Eagles position spotlight: Running Back

For the first time in quite some time, the Eagles will be entering the season with a clear idea of who their running backs are. There’s a clear bell-cow at the top of the pecking order and a pretty solid rotation beneath him. That doesn’t mean the position is without things to watch this offseason, however.

Miles Sanders

Miles Sanders exploded onto the scene last season once Jordan Howard went down and never looked back. He finished the year leading rookies in all-purpose yards with 1,641 yards. He also led the Eagles in rushing yards with 818 on 179 rushes and 3 rushing touchdowns, averaging 4.6 yards per attempt in 16 games with the team. Sanders adds dynamism to the team that only McCoy and Sproles have added in years past. Miles blew away the critics when he showed his ability to catch out of the backfield and became the Eagles’ best deep threat. He even managed to have more receiving yards (509) than the actual wide receivers.

As he enters his sophomore season, the Eagles will look to maximize off of the young playmaker. He’s the clear cut favorite to be the RB1 this season as the coaching staff has raved about his abilities. My expectations for him this season will be somewhere along the lines of 965 rushing yards, 310 receiving yards, and 10 total touchdowns.

Boston Scott

Scott is an intriguing piece for the Eagles to keep around. His smooth running in between the tackles and going invisible against oversized lineman proved to be beneficial for the run game this last season.

Scott came into the scene after being called up from the practice squad when Sproles and Howard went down. He maximized his opportunities once his number was called as well. Scott put together 245 rushing yards, 204 receiving yards, and 5 touchdowns in just 11 games as RB2. While the numbers aren’t eye-popping, the moments where he shined really are.

Scott came up big for the Eagles against their division foe, the New York Giants, in both matchups down the stretch. He put up 266 total yards against them in both games as well as 4 out of his 5 touchdowns. It’s clear that the Eagles love the complement he adds to the game of Sanders as well as adding some spice to the return game. My expectation for Scott this season would be to keep on his current pace, recording 300 rushing yards, 270 receiving yards, and 7 touchdowns.

Corey Clement

Clement’s role will be an interesting one this season. He’s the third clone of the group, what I mean by that is that Corey does exactly what Sanders and Scott do. He can catch out of the backfield, he can take the ball for big gains off a handoff, and he can pass block. So maybe the Eagles are in a better position with him on the team.

Injuries are obviously a big concern and his drops in the return game didn’t exactly make this signing overly attractive, but it’s cheap, cheerful, and if he can get back to his old form, there’s no doubting he’ll have a role to play.

Rotating all three players would mean you never skip a beat but the idea is that Scott and Clement will continue to compliment Miles Sanders which they do very well. The expectation for the former UDFA is simple: 200 rushing yards, 130 receiving yards, and 3 touchdowns.

Elijah Holyfield

Holyfield was signed from the Panthers practice squad during the first week of the 2019 playoffs. He was brought in to be a filler for the void that Jordan Howard’s injury left. He is yet to see action on the field at this level but he exploded onto the scene back in his junior year in Georgia. The former Bulldog tallied 1,018 rushing yards on 159 attempts alongside 7 touchdowns. He also averaged 6.4 yards per carry during that season. Holyfield is a big back that can move swiftly in between the tackles. He may have to battle for the fourth spot but it’ll be an interesting battle to see.

Adrian Killins

Killins can be a huge difference-maker due to his remarkable speed. Something that could translate well for the Eagles on Special Teams to begin with. During his collegiate career, Adrian tallied a total of 6,807 all-purpose yards while averaging 6 yards per rush, 12.8 yards per reception, and 21.8 yards per kickoff return. He also managed to put up 34 total touchdowns during his time at UCF. Killins could be a longshot to make it onto the roster but don’t forget how much the Eagles love their special team’s guys, just ask Mack Hollins. Sorry, too soon?

Michael Warren

Michael Warren is a freak of nature. I need you to understand that this is not an overstatement. He is a big, bruising back with the feet of a ballerina. He’s agile, quick, elusive, and has such a great center of gravity for a back his size. His ability to escape tackles and swiftly get upfield is a love drama for football experts.

Warren can immediately fill in the void left by Jordan Howard. The Eagles don’t really have a back with his style of play outside of Holyfield, but the Eagles know what they’re getting out of the Cincinnati product. He averaged 5.2 yards per carry in his three seasons there but it wasn’t until his sophomore year where he broke out. The 222-pound back went for 1,329 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns while averaging 5.4 yards per carry in 2018.

He followed that by rushing for 1,265 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns while averaging 4.8 yards per carry. Warren is consistent and won’t have to do much for a team that’s already set at running back but the Eagles could use a back of his size in goal-line situations and against more physical defenses. It’ll be interesting to see where Warren lands for the Eagles this season.

Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

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