2020 NFL Draft: At least the Eagles know how to draft running backs


Tenth in a series grading the Eagles' premium-round draft picks over the last 40 years. Today: Running backs. Tomorrow: Wide receivers.

1st Round

Michael Haddix [8th pick in 1983]: Good blocker. One of the worst runners in NFL history. Was taken a pick before Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews and 19 picks before Dan Marino. The only players in NFL history with at least 500 carries and a lower career rushing average than Haddix’s 3.0 are Bob Monnett, who played in the 1930s, and Tom Brady. 

Grade: F

Keith Byars [10th pick in 1986]: Byars is a tough one to grade. He was a top-10 pick but never became the runner the Eagles expected. Byars only averaged 3.6 yards per carry and never even reached 600 yards in a season. But he gradually became one of the best receiving backs in the league, and from 1988 through 1992 he was 11th in the NFL in scrimmage yards per season. To this day he ranks 7th In Eagles history in catches (but only 13th in rushing yards). Not exactly what the Eagles thought they were getting but turned out to be a solid player.

Grade: B minus

2nd Round

Perry Harrington [53rd pick in 1980]: Lasted four years here but never panned out. Rushed for just over 600 yards combined in those four years. Had no carries in 29 of his final 34 games in an Eagles uniform.

Grade: D

Anthony Toney [37th pick in 1986]: Decent pro in his five years here. Great blocker, good receiver, average runner. During that 1987-89 stretch Tony averaged 759 scrimmage yards per year. Released in the summer of 1990 and never played again.

Grade: C

Siran Stacy [48th pick in 1992]: One of only five running backs taken with a top-50 pick in the last 50 years that never had an NFL carry. Played some special teams as a rookie then never played again.

Grade: F minus minus

Charlie Garner [42nd pick in 1994]: Garner’s best years were with the 49ers and Raiders – he was second to Marshall Faulk in scrimmage yards from 1999 through 2002. He had some moments as an Eagle as No. 2 behind Rickey Watters and Duce Staley and did lead th NFL at 5.4 yards per carry in 1995. His 4.6 average is 3rd-best among all Eagles running backs, behind only Brian Westbrook and LeSean McCoy. Became a great player. Just not here.

Grade: B minus

LeSean McCoy [53rd pick in 2009]: The NFL’s best running back during the decade of the 2000s and a recent all-decade pick. Shady is the Eagles’ all-time leading rusher with 6,792 yards and has over 11,000 rushing yards and nearly 15,000 scrimmage yards in his brilliant career. 

Grade:  A plus

Miles Sanders [53rd pick in 2019]: Maybe premature with the A, but I saw enough from Sanders last year to feel comfortable with it. Became the fifth rookie in NFL history with 500 yards both rushing and receiving and a rushing average over 4.6. A budding star. 

Grade: A 

3rd Round

Robert Drummond [76th pick in 1989]: Drummond had one huge game against the Chargers as a rookie, with 77 rushing yards and 74 receiving yards, becoming the first rookie with 70 yards rushing and receiving in the same game in 32 years (and until Miles Sanders. He netted 221 yards from scrimmage the rest of his career). 

Grade: F plus

Duce Staley [71st pick in 1997]:  Had a long, productive career with the Eagles and has had a longer career as an Eagles’ coach. From 1998 through 2003 Duce had over 7,000 scrimmage yards, despite missing most of the 2000 season. Ranks fourth in Eagles history in scrimmage yards and second to Shady with three 1,000-yard seasons. One of the steadiest, toughest and most popular Eagles of the past generation.

Grade: B plus

Brian Westbrook [91st pick in 2002]: From 2003 through 2008, Westbrook was one of the NFL’s best running backs. During that six-year span made two Pro Bowls and an all-pro team, led the league in scrimmage yards once and trailed only LaDainian Tomlinson and Clinton Portis in total yards. Finished brilliant career with over 10,000 scrimmage yards, a 4.6 average and more than 400 catches.

Grade: A plus

Ryan Moats [77th pick in 2005]: Had a couple huge games as a rookie and then just fell off a cliff. Released when he was 26 and bounced around the league for a bit before trying his hand at semi-pro rugby.

Grade:  D

Tony Hunt [90th pick in 2007]: Disastrous pick. Hunt managed 25 rushing yards on 14 carries in his entire career (and six catches). 

Grade: F minus 


1st round: D plus
2nd round: C plus
3rd round: C 
Overall: C

For our previous installments, click here:

Defensive ends

Defensive tackles




Offensive Tackles

Interior Offensive Linemen


Tight ends

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