Eagles bolster the backfield with Kenneth Gainwell in the fifth round

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 28 Cotton Bowl Classic – Memphis v Penn State
ARLINGTON, TX – DECEMBER 28: Memphis Tigers running back Kenneth Gainwell (19) runs with the ball in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl between the Memphis Tigers and the Penn State Nittany Lions on December 28, 2019 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by John Bunch/Icon Sportswire)

The Eagles have hit the ground running on day 3 of the NFL Draft. After finally answering the call for a cornerback earlier today, they added a running back to finally take the load off of the shoulders of Miles Sanders. That man is Memphis RB Kenneth Gainwell.

At 5’11, 195 lbs, Gainwell is highly reminiscient of Darrell Henderson, which isn’t surprising considering he was his 1B at Memphis. Gainwell does offer a little more in the way of versatility though, picking 610 yards through the air in 2019 along with 3 receiving touchdowns. Add this to 459 rushing yards, 13 touchdowns, and an average of 4.3 yards per carry, and it’s hard not to get excited.

Gainwell is a pass-catching back at heart and will almost certainly raise the bar for Boston Scott. He led the ACC in scrimmage yards in 2019 and ranked fourth in the nation in that metric. Considering that Miles Sanders really regressed as a receiver last year, this should definitely take the edge off.

Don’t let that mislead you, he does pack a lot of punch, especially in pass-protection, which is an area the Eagles have lacked in recent years.

The Memphis product is able to burst through the hole with real power and thrives when he’s able to bounce runs outside. He’s a true slasher in every sense of the word and can be used as a one-cut back when needed. His size will be of concern if he was being drafted to become a workhorse back, but the Eagles won’t use him in that way.

If you look at the way Nick Sirianni used Nyheim Hines last year, we can assume that Gainwell will be used in a similar fashion. With both Sanders and Gainwell lining up in pony-sets, it’s going to cause matchup nightmares for opposing offenses.

Photo by John Bunch/Icon Sportswire