LESEAN MCCOY'S SIX seasons in Philadelphia established him not only as a star -- he's the NFL's third-leading rusher since being drafted in 2009 -- but also as an icon for the Eagles. That changed in March, when the team shipped him to Buffalo, where he agreed to a five-year, $40 million deal. McCoy recently sat down with The Mag to discuss his trade to Buffalo, his impressions of coach Rex Ryan and whether there is a race issue with his former coach, the Eagles' Chip Kelly.
The Mag: You've spent your entire life in Pennsylvania -- as a kid in Harrisburg, going to college in Pittsburgh and then playing in Philadelphia. How does it feel to be in a different state and different environment?
McCoy: It's a lot different. Everybody who's been influential in my life was just a phone call away, an hour away, two hours at the most. And everybody got to see me play -- friends I grew up with, families that have supported me, coaches. My son, I could see him as much as I wanted. But it's a business. I'm happy here. Great coaching staff. It's actually a nice city. I don't think they give it enough credit. There's a lot to do here. Also, Toronto is down the street. That's always fun.
There was a report that at first you didn't want to come here.
To be honest, I didn't want to come. I really didn't. I was so angry at first. You take a guy who's made his whole name and career in Philadelphia and move him. I didn't know anything about Buffalo, so I didn't want to go. But when you sit back and you really analyze just the good things here, it makes a lot of things better.
Has your impression of Buffalo changed in the past couple of months?
The first thing you think is, "Oh, it's cold, there's nothing to do." But the people in the city were so helpful, so nice. Then the second thing was the players. They're really talented. People don't know that. They haven't been to the playoffs in a long time, so there hasn't been anything too positive footballwise. But things change. I think the owners, the Pegulas, have done a great job of getting the right personnel and coaches here to change this thing around.
You gave the impression when you first got here that you didn't feel like you were appreciated or wanted in Philadelphia.
I just think it was tough to be thinking every year, "Am I on the team? Am I off the team?" I guess here, it's like, "This is my team. They're giving me a lot of room to be the guy here." And that's how I like it. I want to be the guy that leads the team to victories.
You've had three practices with Rex at the helm. What is his personality like on the field?
Laid-back. He wants the guys to have fun. It's work, but enjoy it. His approach is how a player approaches it. It's no surprise, because in his family, football is everything. You can just see that in the way he runs everything.
Last Week: 2 The Patriots used the draft to bulk up the offensive and defensive lines, drafting six linemen in the first five rounds. The average weight of the Patriots' first seven picks was 276 pounds. 3
Last Week: 3 The Packers have used eight of their 10 first-round picks on defense since drafting Aaron Rodgers. The Packers haven't ranked higher than 13th in opponent PPG since winning the Super Bowl after the 2010 season. 4
Last Week: 5 The Cowboys rushed more than any other team last season, but didn't draft a RB to replace DeMarco Murray. That leaves Darren McFadden, who has one 16-game season in his career, as the lead back. 7
Last Week: 9 The Bengals drafted offensive tackles with their first two picks; both of their starters at the position are free agents after this season. Smart for the future, but might not help this year. 11
Last Week: 12 The offensive additions made headlines for Chip Kelly, but the Eagles signed or drafted a combined six cornerbacks this offseason. Only three teams allowed more passing touchdowns than Philly in 2014. 12
Last Week: 19 A lot of new faces will be surrounding Ryan Tannehill in 2015, including Greg Jennings and first-round pick DeVante Parker. Will they be enough to get Miami to improve on its 8-8 finish in 2014? 16
Last Week: 15 Carolina's linebackers were already among the best with Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis each notching 100-plus tackles last season. Now they're joined by Shaq Thompson (25th overall pick). 17
Last Week: 24 Drafting an offensive tackle ninth overall may not seem sexy, but the Giants ranked 30th in yards per rush last season, despite their running backs ranking 10th in yards after contact. 24
Last Week: 27 Rex Ryan is gone but defense is still the priority. The Jets drafted DE Leonard Williams sixth overall after adding Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, Buster Skrine, Marcus Gilchrist and Stephen Bowen this offseason. 26
Last Week: 30 Jacksonville signed Julius Thomas this offseason. It has also drafted four wide receivers the past two years, as well as RB T.J. Yeldon. This season will tell us a lot about Blake Bortles. 31
Last Week: 32 Quarterbacks drafted second overall since 1967: Robert Griffin III, Donovan McNabb, Ryan Leaf, Rick Mirer, Bert Jones, Archie Manning. Where will Marcus Mariota rate among this group when all is said and done?
How did ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper's final mock draft stack up against what really happened? How accurate was the expert?
At a quick glance at 2015, it appears not very. Kiper correctly predicted seven first-round picks, just 22 percent. He was able to predict the landing spots for Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, Amari Cooper, Ereck Flowers, Trae Waynes, Danny Shelton and Melvin Gordon, but missed on the rest.
Kiper also took a crack at the first three rounds, undoubtedly a much more difficult task. He predicted that the Buccaneers would take Winston at No. 1, and they did. In the second round, he had the team taking offensive tackle D.J. Humphries – right position, wrong player. And he missed both the position and player in predicting Florida State defensive end to become a Buccaneer in the third round.
Here’s a look at Mel Kiper’s final mock draft. The player actually selected at that position in in parenthesis.
As Fisher, Snead and COO Kevin Demoff huddled in the team's crowded war room to affirm their strategy, assistant secondary coach Brandon Fisher gestured toward his father and explained, "He's thinking 'trade down,' because the board is talking to us. If you have a bunch of players who you basically rate the same, and you're happy to get any one of them, then moving down is the smart play."
If trading down was the call, seldom had a message rung so loudly and clearly in real time. About five seconds after the Rams were on the clock for the 41st overall selection, the Kansas City Chiefs called with an offer -- and five other teams followed suit shortly thereafter. After a furious, five-and-a-half minute stretch of constant communication, Fisher, Snead and Demoff finalized a deal with the Carolina Panthers, moving down 16 spots in the second round while snagging extra picks in the third and sixth rounds.