Eagles Confident Eldra Buckley Can Handle Backup Role?

Written By Bob Cunningham On Sunday, March 14, 2010

Is Eldra Buckley ready to be LeSean McCoy's backup?

At the onset of free agency, I figured, as did many, that the Eagles would pursue a veteran running back to complement LeSean McCoy in 2010. Brian Westbrook was clearly on the outs and the market for veteran running backs was probably the deepest in this thinned-out class.

But now, just a week past the start of free agency, the Eagles have not signed a backup and the market is starting to wear thin. Thomas Jones, Larry Johnson, and Chester Taylor have all signed on with new teams, and a lot of the guys left appear past their prime.

Willie Parker could be a decent fit, but it doesn't look like he's on the Eagles' radar. Justin Fargas has come in for a visit but left without a contract, and now even LaDainian Tomlinson has pegged the Eagles as a place he'd like to wind up.

However, whether he wants to be here or not is only half the battle. Andy Reid just cut a 30-something running back in Brian Westbrook and probably doesn't intend on bringing another one in -- especially one with wear like LT.

The Eagles currently have McCoy as the starter, Leonard Weaver is locked up for three more years and will of course see his fair share of carries, but behind them is Dwayne Wright, a running back who will be learning fullback, Martell Mallett, the CFL's reigning Rookie of the Year, and Eldra Buckley, a guy who made the team based on his special teams performance.

However, in spot duty, Buckley looked like he might just have the drive to become something in this league.

It was only around the goal-line, and the carries were certainly nothing spectacular, but everyone could instantly see how intense Buckley became as soon as he stepped foot onto the field.

His feet never stopped moving and he seemed to not only enjoy, but thrive off of being hit. He would lower his shoulder into a guy every chance he got and it has left several Eagles fans wondering just what he could do if given the opportunity.

He was the clear-cut special teams MVP last season and was really one of few bright spots on the Eagles coverage units. He's obviously not afraid of contact and, if you won't mind me wearing out an old expression, is clearly a "lunch pail" type of player.

For those of you who'd like to see him get a chance (myself included), you may just get to see it. The Eagles have been fairly inactive in their pursuit of a running back, and it may be an indication that they're ready to see what Buckley can do.

For you naysayers out there, don't forget that a guy by the name of Terrell Davis also started out as just another crazy unknown playing his heart out on special teams.

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