The Philadelphia Eagles will start OTAs on Tuesday, May 22. The majority of the team is expected to participate, meaning that the coaches will get their first look at the 2012 version of the Eagles on the field. As a fan, I believe that OTAs are important for players at every position, but that is really true for the running backs. While LeSean McCoy is the unquestioned starter, the Eagles have several decisions to make in terms of depth. Here is a look at the running backs as the Eagles start OTAs.
A happy McCoy
The Eagles ended any speculation over McCoy's contract by signing him to a five-year extension. This ensures that there will be no issues with his happiness as the 2012 season begins. With the running back happy and financially secure, there is no reason to think he won't be every bit as good as he was in 2011. Ideally, the Eagles will find some depth to take some pressure off him. However, this is the most important skill position player on the team. I am anxious to see how he grows as a leader over the course of the offseason.
The number two spot
Dion Lewis is still in the mix, but all signs point to Bryce Brown or Chris Polk emerging as the number two running back. Both have tremendous potential but carry risk. Brown has all of the talent in the world but comes with character issues. He has a total of three carries over the last two seasons, meaning his college career was nowhere near what it should have been. Meanwhile, Polk was very productive in college. However, injury concerns dropped him all the way out of the draft. If either of these two can prove that their risks are no longer a factor, they should give the Eagles the depth they need. It should be a fun competition that kicks into gear during OTAs.
The new fullback
Stanley Havili looks like he will be the guy to play fullback. The Eagles have had a checkered history at this position, so the hope is that the 2011 seventh round draft choice will emerge as a contributor. Havili won't be counted on to do a lot in terms of offensive production, but he will need to be a good blocker. The Eagles might also need him in short yardage situations. We should start to learn how ready he is as OTAs progress.
* - Mark Paul is a Philadelphia resident and lifelong Eagles fan.