Which running back is likely to lead the Eagles RB committee in 2017?
- It is widely acknowledged that RB Ryan Mathews will become a cap casualty in Philadelphia (due to ball-security and durability concerns), once he is healthy enough to pass a physical.
- That would leave Darren Sproles as the lone veteran running back on the Philadelphia Eagles roster, and at 33 years old, 2017 is likely to be his last season.
- Sproles remains perhaps the league’s best punt returner and is still an effective back, forcing 26 missed tackles on just 146 touches in 2016.
- However, at his age the Eagles would be unwise to feed him to ball in excess of 150 times over the course of a season.
- At this stage, a training camp battle between 2016 fifth-round pick Wendell Smallwood and 2017 fifth-rounder Donnel Pumphrey seems most likely.
- Although both runners appear similar on the surface, Pumphrey actually relishes running between the tackles more regularly than Smallwood, averaging 3.4 yards after contact per attempt last season, while forcing 74 missed tackles.
- Smallwood, in contrast, averaged only 2.7 yards after contact per attempt and forced 44 missed tackles during his last season in college.