NFL Analysis: Eagles, Browns Rushed to Trade Running Backs
Last October the Philadelphia Eagles traded running back Mike Bell to the Cleveland Browns for Jerome Harrison. It was a good trade for Philly but Harrison turned out not to be the power back that the Eagles needed. If the two teams were to make another trade this year (running back for running back), it would be a win-win for both teams.
Philadelphia has two running backs that are familiar with each other from playing in the same backfield at Pitt. The problem is that they are too similar. Rookie Dion Lewis and starter LeSean McCoy are both shifty, finesse backs. The Eagles have built an offensive line that has quarterbacks and running backs around the league, salivating. Who wouldn’t want to play behind this line? They have a solid receiving core as well. My only problem with the Eagles offense is the lack of a power halfback. I know they have some fullbacks that can get the tough yard but it’s not the same dynamic. It limits the offense if your fullback is the only option for the tough yards.
Cleveland is on the opposite side of the spectrum. They have the power backs. While Peyton Hillis and Montario Hardesty are both athletic, bigger guys, they still don’t possess the shiftiness of the finesse backs. Towards the end of the season, teams seemed to change their game plan for attacking the bruising Hillis. The Browns mix in Joshua Cribbs a lot on wildcat formations but that is their only form of an elusive back. If they keep sticking Hillis out there and expect him to just power rush up the middle over and over, mixed in with the occasional hurdle of a defender, it will just be a matter of time before he gets lit up like Steve Atwater did to Christian Okoye. They need to add some ying to their backfield yang.
If Montario Hardesty checks out on his recovery from his torn ACL, then Philly should propose a trade of Dion Lewis for Hardesty. It wouldn’t be like Cleveland would be getting cheated on the trade like last season. Actually, they would come out on the safer side of the trade. Dion Lewis isn’t coming off injury and he would become a weapon for the Browns’ backfield. After Hillis plows the defense in the ground, Lewis ability to cut on the dime would knock them off balance.
* This isn’t a trade being rumored; this is just one man’s quest to see great football around the NFL.
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Jayson Braddock is an NFL Scout / NFL Writer & On-Air Personality. Jayson is also a football insider for the Dylan Gwinn show on 790 AM in Houston, TX - Listeners NOT in the Houston metropolitan area can hear Jayson on iheart radio or sports790.com. You may email Jayson directly @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @JaysonBraddock