The Eagles end the fourth round with a bang. After trading up to the 132 spot, the team selected San Diego State running back, Donnel Pumphrey.
The most prolific rusher in NCAA history, Pumphrey drew a lot of interest during Senior Bowl week due to his size. At just 5’8 and 169 pounds, comparisons can naturally be made with Eagles running back, Darren Sproles..and rightly so.
With 82 special teams yards during that game, Pumphrey followed up with 4 rushes for 28 yards..averaging 5.8 yards per carry. The burst of Pumphrey, who rushed for 17 touchdowns in his senior year is what really stood out. His acceleration and ability to hit the hole assertively, despite his small frame would have resonated well with the Eagles..who are well aware of the intentions of Darren Sproles, to retire after next season.
So, what does this mean for the Eagles?
The little engine that could:
The all time leading rusher in FBS history at just 5’8, 176 lbs, Pumphrey fits the Darren Sproles mold perfectly. As explosive as he is elusive, Pumphrey could grow into the role that Sproles carved himself in the NFL..one that has only expanded during his time so far in Philadelphia. The Eagles needed a running back..and by drafting the pride of San Diego State, they add to an already dangerous backfield.
Moments after adding North Carolina’s four-year special teams captain Mack Hollins, the Eagles trade up a few spots in order to secure a potential return rusher for years to come. Dave Fipp’s unit is among the most dangerous in the NFL and it has been for quite some time..Pumphrey only adds to the equation and will ensure the fire doesn’t stop burning once Sproles retires in midnight green.
Senior Bowl standout:
The Eagles just love players who shine during the Senior Bowl, and as aforementioned, Pumphrey’s explosiveness in Mobile certainly played into this decision.
A committee effort confirmed:
The Eagles didn’t just draft a running back, they traded up a few spots to ensure they get the right one out of a large pool. There were some other, perhaps more fitting three-down back options there, but Pederson’s quotes yesterday may have been a smokescreen. By adding a running back who received for a total of 1,041 yards in his career, the Birds all but confirm that they will be approaching 2017 with a committee effort once again.
Sproles, Smallwood, Mathews and Pumphrey combined could wreak havoc if used in the right fashion..and drafting a back who screams versatility and fits so well with the system, means that there isn’t a domino effect of decisions regarding the future of current backs on the roster, who could be losing out or lose value in the event of a 20+ carry per game rusher.
The Eagles, once again played it safe with this one and instead of stripping everything back and starting again..decided to simply build on what they’ve already established.
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports