Here is the second in a series of looks at the Eagles roster:
Today: Running backs
On the roster: No position appears in better shape for the Eagles than running back, where LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown are valuable pieces. McCoy is a Pro Bowler whose 2012 production was limited by injury, but he’ll be 25 next season and remains a cornerstone player for the Eagles. His versatility would also be valuable in Kelly’s system.
Brown needs to improve his ball security during the offseason, but his combination of size and speed were apparent, and his 4.9 yards per carry were impressive. Plus, he’ll be 22 next season and will be both developing and affordable.
Beyond Brown, no one would seem to have a certain spot on the roster. Chris Polk and Dion Lewis remain unproven. Polk has a history with Kelly from his time at Washington, including a 104-yard performance in 2009. Lewis had a strong training camp last season but was unseated by Brown as McCoy’s backup.
It remains to be seen how Kelly will use a fullback, if at all. Stanley Havili was a promising rookie last season, and Kelly coached against him in college and saw his versatility. Emil Igwenagu can play fullback and tight end, and he will likely get a chance throughout the offseason. Both fullbacks have affordable contracts.
Not on the roster: Don’t expect the Eagles to make a big splash at running back. This position is already young and has talent, and it’s just a matter of translating to whatever offense Kelly runs. Duce Staley will stay with the Eagles at running backs coach, so the players already have familiarity with their position coach.
The Eagles could add a running back for depth in a middle or later round in the draft. If they want to maintain an Oregon connection, Kenjon Barner starred in Kelly’s system last season and will likely be available in one of the draft’s middle rounds. The Eagles also tend to get creative late in the draft, and former South Carolina star Marcus Lattimore, who suffered a major knee injury and might not play in 2013, could be a risk they examine.
Tomorrow: Wide receivers and tight ends