The first thing you need to know about Bryce Brown is that he was, at one time, a pretty big deal.
Brown was rated as the nation's No. 1 overall recruit by Rivals in the class of '09, following a dominant prep career at Wichita East HS. Every major university wanted him — and he committed to half of them. He spent a season at Tennessee running behind Montario Hardesty, then transferred to K-State, sat out a year, and played a supporting role in a handful of games for the Wildcats before tapping out, then dropping out. Brown was mixed up in the Nevin Shapiro scandal at Miami, too.
If Brown sounds like he was a bust at the collegiate level, well ... yeah. He was a serious disappointment.
And then he ran a 4.37 at his pro day, so the NFL welcomed him.
Philadelphia selected Brown with the 229th pick in the 2012 Draft. Andy Reid seemed pleased with the selection at the time:
"He's had kind of a wild ride here through college football ..."
Um, yeah. That he did.
"You're talking tremendous, tremendous skill here. He catches the ball effortlessly and is a smooth, smooth runner. He has all the talent in the world, but it's just a matter of tying things down here."
He may get a chance to tie things down (whatever that means) in Week 12. If LeSean McCoy doesn't clear the NFL's concussion protocol — he was reportedly foggy and tired on Sunday night — then Brown has a shot at a significant workload when Philly faces Carolina on Monday night.
We need to be careful not to over-hype another Eagles depth-chart skill player, of course. Particularly after the Nick Foles debacle. Just please understand that Brown is the clear handcuff to Shady and he ran well against Washington on Sunday (5 carries, 35 yards). His first carry against the 'Skins should have probably been a three or four-yard loss, but he managed to gain five. He can play a little — not at McCoy's level, but he can play. This isn't some way-off-the-radar running back.
In fact, back in the day, Brown was the biggest blip on the radar. Claim as needed, McCoy owners.
(Note: I'll be placing larger bids on Ronnie Hillman this week, but that's because I'm a devastated McGahee investor. Brown will be Plan B).