have to tear before we’re left with nothing.

  6. brisulph says:

    Yeah I am not trading a younger McCoy (who is a good fit for the likely offensive style in Philly) for AP (last year was amazing, doubt he can stay close to that level as the years progress and his surgically/likely illegal drugs repaired knee degrades).

  7. You’d trade all 3 for AP? He’s phenomenal, but this team can’t compete in the next two years which will take us out of the prime of human runningbacks. The jury’s still out on whether that applies to AP, but I would go in favor of lining up prime windows.

    1. He ran for 6 yards per carry on a team in which defenses knew they couldn’t throw the ball down the field. He single-handedly got that team to the playoffs.

      I put Adrian Peterson here (raising hand as high as I can), and the rest of the league’s RBs start somewhere around here (hand at a my chest). I actually think he’s the best player in the league (not to be confused with the most important).

      And I’m not so sure they can’t compete in the next two years. I don’t think it’s a foregone conclusion they can’t compete this year for that matter. Teams turn around quickly in the NFL.

      1. SteveH says:

        And he ran for 2000 yards during a season that started 6 months after blowing out his knee. The guy is not human.

      2. NYG.Slater says:

        You make that trade in a heartbeat. It’s essentially McCoy for AP. do brown and jones have value? Sure,, but value and trade value aren’t the same thing. Jones’ trade value is nada. He was signed to a 1 yr deal this offseason. He is essentially equivilant to replacement value at rb, and that does not have any value in a trade for a generational HOF Rb that is coming off a career year. Browns value may be slightly above jones due to his contract and ‘possible’ upside. But in a trade for draft picks….maybe a 7 in 2015? I’m not even sure what value to give brown above replacement value. But in a trade for AP……lmao. It’s nothing.

        1. Brown most definitely has significant trade value. If he were to have been re-inserted into the draft this year, he’d probably be a 2. At worst a 3.

          1. NYG_Slater says:

            I really dont know what to say……if you feel brown has trade value worth a 3rd or…..rofl a 2nd….i just disagree, strongly. I strongly doubt the skins could get that for alfred morris. Just to clarify, Morris’ value to the skins is possibly worth more than a 2-3, but trading morris to actually get picks in return, you arent going to get anywhere near that. Teams would rather just sign a FA and not part with a pick, the main idea is the players surplus value over replacement value.

            Do you honestly feel teams would trade a 3rd (not even going to mention a 2nd rofl) for brown. When they could just pick up the phone and call Ryan grant, Bradshaw, Michael turner, Ja’vron ringer etc… and see who bites first on a vet min deal 1year deal? I’d agree that i was a bit low on the 2015 7th for Bryce. But at worst a 3? Try at best a 6.

            1. The value of the vets you’re listing don’t have anything close to the value of Bryce Brown. Not. Close. A freaking 6 is the best case scenario? Now I’m curious if you saw him run.

              RBs who went in the 2nd and 3rd rounds in 2013:


              Giovani Bernard
              Le’Veon Bell
              Montee Ball
              Eddie Lacy
              Christine Michael


              Knile Davis

              Bryce Brown averaged 4.9 YPC behind one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL.

              I don’t know how much you know about college football, but would you take freaking Knile Davis over Bryce Brown?

              1. NYG_Slater says:

                Ugh, you missed the point, i apologize if it was unclear. My point was, it is more cost efficient to get a vet min guy and keep your pick. Not that the vet min guys = bryce brown.

                Furthermore, Bryce’s value to the eagles is not equal to his trade value. Its easy to turn draft picks into players (i.e. the draft). It is not easy to turn players back into draft picks. You can compare bryce to 2nd round rbs and say, “he should have been drafted here, he’s as good/better as them”. But that doesnt mean you can just simply flip bryce back into a 2nd round pick. It doesnt work that way you need a trade partner. And that trade partner will evaluate every scenario in search for the most **cost efficient*** exchange. Even if the exchange nets them a player below Bryce’s quality/potential (i.e the vet minimum guys)

                Bryce brown may be playing like a 2nd rounder, producing better than actual 2nd rounders that previous draft year. Great, fantastic, Keep him, be happy he’s on your team and hope he fixes the fumbling problem. However, that does not mean teams will be lining up to give the eagles 2nd round draft picks for Bryce. It doesnt work that way, it never has.

              2. Disagree completely. If they wanted a 3 for him, right now, they wouldn’t have much trouble getting it. Ceiling is enormous.

                I respect your opinions… a lot… but the suggestion that at best they’d get a 6 Bryce Brown is ludicrous.

          2. Do you really feel that Brown was that good last year? He had big games against terrible run defenses and not much else aside from that.

            1. Yes, I do. I looking at his ability. He’s fast as hell, he has good size, breaks tackles. The fumbling aside, what’s not to like about his game?

              1. Not much. He’s still raw, has poor field vision sometimes, and obviously needs work in pass protection. Those things are all theoretically correctable, but it happens plenty often that players with these abilities become nothing more than players with ability. I like the kid a lot, but talking about the best 1-2 RBs right now I don’t really think McCoy/Brown is in the conversation

              2. TJ says:

                I was a fan of his 12 for 6 against Tampa last year. Not convinced he beats out Felix for the backup role, and obviously Chip’s not either.

              3. Jimmy Kempski says:

                Unless he’s dropping the football left and right, there’s no question whatsoever that Bryce Brown is the 2, TJ. They didn’t sign Felix Jones to compete for the #2 RB job. If they weren’t convinced Brown could play they wouldn’t have waited until May to sign somebody.

      3. I’m not arguing with how good he is. I’m asking how good will he be in a few years. Teams turn it around quick in the NFL, but that usually has to do with a change at quarterback. I think the Eagles have too many holes on defense and questions at qb to reasonable compete.

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