Here is a quick rundown of my predictions of which Eagles running backs will make the final roster cut and which ones will not.
Howard will make the final cut. He has two 1,000 rushing yard seasons under his belt and has averaged 8 rushing touchdowns over the last 3 seasons. Despite having no presence in the passing game, he is the most proven rusher that the Eagles have.
Sanders will make the team. He has shown the fans and the organization that he has the potential to be a great starting running back in the NFL. Besides, there is no way the Eagles would cut a second-round draft pick, barring that the team discovers that he has serious issues. Fortunately, he does not.
Earlier in the year, head coach Doug Pederson viewed Boston Scott as a potential replacement for Darren Sproles. He has a physique similar to Sproles and aside from being a running back, he can function both as a kick and punt returner. Although Scott isn’t the favorite to be number one anywhere on the depth chart, he can develop to be a similar player like Sproles if he gets more playing time. However, due to the steepness of the competition he faces, expect him to be back on the practice squad. But, if the Eagles do elect to trade Josh Adams, than him and Donnel Pumphrey will compete for the final roster spot among the running backs.
Pumphrey has had a quiet but successful showing at camp. Although he is a long shot to make the roster, he has been developing his case to make the final cut. During practices with the first team, Pumphrey displayed that he can be an effective physical back. He can run the ball up the middle effectively and has found ways to break loose for huge gains from time to time. If Josh Adams gets traded, than expect him and Boston Scott to compete for the final roster spot. In the meantime however, the competition he faces is far more established than he is so expect him not to make the team. However, Pumphrey should be able to find a new home elsewhere in the league.
Although Josh Adams was not immune to inconsistency last season, he was the brightest spot among the team’s running backs. He led the team in rushing yards and had a nice stretch of performances from Weeks 8 to 14. However, he was horrible on short-yardage situations and fell out of favor among the coaching staff towards the end of the season. Adams won’t see consistent snaps anytime this year thanks to the additions of Howard and Sanders, but he has shown that he has the potential to grow into a solid running back. Recent rumors speculate whether Adams will be traded but if he doesn’t, than expect Adams to make the final cut.
Expect Clement to be back on the roster. When healthy, Clement is a viable option in the passing offense. Thankfully, recent reports suggest favorable views surrounding his health so Clement should return to his rookie season form. His strong showing in his preseason debut makes fans more confident that Clement will have a productive season.
Despite being shown some favoritism by the coaching staff in the past, Wendell Smallwood will be cut. Although he has been effective on short-yardage situations, Smallwood has been inconsistent during his time with the team. He is currently on thin ice and there is more talent that he faces in the running back competition for this season than in the past. Unfortunately for Smallwood, he won’t be able to overcome the competition this time to make the final cut.
Sproles will be back on the roster because of the respect that the organization has for him. Although I think he should be cut simply because it’s doubtful if he can stay healthy for a full season and his legs aren’t durable anymore, the Eagles are going to keep Sproles for what most likely will be his last season. The organization wants to give Sproles the chance to crack the top-five among the NFL’s all-time all-purpose yards leaders along with the chance to capture his final Super Bowl ring.
In conclusion, I believe the Eagles final roster will compose of the following running backs:
- Jordan Howard
- Miles Sanders
- Corey Clement
- Darren Sproles
- Josh Adams