Running back Brian Westbrook entered the NFL as an underdog from the start.
With a 5’10”, 200lb frame, he had fine size with great strength and explosiveness.

Westbrook, chosen in the third round, was the eighth overall running back selected in the 2002 NFL Draft.

Aside from Hall-of-Fame running back Jerome Bettis, who was selected at the 51st pick, the six other runners drafted prior to Westbrook would all fail to match his production in virtually every statistical category.


Brian Westbrook himself even has stated that he felt like he was an underrated player.

“It just comes down to not talking about my game, letting my game speak for itself…”

– Eagles RB Brian Westbrook, “Top 10 Most Underrated Players|NFL Films”


Westbrook’s versatility allowed him to be lethal in a plethora of ways on offense. One could argue him as one of the best pass-catching backs to have ever entered the league.

During his career – 2002 to 2010 – Westbrook was second among running backs in total receptions, receiving yards, and targets, trailing only Hall-of-Fame running back Ladanian Tomlinson in all three statistical categories.

While Tomlinson may have bested Westbrook in other areas, the Eagles’ legend takes the cake in touchdowns in the passing game. From 2002 to 2010, Brian Westbrook had the most receiving touchdowns with 30. The next closest running back in that time period is Ladanian Tomlinson, who only managed to catch half the amount of receiving touchdowns (15) as Westbrook.

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Photo: NFL.com

Westbrook was a talented runner that meshed well with Reid’s offensive style. He finished his Eagles career with 5,995 rushing yards on 4.6 yards per carry and 41 rushing touchdowns.

During the 2007 season — arguably Westbrook’s best year as a pro — Westbrook received his second Pro-Bowl nod as well as first-team All-Pro honors.  Brian Westbrook took over as the centerpiece of the Philadelphia offense in 2007, attempting to match and surpass his totals from the season prior.

He would lead the team in rushing yards, receptions, catch percentage, and total touchdowns. Westbrook would also lead the entire league in total yards from scrimmage with 2,104 total yards. Despite Westbrook’s effort, the Eagles would finish 8-8 (4th in the NFC East), rendering the season useless.

When viewing Number 36’s career overall, he absolutely was underappreciated and underrated. Westbrook played in the NFL with a handful of very talented running backs, such as LaDanian Tomlinson, Tiki Barber, Shaun Alexander, Clinton Portis, Jamal Lewis, Edgerrin James, Steven Jackson, Michael Turner, Adrian Peterson, Maurice Jones-Drew, etc…

With the spotlight only so big, it’s not a surprise that a player such as Brian Westbrook would be overlooked. While Westbrook was surely not the first pass-catching back, he helped revolutionize the running back position. Prior to 2000, only one running back was ever able to surpass 100 receptions and only two backs reached 90.  Following 2000, there have been four new instances in which a running back has logged 100+ receptions, as well as five more backs with 90+.

It would be ignorant to claim that Westbrook isn’t a contributor to the progression of the game of football. Westbrook, among others, has also proven that smaller running backs can be just as effective; and at times, more dangerous.


Westbrook would retire in 2012 as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles, forever cementing his legacy within the franchise. Westbrook’s franchise ranks, as of May 12th, 2020, with the Philadelphia Eagles:

  • Carries – 1,308 (4th)
  • Rush Yds – 5,995 (3rd)
  • Rush TD – 37 (4th)
  • Targets – 575 (4th)
  • Receptions – 426 (4th)
  • Receiving Yds – 3,790 (14th)
  • Receiving TD – 29 (14th)
  • Yards-from-scrimmage – 9,785 (1st)
  • All-purpose yards – 10,769 (2nd)
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Photo: NBCSports.com

Philadelphia is forever home

to the 2x Pro Bowler (’04, ’07), 1x All-Pro (’07), 2004 NFC champion, and 2015 inductee into the Philadelphia Eagles Hall of Fame.


Thank you, No. 36.

Featured Image: MercuryNews.com
All statistics via Pro-Football-Reference.com unless stated otherwise
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