Given the shelf life of NFL running backs, the title of “league’s best” is hard to hang on to. Just ask Adrian Peterson. But heading into 2012, we do know that the elite backs are clearly defined. It’s just a matter of which one will stand above the rest. And from where I’m sitting, it looks like that guy could be LeSean McCoy.
The 2009 second round pick out of Pittsburgh had himself a career year in 2011, particularly on the ground. He rushed for 1,309 yards, while finding the endzone 17 times on his 273 carries.
Where Shady also makes a big impact is in the passing game. Though he saw a decline in his numbers through the air in 2011, McCoy continued to show that he’s one of the league’s biggest dual threats out of the backfield, finishing with 48 receptions, 315 yards, and three scores.
We already know what Shady McCoy’s skill set is. He’s a quick and agile runner, with some serious wheels out of the backfield (4.5 forty). He can run and catch passes, while turning the ball over at a minimal rate. The only question is, what should we expect from McCoy in 2012?
Early projections for the 2012 season have McCoy seeing around the same number of carries, but a bit of an increase in receptions as he saw in ’11. He has already said he wants the ball more this season, and given what he can do with the rock in his hands, I wouldn’t doubt seeing him get even more touches this season.
Heading into the season, there’s no doubt that McCoy is a top tier running back, up there with the likes of Peterson, Arian Foster, and Ray Rice, among others. Whether or not McCoy can stand above the others in his class by the end of the year is going to be up to him.
We know what he’s capable of and he’ll have an opportunity to put up huge numbers in 2012. Though he’s in some tough company, there’s definitely a chance that Shady McCoy could be the no. 1 running back in the league by the time the 2012 season is over.