Best Philadelphia Eagles Running Backs of All Time From Duce Staley to LeSean McCoy

    The Philadelphia Eagles are a historic team with a rich history at RB. Who are the greatest running backs of all time in franchise history?

    The Philadelphia Eagles are a historic franchise that was founded in 1933. While quarterbacks get all of the attention, much of Philadelphia’s success in franchise history has been built around talented running backs.

    The franchise’s ability to run the ball is one of the foundational keys to success for the Eagles. Ironically, even the best quarterbacks in Philadelphia’s history were able to make plays with their legs as well. Yet it’s time to rank the greatest running backs in franchise history!

    Who Are the Greatest Eagles Running Backs of All Time?

    While many fans will want to forget monumental RB failures in Philadelphia, such as DeMarco Murray, the Eagles have a rich history of talented running backs to remember in the team’s backfield.

    Here are the five greatest running backs of all time for the Eagles.

    5) Duce Staley

    While Miles Sanders made a push for this final spot, he simply didn’t play long enough in Philadelphia.

    Duce Staley was selected by the Eagles in the third round of the 1997 NFL Draft. Although he hardly played during his rookie season, Staley exploded onto the scene in 1998.

    During his second season, Staley ran for 1,065 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns. He also did plenty of damage in the passing game, hauling in 57 receptions for 432 receiving yards and one score.

    Staley’s most legendary moment with the Eagles was likely his performance in the infamous “Pickle Juice Game” against the Dallas Cowboys in 2000. Despite on-field temperature readings of over 130 degrees, Staley had 262 total yards from scrimmage with two touchdowns in Philadelphia’s win.

    While Staley’s total rushing yards are the fifth most in franchise history, his production in the passing game was equally as impressive. In seven seasons with the Eagles, he had 275 receptions for 2,587 yards and 10 receiving touchdowns.

    4) Wilbert Montgomery

    The Eagles selected Wilbert Montgomery in the sixth round of the 1977 NFL Draft. In his third season with Philadelphia, he put up one of the greatest statistical performances in franchise history.

    In 1979, Montgomery ran for a career-high 1,512 rushing yards and nine touchdowns. He also added 41 receptions for 494 receiving yards and five scores. That performance helped Montgomery be named a second-team All-Pro and earned him a trip to the Pro Bowl.

    MORE: Best Philadelphia Eagles Quarterbacks of All Time

    Having played eight seasons in Philadelphia, Montgomery rushed for the second-most total rushing yards in franchise history. He finished his Eagles career with 6,538 rushing yards and 45 touchdowns on the ground across 100 career games in Philadelphia.

    Montgomery put up impressive numbers during his tenure with the Eagles, but he was an inconsistent player. In eight total seasons in Philadelphia, Montgomery rushed for over 800 yards just three times. Therefore, his inconsistency places him lower on this list.

    3) Steve Van Buren

    Steve Van Buren was selected by the Eagles at No. 5 overall in the 1944 NFL Draft. The standout running back was still enrolled at LSU when Philadelphia selected him in the first round.

    Van Buren’s first contract with the Eagles was for $4,000 and no signing bonus. During his rookie season, he ran for 444 rushing yards but also had five interceptions as a defensive back.

    When you look back on Van Buren’s tenure with the Eagles, it almost looks like his stats came from a video game. He rushed for 5,860 total rushing yards in just 83 career games. His 69 total rushing touchdowns are by far the franchise record in Philadelphia.

    Van Buren is lower on this list due to his lack of receiving statistics, which is more of a knock on the era that he played in. While there’s no denying that Van Buren was a workhorse runner, he had just 45 receptions in his entire career with the Eagles.

    2) Brian Westbrook

    While his ability on the field was undeniable, teams were scared to select Brian Westbrook early in the 2002 NFL Draft. Nobody wanted to take a chance on an undersized, injury-prone RB with an early selection. Yet, Eagles head coach Andy Reid saw a vision for Westbrook and drafted him in Round 3.

    Westbrook was a perfect fit for Reid’s offense, given his versatility as both a runner and receiver. He was one of the original dual-threat running backs in the NFL.

    In typical Philadelphia fashion, Westbrook didn’t see the field much to start his career. Yet, in 2004, he earned the starting job and had over 1,500 total yards and nine touchdowns.

    Westbrook’s performance in 2007 could be the single greatest running back season in franchise history. In 2007, he totaled 1,333 rushing yards and seven touchdowns to go along with 90 receptions, 771 receiving yards, and five additional scores.

    While that single-season performance was impressive, Westbrook’s career in Philadelphia was legendary. He was part of a run that included three consecutive trips to the NFC Championship Game. Westbrook ranks third all-time in franchise history with 5,995 rushing yards. He’s also fourth all-time in franchise history with 426 receptions.

    1) LeSean McCoy

    Ironically enough, LeSean McCoy was selected to be Westbrook’s replacement in Philadelphia. The Eagles selected McCoy in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft.

    After starting just four games during his rookie season, McCoy’s talent was undeniable. The Pennsylvania native felt right at home as he made defenders look silly.

    In December 2013, McCoy had one of the most epic performances in franchise history. Despite playing in an absurd amount of snow, he ran for a franchise-record 217 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns against the Detroit Lions.

    KEEP READING: Best Philadelphia Eagles Wide Receivers of All Time

    Although he only played for six seasons in Philadelphia, McCoy is still the greatest running back in Eagles history. “Shady” is first all-time in franchise history with 6,792 rushing yards. He also ran for the third-most touchdowns in Eagles history with 44.

    McCoy was dominant during his tenure with Philadelphia. Only Adrian Peterson ran for more rushing yards than he did during that time. McCoy was a consistent star for the Eagles, rushing for 1,000+ yards in four of his six seasons with Philadelphia, with 40+ receptions in five of the six.

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