For the past few seasons, Howie Roseman and company have failed to address the need at running back with any type of long-term solution.
The Birds’ offense under Doug Pederson has always used a running back by committee approach. It worked well in 2017 with the three headed attack of Blount, Ajayi and Clement. But in 2018, this formula proved to be unsustainable without at least one consistent back.
Heading into 2019 the position is looking as unimpressive as it ever has. Both Ajayi and Sproles have expiring contracts and with both coming off injury riddled seasons, I don’t know how Roseman will prioritize them. That leaves us with Josh Adams, Corey Clement and Wendell Smallwood, and I would be shocked if all three of those guys were back next season.
Out of all the skill positions on the offense, running back clearly needs the most work. With Carson Wentz slated to be the man under center once again, an effective running game would take a tremendous amount of pressure off of him.
There are a few directions the team can go in to address the position. The first name that most people jump to is Le’Veon Bell, and while I would love to see a talent like Bell lineup behind Wentz, it’s not going to happen. He’s going to cost too much for the Eagles to afford and Howie’s track record would tell us that signing a back to big money just isn’t his style.
There’s always the possibility of bringing in Kareem Hunt, who may be just as talented as Bell, but whichever team signs him will get berated by the media, and I don’t think the Eagles want any parts of that. Not to mention the Eagles are a high-class organization, and going after a guy with a track record like Hunt’s just wouldn’t fit their culture.
If the Eagles were to take the free agency route, I would like to see them target someone like Tevin Coleman or T.J. Yeldon. Coleman is the more proven back of the two, but both would fit in the Eagles offense perfectly. They’re both versatile backs who can catch the ball out of the backfield and they both can run between the tackles if need be.
Another interesting name to keep an eye on is C.J. Anderson. He’ll be 28 next season and is on the downside of his career, but he proved in last week’s divisional weekend that he can still be an effective power back in a two-man backfield. He would be relatively cheap too, so I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Howie decided to bring him in on an affordable deal.
The Eagles could also just wait until draft day to fill their need at RB, and I think that’s probably the most likely scenario. I doubt they’d take one in the first round, but with two second rounders I could see them spending one on a running back. There isn’t a lot of top-end talent in this year’s draft, so most of the prospects will still be available when the team selects in the second round. Some names to look out for are Josh Jacobs (Alabama), Damien Harris (Alabama), David Montgomery (Iowa State), Justice Hill (Oklahoma St.), Miles Sanders (PSU), Benny Snell Jr. (Kentucky), and Elijah Holyfield (Georgia). All of these guys are projected to be second or third round picks.
It’ not clear yet which avenue the Eagles will take in filling their need at running back. But the need is paramount, and I’m sure Howie will address it accordingly.