1. LeSean McCoy, RB, Philadelphia Eagles, 24 years old
Pros: McCoy won his first All-Pro honor last season and became one of the highest-paid running backs in the league because he is the type of ball carrier a team can build an offense around. His 342 combined rushes/targets were the fourth most among running backs last season, and he has ranked in the top 10 in the category of good blocking yards per attempt in each of the past two seasons (GBYPA being a measurement of a ball carrier’s productivity when given favorable blocking).
Cons: Recent history, most notably the 2011 New York Giants, has reinforced the idea that says teams don’t need dominant rushing attacks to win in the NFL. Combine that with the fact that teams can normally build productive rushing attacks with good blocking and above-average (but not elite) running back talent and it decreases the cornerstone value of the running back position. McCoy’s drop-off in receptions last season (48, down from 78 in 2010) could indicate the Eagles are putting a workload ceiling on him.
Gotta keep it real and admit that I don’t even agree with this. I’m as big a fan of Shady as there is, but you’re neglecting the obvious by putting running backs ahead of quarterbacks on a “stars to build around” list. If you’re going to build a team, you need a quarterback above all else. Who was the last Super Bowl winner without a decent QB? Brad Johnson? Trent Dilfer? Not many of ‘em out there.
I’d take Shady over any other back in the NFL, including Purple Jailbird Jesus. Two Five goes hard every down and is a complete player, but if you’re looking for a guy to build around you’ve gotta go QB. Stafford, Cam, RGIII, Luck…I’d have any of them over McCoy on this list. Again, not saying anything about Shady’s abilities, but running backs are a dime a dozen. You build around quarterbacks. And your Offensive and Defensive lines but that’s more of a collective effort.
Only a couple short weeks until training camp will be here to take your mind away from the Phillies!
Guara-nan-teeing a championship!