By Michael McCafferty
The Eagles will report for training camp on Wednesday, July 24 and the first fill full team practice will be on Thursday, July 25. Going into this year’s camp, the Eagles will have seven running backs on the roster. Those seven running backs are Jordan Howard, Corey Clement, Miles Sanders, Wendell Smallwood, Boston Scott, and Donnel Pumphrey. Three of those seven backs are locks to make the roster (Howard, Clement, and Sanders); while the other four backs fight for the final two running back spots on the roster. Of the four remaining backs fighting for the last two running back spots on the roster, which two will claim the final two spots?
Wendell Smallwood was a 5th round draft of the Eagles in 2016, and while his touches have not been that high, he has shown some promise in his limited roles since being drafted. The team signed Josh Adams as an undrafted free agent in 2018. He initially started on the team’s practice squad but eventually made the 53-man roster due to injuries. Adams even became a starter for the Eagles but his playing time slowed due to fumble issues, getting stopped on short yardage plays and an injured shoulder. Both players showed a lot of promise and upside last year when the team needed to lean on them in time of need. Going into camp, these two running backs are favorite to be the final two backs on the team because Smallwood has been around and knows the system; while Adams is young and a big powerful, strong back.
The next two backs fighting for the final two spots are Boston Scott and Donnel Pumphrey, and they face an uphill battle to make the squad. Scott, who was initially drafted by the Saints in the 6th round of the 2018 draft; was signed to the Eagles practice squad on December 10, 2018. The Eagles are looking for their next Darren Sproles; a quick little versatile running back who can run, catch and return kicks. From watching some video of his college days and his offseason workouts Scott looks like he could be the Eagles next Darren Sproles. Donnel Pumphrey is the longest shot to make the Eagles team at all. The Eagles initially drafted him in the 4th round of the 2017 draft. Since coming into the league, he has not done much at all and has already been on two different teams; the Eagles, Lions and then back to the Eagles. Out of these two backs, Scott has the best chance to make the team.
So when it all comes down to business which of these four running backs will be the final two backs on the team. Donnel Pumphrey will be the first running back cut at the end of camp, and that is because he is not an NFL running back. This brings the race down to three running backs and the final two running backs to make the Eagles final 53-man roster will be Wendell Smallwood and Boston Scott. Scott will most likely be used as the primary kick and punter returner, while Smallwood will be the short return guy on kickoffs and an emergency running back if a Howard, Clement, or Sanders get hurt during the game. Smallwood and Scott will mostly be used on special teams. Josh Adams will be the last back to get cut, but the Eagles have a good chance of him clearing waivers and then signing him to their practice squad. The Eagles five running backs to make the final roster will be Jordan Howard, Corey Clement, Miles Sanders, Wendell Smallwood, and Boston Scott.