Wendell Smallwood sitting could jeopardize his chances at a roster spot

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 13: Wendell Smallwood
PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 13: Wendell Smallwood /

Eagles running back, Wendell Smallwood is sitting out due to a hamstring injury.

As Philadelphia Eagles running back Wendell Smallwood heads into his second year, he’s facing an uphill battle for a roster spot on the team. His position on the team was pretty much a lock in his rookie season after he was the Eagles fifth-round draft choice. After an underwhelming first season and after several additions have been made to a crowded Eagles backfield, Smallwood faces the biggest challenge of his career yet.

For the first two weeks of training camp, the Eagles had Smallwood buried in the back of the depth chart. Former New England Patriots running back, LeGarrette Blount was given first-team reps. Darren Sproles got second-team reps. You would think that Smallwood would at least have the third position locked up, but that wasn’t the case.

Who is involved in the competition?

Surprisingly, Eagles fourth-round draft pick Donnel Pumphrey and undrafted free-agent Corey Clement have been getting plenty of opportunities. Although Clement’s chances of making the team are a long shot, nobody should rule it out. Smallwood has been unproven so far in his career.

Philadelphia Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles /

Philadelphia Eagles

A rocky start:

The truth is Smallwood hardly contributed at all in his rookie season. He finished with 312 yards and a touchdown on of 77 attempts. He had an injury prone Ryan Mathews ahead of him. Still, once Mathews went down, Smallwood struggled to earn the majority of the team’s carries. It also didn’t help that he missed three games due to injury.

The injury bug:

Similar to Mathews, Smallwood’s been banged up with injuries quite often in his short time with the Eagles. His trend of racking up bumps and bruises has continued into his second season. The Eagles are heading into their first preseason game, and Smallwood is sitting out of practice due to a hamstring injury. This couldn’t have come at a more inconvenient time for the second-year veteran.  Pumphrey’s returning to practice from an ankle injury. He figures to share reps with the undrafted Clement. That means Smallwood will be watching from the sideline.

Next: Tim McManus isn’t so sure Jordan Matthews won’t be traded

The severity of Smallwood’s injury is unknown, but any amount of time that he misses could put his roster spot in jeopardy. The timing of this injury is very unfortunate as he’s coming off of a strong week in practice. Also, the Eagles are heading into week one of the preseason. Smallwood’s play could be the most important part of showcasing his improvement from a season ago. Unfortunately, if he’s sitting out, someone else on the roster could prove to be more valuable to the future of the Eagles’ backfield.