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If McCoy's not on 'The Top 100,' there's something wrong

  • By Pat Kirwan NFL.com
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I guess the reason player lists are created is to generate discussion over which players don’t belong and which are missing. When looking at the NFL Network’s “The Top 100: Players of 2011” list, even without knowing how the final 60 names will play out, there might be an issue with running backs that has caught my attention.

Knowing there are 10 running backs and one fullback on the list, and then looking at the names already included and filling in some blanks, it seems to me that LeSean McCoy of the Philadelphia Eagles might not make the list. I’ve got a problem with that.

I’m not here to make a case against any back to be removed, but I do find it difficult to have a fullback included when there were some very worthy players left off the list. We already know that Frank Gore of the 49ers checked in at no. 94. I’m not sure why Gore made it this year when he didn’t complete the 2010 season due to injury. The other two backs who have been announced thus far are Darren McFadden at No. 98 and fullback Vonta Leach at No. 65.

That leaves eight more running backs on the list. If you consider the “usual suspects,” that would be: Adrian Peterson, Arian Foster, Chris Johnson, Jamaal Charles, Maurice Jones-Drew, Michael Turner, Ray Rice and Steven Jackson.

If those are the final eight backs on the list, then where is Rashard Mendenhall? The Steelers running back had more rushing touchdowns last year than all of the players above. He also had more rushing yards than Jackson, Rice, McFadden and Gore.

Still, Mendenhall is not the player I think will be the biggest snub.

Take a look at the ratio of “explosive runs” to rushing attempts in 2010. The gold standard was Charles, who had 42 runs over 10 yards. With 230 rushing attempts, that’s a ratio of one explosive run every five attempts. Here’s a breakdown of some of the others:

Foster -- 1:7.7
Peterson -- 1:7.8
Johnson -- 1:8.5
Jones-Drew -- 1:8.8
Jackson -- 1:10

All pretty good, but not as good as this:

McCoy -- 1:7.3

How about total yardage from scrimmage? When we talk about the modern running back, players must have receiving skills as well as running skills. McCoy was fourth in the NFL last season in total yards from scrimmage. While we’re on the subject, there might be three other players who finished in the top 12 in yards from scrimmage last year who don’t appear to have made the top 100: Peyton Hillis (sixth), Matt Forte (10th) and Ahmad Bradshaw (12th).

'The Top 100: Players of 2011'
The 10-week countdown of the list is complete with Tom Brady taking the No. 1 spot as voted on by the players. Relive the series from start to finish.

» Explore 'The Top 100' in depth

How about scrimmage touchdowns (rushing and receiving) as a criteria? Hillis and Mendenhall were tied with Peterson for third on that list, which includes running backs, receivers and tight ends.

Clearly, there are several deserving players who will not make the top 100. The one that I feel must be championed, if he indeed did not make it, is McCoy.

McCoy led all running backs with 78 receptions. He had an exceptional ratio of explosive plays with 28 runs over 10 yards in just 207 carries. He finished fourth in the NFL in total yards from scrimmage (1,672 yards), which translates to 111.5 yards a game, ranking fifth overall. Every time McCoy touched the ball, he averaged 5.86 yards. Johnson touched the ball 75 more times than McCoy and had 63 fewer total yards and one fewer touchdown. Johnson’s average yards per touch was 4.46 yards.

Do you think there should be a spot in the top 100 players for McCoy?

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