Would You Rather...LeSean McCoy or Alfred Morris?

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistMay 17, 2013

Courtesy USA Today
Courtesy USA Today

It's been a while since we've busted out a "Would You Rather," so I figured we'd wrap up the week on the NFC East blog by comparing two NFC East running backs with hefty résumés. 

One, LeSean McCoy of the Philadelphia Eagles, is coming off a disappointing season but has already accomplished quite a lot during his short career. 

The other, Alfred Morris of the Washington Redskins, is coming off a huge season but was a no-name sixth-round draft pick before that. 

If you went off of what McCoy and Morris did in 2012 alone, this wouldn't appear to be much of a debate. Here's the breakdown:

But that was Morris' rookie season, so it's all we have as a sample. That's dangerous. McCoy, on the other hand, put up some monster numbers earlier in his career. So while Morris' 2012 campaign could have been a fluke, there's a decent chance McCoy's rough 2012 season was an anomaly. 

It's hard to believe, but McCoy and Morris are actually the same age. Both were born in 1988 and turn 25 later this year. But McCoy was a second-round pick three years before Morris was selected in the sixth round by Washington. 

Those in McCoy's corner might make the argument that the age factor negates the fact that McCoy is deeper into his career, but there's no disputing the fact that he has a lot less tread on his tires. He was an All-Pro in 2011, but he also played more snaps than any back in football in 2010 and 2011, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

There's no evidence that the wear and tear has threatened McCoy's ability to stay on the field—let's chock up the four games he missed due to a concussion last year as bad luck—but his yards-per-carry average has dropped in back-to-back seasons, and running backs aren't exactly known for having long shelf lives.

McCoy might also take a hit off the field, where he's currently embroiled in controversy. The Pitt product is being sued for an alleged assault on a party bus—an allegation which McCoy's rep calls "unequivocally false."

Maybe that's true, but it doesn't look good next to this, especially when it seems Morris can do no wrong.

But if we're setting that aside, this is a tough call. McCoy has accomplished so much, and don't forget that he's proven to be one hell of a receiver out of the backfield too. Morris caught only 11 passes as a rookie, but Shady has averaged 55 catches and 397 receiving yards per season during his four-year career. 

My take? Morris has more upside and is still rising, while McCoy's best days could somehow already be behind him. There's a chance Morris' career fizzles quickly, because that's become a common theme with young backs. But there's also a chance McCoy continues to fade in the coming seasons. I think Morris is more of a gamble, but that's a bet I'd be willing to make.

So, who would you rather have in your backfield?