2016 saw big changes for the 2016 Philadelphia Eagles. A rookie head coach, a rookie Quarterback, changes to the front office and a whole lot of question marks. Among the many questions the Eagles left unanswered in 2016, was who would be sharing the backfield with Carson Wentz. Although the biggest cries for help amongst fans have been the need for an upgrade at both the WR, and CB positions, the need for a true difference maker in the backfield could easily be ranked amongst the top of the to-do list.
Rookie Wendell Smallwood had his season cut short, but showed promise in his small sample. Ryan Mathews was a solid choice when on the field, but those moments seemed few and far between. The often injured back spent a lot of time watching the offense from the sidelines and ended his season early with a neck injury. Aside from this, multiple reports have emphasized that Mathews’ future with the Eagles is by no means certain.
Sproles is a true weapon while on the field and has been amazing for Carson to this point. He himself has gotten a little long in the tooth and although he has been fun to watch, isn’t the answer as a true number 1 back. UDFA Byron Marshall has flashed with his small amount of carries and is worth keeping around to develop.
With such a deep RB class in this years draft ,the Eagles are probably best served finding a three down compliment to Wendell Smallwood there. The names Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook, and Christian McCaffrey are at the top of every draft board when it comes to backfield prospects and rightfully so. If Cook or Fournette are on the board when the Eagles pick, they should go sprinting to the podium. With both of them being considered top ten locks, the Eagles should sit still, draft the best available player and find a RB later in the draft. Here are three names who could interest the Eagles during the heart of this year’s NFL Draft.
D’onta Foreman (Texas):
This rising star has it all. He’s a strong runner and has deceptive speed to get him where he wants to go quickly. With amazing balance and great vision, standing at 6’1 249 LB’s, this tank like prospect has the look of a true number one back. Foreman didn’t become the true starter until 2016, where he ran for 2,028 yards, on 323 attempts, scoring 15 touchdowns. Although he needs work on his blitz recognition and pass protection overall, he is only 20 years old and will get better with coaching. His physical style of running would suit the Eagles offense well and would serve as the perfect back for Wendell Smallwood to compliment, creating almost a Duce Staley, Correl Buckhalter type presence.
Marlon Mack (USF):
Mack is 6’0, 215 lb’s, of pure play making ability. The Sarasota, FLA native is the USF and AAC (American Athletic Conference) all-time leader in rush yards (3’609), all purpose yards (4,107) and touchdowns (33). Along with the USF career 100 yard games (20), Mack has proven to be an explosion waiting to happen. Using his combination of size, speed and strength to hurt the feelings of defensive coordinators for the last three years. Mack’s most dangerous aspects to his game are his ability to create when nothing’s there and his open field vision. He is also a true three down back, as proven with his 498 yards through the air. The idea of Mack sharing the backfield with Carson Wentz is intriguing to say the least, and could create a one two punch to give the NFC headaches for years to come.
Jamaal Williams (BYU):
Compared to the likes of Dalvin Cook and Leonard Fournette, Williams has gone almost unnoticed. However do not be fooled, Williams ceiling is just as high as the other two. The 6’0, 220 lbs, stud has been likened to Matt Forte on more than one occasion and for good reason. With a combination of size, balance and the ability to turn any play into an explosive one, it is easy to see why. He is an open field monster whom has the speed to pull away from defenders when he sees a crease. His career numbers aren’t outrageous; 3,901 yards on 726 attempts and 35 touchdowns, add to it his 567 yards on 60 receptions, but you can see the potential at the next level. Williams has had minor legal issues, but the Eagles have shown a little more compassion for the “Troubled” prospect as of late. In the Eagles backfield, Williams could prove to be a pro-bowl caliber type back.
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