Despite the way the season has gone for the Eagles, one player has found himself being the positive footnote for the team. Since 2015 when the Evil Emperor himself, Chip Kelly, traded LeSean McCoy for the belly shirt-wearing, Kiko Alonso, the Eagles have lacked a true franchise running back.
They tried to fill the void in multiple ways. After that trade, Kelly went on to sign DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews. A duo that should’ve made all of Philadelphia proud but I’m sure by now you know how that went. Murray was traded to the Titans after one year and Mathews stuck around for one more season until he disappeared into the sunset after a grueling injury.
In 2017, the team signed LeGarrette Blount to pair with Darren Sproles and undrafted rookie Corey Clement. Blount faired pretty well but after losing Sproles for the season due to an injury, Howie Roseman turned his focus on trading for Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi. Ajayi and Blount became a one-two punch for the ages. A dynamic pair that would help lead the Eagles to their first Super Bowl win.
As for last season, well…
To sum it up, The Eagles lost Ajayi, Clement and Sproles once again to injuries, so they were forced to rely on the undrafted rookie at the time, Josh Adams. Adams led the team with 511 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns. Now Adams is wearing a different green in northern New Jersey. Yes, I know the Jets are from New York but they still play in New Jersey. Don’t get me started on that.
Which brings me to this season. Jordan Howard was considered the steal of the offseason, it costing Howie Roseman nothing more than a sixth-round conditional pick. As good as he has been, he’s not the ultimate prize for the Eagles. Instead, it was to be the young running back from Penn State who blew up in his first season starting.
Miles Sanders was drafted in the second-round by the Eagles and is on pace to make history as the season continues for another several weeks.
Sanders is having a season for the ages. Currently, he is ranked fifth in all-purpose yards in Eagles rookie history with 1,190. He’s also the first NFL running back to have 850 scrimmage yards and 300 return yards in his first 12 career games since Adrian Peterson. Not bad company if you ask me.
Sanders is also coming off the best rushing game of his career as he tallied 83 yards on the ground. The young running back also recorded 5 receptions for 22 yards which led to his third game with 100+ yards on offense.
Sanders struggled to find his footing in the backfield to start the season but ever since a fumble-filled Lions game, the rookie has found his groove at the right time for the struggling birds. While Jordan Howard continues to nurse his shoulder injury, Sanders could be a sight for sore eyes if he’s able to avoid the common rookie wall.
He’s dangerous in the passing game and he’s becoming more than a handful in the backfield under the guidance of Duce Staley.
Only time will tell if the Eagles have found their franchise running back, but as his numbers continue to increase, it looks like the team is in good hands at running back for years to come.
Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
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