Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders is prepared for the LeSean McCoy comparisons coming his way.
The Philadelphia Eagles haven’t had what you would call a ‘franchise rusher’ since the days of LeSean McCoy. Back in 2009, Andy Reid and company decided to draft high on the position, snagging a Pennsylvania native from the Pittsburgh Panthers.
McCoy played youth ball in Pennsylvania. He played High School ball in Pennsylvania. And college ball? You guessed it! Pennsylvania. Then, he went and got drafted to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Well, ten years later, the Eagles end up with the same scenario. Their second-round pick just so happened to have played youth, High School, college, and now professional football in Pennsylvania.
Funny enough, Miles Sanders and McCoy both have similar running styles and are quite elusive. The only difference is that McCoy proved to be a pure franchise rusher.
Sanders, on the other hand, is just getting started. While he has already heard he’s being dubbed as ‘Shady 2.0,’ within Philadelphia, it’s actually nothing new to him.
Growing up, Sanders was already being compared to LeSean McCoy. As they both have comparable styles, coming out of the same state, Sanders was also the top dog in his recruiting class coming out of Pennsylvania. Though McCoy’s journey took a turn after a devastating injury, their stories are not that different.
A familiar comparison comes back
“When I was coming up, people called me the next LeSean McCoy,” Sanders wrote in a guest column for The Player’s Tribune. “I was cool with [it] because I always loved Shady’s game. He could ball. But after a while, the comparisons get to be a lot. Not so much the pressure — I’m cool with that — but more the fact that it’s easy to get caught up in trying to be somebody else.”
Knowing that McCoy is the leading rusher for the Eagles, Sanders has a lot to live up to because of where he was drafted. The Eagles haven’t valued the running back position as much over the years, and now Sanders changed the way the backfield is viewed in Philly.
So far, his NFL journey has been on the right path. While Sanders is expected to play behind Jordan Howard, he will still get his fair share of work in. Kind of how McCoy eased into a role behind the more experienced, Brian Westbrook. Soon enough though, Sanders could be headlining the backfield himself for the Eagles.
While it’s unlikely he will avoid the comparisons of both, Shady McCoy and Saquon Barkley throughout the beginning of his career, Sanders is on a mission to make a name for himself starting as early as Sunday. It’s unclear how much he will play — but it sure sounds like Eagles coach Doug Pederson had no intentions of holding the rookie rusher back.