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With The Addition of Dion Lewis, Which Eagles’ Running Backs Are Going To Be Cut?

Who is the Eagles best third option at running back?

The Philadelphia Eagles selected Dion Lewis the, hard nosed rusher from Pittsburgh in the fifth round of the NFL Draft, and the Eagles now have a total of five running backs on the roster, which means that someone will end up being cut.

The current roster has five running backs, LeSean McCoy, Dion Lewis, Jerome Harrison, Eldra Buckley, and Stanley Havili. It’s clear that Philadelphia doesn’t have room for five different runners, but they all posses different skill sets that could help the Eagles in the long-term. Depending on how the Eagles offensive playbook looks once the season starts, Philadelphia could look into more specific situation rushers.

There are really two running backs that are indefinetly safe, McCoy and Lewis. McCoy is clearly the best rusher on the team and easily one of the most promising young running backs in the NFL, and there is no way he is going anywhere. On the other hand, the latter Pittsburgh rusher was taken in the draft to reunite old teammates and create that wicked two-punch combo of speed and then power.

This is a nearly perfect situation for McCoy and Lewis, as they have both played together in the past, and will fit perfectly into the Eagles offensive scheme. These two rushers will likely fill the one and two spots on the roster, leaving one more back to fill in as a late-game runner. Of the players left on the roster, Buckley, Harrison, and Havili, the most likely bet seems to be Harrison coming off of the bench.

Throughout last season, Harrison showed flashes of brilliance last when given carries, but will be on the team at a high price. When the Browns traded away Harrison for Bell last season it was mainly based off of personal reasons and of course contractual issues. There is little reason not to believe that Harrison could fill in as a starter on a running back needy team. He has showed that he could get the job done in Cleveland, but lost the starting job following injury and a bad relationship with team management.

I think that the return for Harrison would be too highly looked after for the Eagles not to look into trades, and he is much better than to be a third-string running back on a strong passing offense. Don’t look for Harrison to be in Philadelphia next season.

Havili, who was another late round Eagles pick from USC, is actually more of a full back. He has the size, toughness and athleticism to play running back, but during his tenure at USC he played full back primarily. He was used as a threat coming out of backfield and as a passing taget on third and shorts. There is no way to predict how Haviliwould be used in Reid’s offense, but in a west coast system he could excel.

The issue is that Havili is not an excellent ball carrier. That’s why at USC he was moved to a fullback and not a starting running back. Out of all of the backs left, he would be the most likely to be cut or moved onto the practice squad.  

That leaves Buckley, who recently signed a tender before the lockout. It would seem that Buckley would fill in as the third string rusher. The Eagles and Reid have thought highly of Buckley since he joined the team and has been a fairly consistent rusher late in games. He’s never going to step up and become a game time starter, but Philadelphia can lean on him when the starters are worn down.

Buckley can close out games when needed, and he’s the best bet in the long-term.

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