The Eagles need to avoid the hybrid players and draft a true running back.
The NFL has changed in many ways in the past decade. The game has become faster paced and players have become more versatile. Wide receivers can play running back; running backs can play wide receiver. While it is exciting to have a versatile player, the Philadelphia Eagles need to avoid drafting a hybrid prospect.
There is nothing better then having a player display versatility. Take Eagles running back Darren Sproles for example. He is one of the best returners in the game right now. He can also run routes and catch while still mainly being a running back. Sproles was easily one of the best players on the roster in the past couple seasons, but it’s time for the Eagles to avoid that kind of player.
Take it back to the basics
The Eagles need a true three-down running back. While Ryan Mathews may have had his decent games, he just can’t stay healthy. So the Eagles turned to Darren Sproles at times to play as the feature back. Sproles was second in rushing on the team with 438 yards, and was also third in receiving with 427 yards.
Coach Doug Pederson’s playbook contains a lot of running plays on the inside. A power runner with decent size is necessary for this type of scheme. While Sproles did mix things up for defenses and create some confusion, the Eagles got too cute and made simple mistakes at times.
A hybrid running back is just a player who does not have a true identity on the field. Sometimes it works, most of the time it doesn’t. Ty Montgomery of the Green Bay Packers is another recent example of a receiver who plays running back. He had 77 carries for 457 yards in 2016, which isn’t bad. But there are rumors that the Packers are in a hunt for another running back. So why would the Eagles draft a back who may not even work out at either of the positions?
Who are the prospects?
Some recent mock drafts had the Eagles selecting Ohio State’s Curtis Samuel. Samuel was a very versatile player in college. In 2016, he had 865 receiving yards and 771 rushing yards. Listed as receiver in college, he enters into the 2017 draft as a running back and wide receiver hybrid.
A comparison to Huff should raise concern for sure. Not because of Huff’s off-field actions, but because of his on-field actions. In Doug Pederson’s offense, Huff had 13 receptions for 72 yards in seven games.
Aside from returning kicks, Huff did not contribute much. If Samuel brings to the table what Huff brought, he should be avoided, especially in the second round. If the Eagles do decide to draft Samuel to play as a receiver, expect Jordan Matthews to possibly be dealt to another team on draft day.
Stanford’s Christian Mccaffrey is another one of the big names coming into the draft this season. He had a huge season in 2015 that put his name on the map. He declined in 2016 but still had some nice numbers. One of the biggest issues NFL scouts saw in Mccaffrey was his size. He is 5’11”, 202 pounds. There has already been plenty of talks going around that Mccaffrey could convert into a slot wide receiver.
Mccaffrey has an impressive highlight tape. He ran some nice routes, had some big runs and even threw some touchdown passes, but the Eagles need to run a simple offense.
I’m sure Philadelphia would love a guy like Mccaffrey the way they loved Sproles, but the Eagles need to avoid the trick plays and stick with the ground and pound.