Eliot Shorr-Parks, 94WIP

Eagles Report Card: Running backs

Eliot Shorr-Parks
May 18, 2019 - 8:40 am

With OTAs underway and training camp much close than you would think, here is a look at where things stand with the Eagles’ running backs after free agency and the draft.

Starters: Jordan Howard

Depth: Miles Sanders, Corey Clement, Wendell Smallwood, Josh Adams, Boston Scott, Donnel Pumphrey

Overall: So much for Eagles top personnel executive Howie Roseman not valuing the running back position. 

After hearing from fans for the majority of the offseason that he needed to add a running back, Roseman went out and made two big-time moves at the position, bringing in Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders. In Howard, the Eagles have a running back with the third-most rushing yards since 2016. To get Sanders the Eagles used the No. 53 overall pick, the highest pick they have used on a running back since LeSean McCoy in 2009. 

Neither are complete backs, but together, they should give the Eagles the best set of starting running backs they have had in years — yes, better than Jay Ajayi and LeGarrette Blount. The Eagles know what they will get from Howard. He should excel between the tackles, be able to carry the workload if called upon and be excellent in pass protection. Sanders is a bit more of a question mark. He had impressive numbers at Penn State, but he isn’t especially elusive and doesn’t have great hands, something that resulted in dropped passes and fumbles in college. Still, the Eagles are confident in him, and they are going to play him enough that we will all find out if they were correct to take him so early. 

What makes this group especially talented is the depth they have behind the top two running backs. Clement, if healthy, might be the best third running back in the NFL. Smallwood is a player the coaches trust and has shown he can be serviceable when called upon. Adams will fight for a roster spot, but after the potential he showed last season, there is reason to believe he is going to win one. Scott faces an uphill battle to make the roster, but the Eagles clearly like him, after putting him on the active roster late last season and on the field in the playoffs. 

No, the Eagles don’t have the No. 1, do-it-all running back, but that isn’t what they want. What they do have is a collection of options that all compliment each other and can do different things out of the backfield. How Sanders develops will end up being the biggest factor in how good this group is, but the potential for this collection of backs is very much there. 

Grade: B+

You can reach Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at esp@94wip.com!

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