The Eagles have a backfield duo of Miles Sanders and Boston Scott that they have a lot of belief in, but they would be smart to add a downhill thumper to their committee to fill the Blount/Howard role.
It’s unlikely that they’ll use one of their first two picks on the position, but here are three mid-round prospects who would fit right in:
Michael Warren II, Cincinnati
Warren has amassed 2,594 yards and 33 TDs over the past two seasons at Cincinnati. He’s not a high-upside prospect but he’ll fit neatly into the Eagles backfield as a north-south power back.
He’s a tough runner with good contact balance and a thick lower half that allows him to churn through arm tackles. He has impressive quickness in his feet that allows him to be more dynamic in short areas than your typical power back.
He’s a capable pass catcher who can run basic routes, but his struggles in pass protection will likely keep him off the field on third down—but that’s not really a problem for your short-yardage back.
Joshua Kelley, UCLA
Kelley is a physical runner who gets downhill fast and runs well behind his pads. He has the sort of thick lower half that allows him to easily absorb contact, and he’s constantly falling forward to finish his runs.
Kelley played for former Eagles coach Chip Kelly at UCLA and he’s the exact type of back we know Kelly prefers—no-nonsense north-to-south. Despite playing in a generally bad offense and having a weak offensive line, he was still able to produce, eclipsing 1,000 yards rushing and 12 TDs in each of the past two years.
Kelley won’t necessarily stand out on tape, but he’s a high effort runner who knows how to find tough yards inside—the Eagles could really use a guy like him.
AJ Dillon, Boston College
Dillon is likely a familiar name to Eagles fans who have been following the pre-draft process. He’s a 240 pound power back who proved at the combine that it would be a mistake to pigeon hole him in short yardage situations. A 4.53-40 time and a 41 inch vertical is proof of his plus-athleticism.
Dillon is a fluid runner for someone his size and he took on a massive workload at BC. He has good vision to anticipate running lanes and is developed in pass protection. He’s currently flying up Draft boards, and if he didn’t have so much mileage on his legs (845 carries in three seasons is really concerning) then he’d be a top-60 pick in all likelihood.
He’s being projected as a third rounder at this point, and if he can be had at 127 the Eagles should pull the trigger—though his availability at that range grows more unlikely by the day.