- Phil Sheridan, ESPN Philadelphia Eagles reporter
Whether it's a marquee QB or an interior defensive lineman, no team can afford to lose its most valuable player.
So, who steps in if the unfathomable happens? Our NFL Nation reporters and Scouts Inc.'s Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl have teamed up to identify each team's most important player and which player in the 2014 draft each team can target to groom as a potential replacement -- MVP insurance. For some teams, their future stars may be slightly younger than others as draft-eligible non-seniors are denoted with an asterisk.
You could make a case that Nick Foles, not LeSean McCoy, was really the Eagles’ most valuable player in 2013. Through eight games, McCoy led the NFL with 733 rushing yards, while the Eagles’ record was just 3-5. In the second half, with Foles starting all eight games, the Eagles’ record was 7-1.
It would be a reasonable argument, but that’s all it would be. Foles might prove to be the more important player over the long term – he’s a quarterback, after all – but McCoy was the Eagles’ MVP in 2013.
Fortunately for the Eagles, they have the 25-year-old McCoy under contract through 2017. So unless he is injured or abducted by aliens, he figures to have four more prime seasons in an Eagles uniform.
If something were to happen to McCoy, the Eagles would need to be in better position to replace him than they were in 2013.
Going into the season, Bryce Brown was considered a promising backup running back. Brown had two remarkable games in relief of McCoy in 2012, rushing for 178 and 169 yards. Based on that, it was expected that Chip Kelly would use him to change pace and to keep McCoy from being overworked.
But Brown never did emerge as that kind of weapon. He broke a 65-yard touchdown run late in a blowout win over Chicago in December, but was otherwise pretty quiet all season.
Chris Polk, meanwhile, had only 11 carries all season.
So it wouldn’t be surprising if the Eagles drafted a running back in the second or third round this May. That has been their pattern, drafting Duce Staley while Ricky Watters and Charlie Garner were still going strong, Brian Westbrook during Staley’s prime and McCoy while Westbrook was still productive.
Kelly’s offense and the Eagles’ excellent offensive line could make a back like Brown or Polk serviceable for a game or two. But a true replacement for McCoy is not on the Eagles’ roster right now.
Whether it's a marquee QB or an interior defensive lineman, no team can afford to lose its most valuable player.So, who steps in if the unfathomable happens?