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No worries at RB, LeSean is the Real McCoy

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To answer the burning question, what are the Eagles going to do in wake of Brian Westbrook’s recent ankle surgery, they already did it.

Forget the group of over-30 retread backs currently on the market looking for one more paycheck, when the Eagles spent a second-round draft pick on Pitt’s LeSean McCoy there was some rhyme to their reason.

The Eagles didn’t take McCoy in the fourth, or fifth, round hoping he could be a part-time player. They took him in the second; the same round backs such as Clinton Portis, Maurice Jones-Drew, LenDale White and Matt Forte were selected.

 Worried abut him being a rookie?

 Relax.

 Running back is the one position where rookies can flourish easier than any other. Three rookie backs finished in the top eight in the league in rushing yards last season – Houston’s Steve Slaton (1,282 yards), Chicago’s Forte (1,238) and Tennessee’s Chris Johnson (1,228). Two others, Detroit’s Kevin Smith (976) and Carolina’s Jon Stewart (836) finished in the top 24.   

 Now unless McCoy is the Winston Justice or Matt McCoy of running backs, the Eagles are fine in the backfield.

 And there is no indication that McCoy is the Eagles next second-round bust. Just the opposite some of the same scouts, who panned both of those previous second-round draft picks before the Eagles selected them, praised McCoy.

 “I ranked (Knowshon) Moreno ahead of him, but just slightly,’’ one highly-regarded college scout said before the draft. “To be honest, (McCoy) is my favorite back in the draft. I think he can do it all. I have no idea why some people jumped off him.’’

 McCoy was the fourth back selected in the April draft, but scouts like the one above, as well as others, think he will fare better than first-round picks Chris “Beanie’’ Wells, taken by Arizona and Donald Brown, taken by Indianapolis.

 “I think Brown will be good in a reduced role,’’ one scout said. “I’m not sure he can be the guy. Wells is too stiff, typical Ohio State back. McCoy can be the guy. Is he another Westbrook?  I wouldn’t go that far, but he’s going to be a good one.’’

 Last year at Pitt, McCoy gained 1,488 yards rushing and scored 21 touchdowns. In his two years with the Panthers he gained 2,816 yards rushing and scored 35 touchdowns.

 Pitt’s greatest back, Tony Dorsett, was impressed.

 “I’ve seen a lot of guys come through here who they said we’re the next Tony Dorsett,’’ Dorsett said. “This guy is the next Tony Dorsett.’’

 All right, before we send McCoy to Canton, let’s look at what he figures to do this season.  

 Even before Westbrook’s ankle surgery, which will keep him from the start of training camp, the Eagles knew they needed another back to a.) pair with Westbrook and b.) eventually replace him.

 They feel they got that in McCoy.

 Actually the fact that Westbrook could miss a chunk of the two-a-day practices at Lehigh this summer might turn out to be a good thing.

 He doesn’t need training camp reps, and when he does come back he’ll be fresh. Keep in mind Westbrook turns 30 just before the start of the season and has a knee problem to go with the ankle problem. While I’m in the camp of he’s not done yet, his days of gaining over 2,000 total yards may be.

 Look for Westbrook to still be a factor this year and look for McCoy to be one as well. Think back to the Eagles 1995 season with Ricky Watters and Charlie Garner in the backfield or to the three-headed monster of Duce Staley, Correll Buckhalter and Westbrook in 2003, minus one head.

 McCoy, getting a lot of looks in the team’s current OTAs, knows the opportunity is his but he also knows Westbrook will be back.

 “A guy like that, you kind of see things through his eyes,’’ McCoy said of Westbrook. “When he was here I was always asking him questions. I was soaking everything up like a sponge from him.

  “Any player would look forward to playing, but I’m praying to God he gets back. This is his team, and he’s the back I want to gradually learn from.’’
  
 CHART
 Who is Available?
 
 Warrick Dunn, 34, Gained 786 yards for TB last year, but isn’t the answer.
 Shaun Alexander, 32, Hasn’t been the same since his 2005 MVP season.
 DeShaun Foster, 29, Injuries robbed him of a promising career.
 J.J. Arrington, 26, Part-timer at best.
 Ahman Green, 32, Knows the offense, but the tank is on E.
 Deuce McAllister, 30, Too many injuries for the once great back.
 Rudi Johnson, 29, Averaged 3.1 and 2.9 yards per carry the past two years.
 Dorsey Levens, 39, Hey it’s worked in the past. Only kidding.