Battle for 4th Running Back Spot
Matt Finocchio - Head Writer
The Eagles are set up to have a nice running back rotation in 2018 with Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement and Darren Sproles.
All three backs have proven that they can be productive in the Eagle’s system, and all three are all locks to make the final 53-man roster. With that said, it’s likely the team will keep four backs on the roster, leaving one spot up for grabs.
Let’s take a look at who’s competing for that fourth running back spot:
Wendell Smallwood: Of the backs in contention, the team is most familiar with Smallwood. Unfortunately for Smallwood, that might work out to his detriment, as the team has already seen what he can (and can’t do). He was a healthy scratch most of last year and hasn’t really flashed when he’s been on the field. I think his time with the Birds is coming to an end.
Josh Adams: Adams is a local kid who played his high school ball at Central Bucks South in Bucks County (I’m a CB East grad myself). After having a great career at Notre Dame (5th most rushing yards in school history), he is looking to make the squad of his hometown team. However, due to a hairline fracture in his foot, he didn’t see the practice field all spring (OTA’s, minicamp, etc.). At this point, it looks like an uphill battle for Adams to make the 53-man roster. Unless he really impresses in the pre-season, a year on the practice squad might be in his future.
Matt Jones: Jones’ main advantage in this position battle is that he’s by far the biggest running back option for the Eagles (6’2”, 240). With the departure of LeGarrette Blount, being a short yardage/power back is Jones’ best chance of making the squad. Although his physical stature makes him an intriguing option, Jones will need to prove he’s worthy of a roster spot after underwhelming stops in Washington and Indianapolis.
Donnel Pumphrey: Pumphrey is the most intriguing player on this list. The Eagles where obviously high on him when they traded up to draft him in the fourth round; because of this, I don’t think they are ready to cut ties with him just yet. Provided he shows improvement from last year’s camp/pre-season, I think he makes the team. Additionally, Darren Sproles mentioned that this will be his last season, so they might want to hold onto Pump and see if he could develop into the quick/shifty back that he was in college. At this point, he has a lot of doubters (and I’m probably one of them), here’s to hoping he proves us wrong.