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The Buffalo Rumblings Podcast: Assessing the running backs

LeSean McCoy is an immense talent as a runner and receiver, but what about the other RBs?

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In the latest edition of the Buffalo Rumblings Podcast, John Boccacino and Anthony Marino discuss all things pertaining to the team’s running backs, from breaking down the odds that LeSean McCoy will earn induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, to analyzing the team’s depth at the running back position.

McCoy, who last December became just the 30th running back in NFL history to surpass 10,000 career rushing yards, certainly seems bound for Canton once he retires.

Entering his fourth season in Western New York, McCoy has amassed 10,092 rushing yards (averaging 4.6 yards per carry) in his career, including 3,300 rushing yards with the Bills. McCoy ranks 23rd all-time among running backs with 13,470 scrimmage yards, which is just ahead of Hall of Famer O.J. Simpson.

McCoy, who turns 30 on July 12, already is among the all-time greats for his accomplishments during his 20s. Only seven players in NFL history had more yards from scrimmage in their 20s than McCoy, and all of these runners either are in the Hall of Fame or should be inducted one day: Barry Sanders, Marshall Faulk, LaDainian Tomlinson, Emmitt Smith, Edgerrin James, Jim Brown, and Walter Payton.

Another productive season and McCoy would cement his status as a Hall of Fame-worthy running back.

As for the team’s depth chart at running back, McCoy is the clear workhorse, having logged 287 carries in 2017, second only to Le’Veon Bell (321). He finished the season ranking fourth in the league in rushing yards (1,138) and was Buffalo’s third-leading receiver (448 yards on 59 catches).

After getting little production out of Mike Tolbert (who somehow was named a Pro Bowl alternate in 2017) last year, Chris Ivory, 30, was signed as a change of pace back to Shady.

Ivory, who served as Leonard Fournette’s backup in Jacksonville last year, is seeking a bounce-back campaign after rushing for 382 yards on 112 carries with three touchdowns and a career-low 3.4 yards per rush. Like McCoy, Ivory is a threat out of the backfield and caught 21 passes for 175 yards with one TD in 2017.

Travaris Cadet, who rushed 22 times for 93 yards with 13 receptions for 93 yards in six games with Buffalo, is expected to compete for the No. 3 job with Marcus Murphy, who rushed seven times for 41 yards in the regular-season finale vs. Miami in his lone appearance.

During mandatory mini-camp, Murphy, who at age 26 is the youngster of the group, was seen taking repetitions with the first team, which could be an indicator of his job security.

Both Cadet, Murphy, and Taiwan Jones possess special teams experience, which could prove to be a crucial factor in who joins McCoy and Ivory among the ranks of Bills running backs.

While Buffalo initially kept five running backs in 2017, it appears unlikely that second-year head coach Sean McDermott would opt for five running backs, unless Murphy, Cadet, or Jones claim a role as a punt/kickoff returner.

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