While the Eagles don’t necessarily have a need to add anymore running backs — especially after the Jordan Howard signing — fans shouldn’t be surprised if Howie Roseman pulls the trigger on a back in the later rounds of the upcoming NFL Draft.
Howard is only one a one-year deal, and he’s probably not even a lock to make the final roster after training camp. Miles Sander has Pro Bowl potential and Boston Scott is a nice receiving threat out of the backfield, but adding another young back who can relieve Sanders or Scott throughout games would be welcomed.
Based on Nick Sirianni’s track record as the offensive coordinator in Indianapolis, we know he liked to use a variety of backs for different situations throughout games.
Here are three backs to keep an eye on once we get into day three of this year’s NFL Draft.
Demetric Felton, UCLA
UCLA’s Demetric Felton is the Antonio Gibson of this year’s NFL Draft — a running back/slot receiver hybrid who will cause matchup nightmares for opposing defenses.
Standing at 5’10”, 200 pounds, Felton is built more like a halfback than a receiver, but his quickness serves him well on route running. He put on a clinic during one-on-one drills at this year’s Senior Bowl.
As a ball carrier, Felton displays great instinct and awareness when reading his blocks. He’s a patient runner who knows exactly when to make the cut and burst into the open field.
In 2019, Felton was utilized mostly in a receiving role, amassing 55 receptions for 594 yards and four touchdowns. The following year, he showcased his ability as a pure running back, racking up 668 yards on the ground and five touchdowns. If the team that drafts Felton wants to start him in the slot, he’d be productive. If they wanted to use him as a third down back, he’d be productive.
While I like Scott as a receiving back (Sanders is a solid receiver out of the backfield, too), Felton is a much more polished route runner and would be more effective than either of them lined up out wide or in the slot.
If he’s sitting there in the fifth or sixth round, I wouldn’t be shocked if Howie decided to draft him.
Chris Evans, Michigan
Evans is a downhill runner who runs with great pad level. He also has nice hands out of the backfield. He’s not a speedster by any means, but he showcases exceptional shiftiness for a guy of his size (5’11”, 216).
His statistical peak came as true freshman at Michigan, as he racked up 614 yards on just 88 carries, which is an average of seven yards per carry. Not to mention he broke 28 tackles in the process. For some reason or another, he never lived up to the promise he displayed during his freshman campaign. And after being suspended for the entirety of the 2019 season due to academic reasons, he only totaled 27 touches in his final season as a Wolverine.
Despite his lack of production, Evans showcased enough intrigue as a receiver at the Senior Bowl to warrants a day three selection.
Possessing the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, Evans could be utilized on any down. Evans would add nice of change-of-pace runner to the Eagles backfield.
Trey Sermon, Ohio State
The most recognizable name on this list due to his time playing in the College Football Playoff this past season, Ohio State’s Trey Sermon is the exact type of back the Eagles should be looking to add to their backfield. Tremendous contact balance with the ability to cut on a dime, Sermon would bring an element of power to a backfield that could use it.
He’s not going to transform the Eagles rushing attack, but his running style would be nice complement to Sanders and Scott. Guys just melt off him when attempting to bring him down.
Sermon is a bit tall for a running back, standing at 6’1”, and he doesn’t do a great job of staying low. But like I said, his contact balance makes up for that. He’s shifty enough to make up for his lack of break away speed, and while he was never utilized in a receiving role during his collegiate career, he’s a capable receiver when he’s called upon.
If he’s sitting their in the fifth round or later, Sermon would be a welcomed addition to this Eagles backfield.
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