Look out for Philly's Workhorse!
Philadelphia Eagles GM Howie Roseman traded up in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft for back Miles Sanders, 53rd overall. Besides leaving us to debate Head Coach Doug Pederson and RB coach Duce Staley's RBBC approach, we can also glean parallels to the past.
In 2009 with Andy Reid as Head Coach of the Eagles, LeSean McCoy was drafted in the second round, - you guessed it, 53rd overall! - in turn, cementing their backfield for years to come. I know Andy Reid's coaching tree is bigger than he was in that pass, punt, and kick contest when he was 13 years old, but Doug Pederson was on the staff for the Shady selection. In 2018, Pederson joined John Harbaugh as the second Andy Reid branch to win a title.
This Eagles staff carries preconceptions like a pigeon carrying a message. They run a Running Back by Committee system. Their front office does not value the position highly. Their current front office doesn't spend high draft capital on RBs... Like the pigeon carrying a message – these preconceptions are no longer en vogue.
Sanders’ selection marks the heaviest investment Howie Roseman has ever made at running back in his 9-year tenure. Outside of Jay Ajayi, who, once eased into the offense, helped them win a Superbowl, Coach Doug Pederson has had a less than stellar group the likes of Josh Adams, Wendell Smallwood, LeGarrette Blount, or Corey Clement at his disposal.
Running backs coach Duce Staley is allegedly behind the big RBBC conspiracy, and Duce does hold weight. In his position, he dates back to 2010, and even interviewed against Doug Pederson for the Head Coaching job. Contrary to the popular narrative, Duce Staley gave ample opportunity to Ryan Matthews and attempted to do so with Demarco Murray (I know, I know). He also rode the Shady Lane Train for years. Given the weapon, he's shown the proclivity to use it.
The weapon: Miles Sanders. While living in the shadow of an all-time collegiate prospect, Saquon Barkley, not unlike his fantasy stock, Sanders remained under the radar. Penn State’s offense lost little on the ground when Saquon left, thanks to four star recruit Miles Sanders. With 220 carries for 1274 yards in his last season at PSU, he mirrored Saquon's final season of 217 carries for 1271 yards. Sanders even bested Saquon’s career YPC.
It wasn't until the illustrious Combine that Miles Sanders burst onto the scene for most. He tested as a 77th percentile athlete. Sanders tested in the top 25th percentile in every drill and metric outside of the bench press (20 reps). Miles Sanders acclimated to a power five conference last year, staying healthy all season. This shows that at 5'11 and 211 Lbs, now in a solid organization with the NFL gym and all the amenities, I believe he can be a high volume back, teetering on workhorse.
PFF ranked the Eagles’ Offensive line 5th in 2018. They're as deep as they are formidable. Three of their Linemen graded in the top 5 at their position, including Jason Kelce being crowned the top Center in the NFL. Hall of Famer Jason Peters was surprisingly their weak link, but moving ahead of the tackle desperate Texans, Howie Roseman drafted stud left tackle Andre Dillard (That GM knows what he's doing eh!?!).
I'm taking Miles Sanders ahead of David Montgomery, and frankly over Josh Jacobs in rookie drafts. He's being taken in the 5th-8th round in Best Ball drafts (By me!!). I see him elevating a round per month- he will be that player this season. One whose draft capital in September far exceeds what it is in May.
If Miles Sanders cleans up his fumbles, he beats out Jordan Howard as easily as Dalvin Cook and Nick Chubb beat out Murray and Hyde recently. I see Miles Sanders as the aforementioned LeSean McCoy to Howard’s 2010 Brian Westbrook. He will have some touchdowns vultured by Howard, but high leverage plays should feature Sanders. I don't see the Philly special being run with Jordan Howard in the package, if you catch my goal line drift. I’m drafting Sanders as a Top 3 pick in Dynasty Rookie drafts and anywhere between the 5th and 8th in Best Ball. You should too!