Philadelphia Eagles training camp preview: The running backs

Corey Clement, Philadelphia Eagles
Corey Clement, Philadelphia Eagles /

There will be a lot of talk surrounding the Philadelphia Eagles’ running back situation once training camp begins. We may as well begin that talk early.

With uncertainty surrounding the Philadelphia Eagles running backs a season ago, they addressed their need in every way possible. They used the draft (Donnel Pumphrey). They added an undrafted free agent (Corey Clement). Then, there was free agency (LeGarrette Blount) and a mid-season trade (Jay Ajayi).

The Eagles went from offseason concerns to a unit that would make any offensive coordinator or running backs coach salivate. What’s amazing is this is a unit that could be even better than they were a season ago.

There’s no need to procrastinate any further. Here are our initial thoughts on what may be the best running back room in the NFL.

1. Jay Ajayi

He’s immensely talented. He’s at the top of the depth chart heading into camp, and barring catastrophe, he’s assured of a roster spot. Due to this being a contract year, however, this may be his last ride in an Eagles jersey.

2. Corey Clement

In one season, we went from discussing Clement’s chances of making the team to discussing his performance in the Super Bowl. What will he do for an encore? He, like Ajayi, is n no danger of being left off of the active roster.

3. Darren Sproles

Sproles joins Carson Wentz, Jason Peters, Jordan Hicks, and Chris Maragos in one of the biggest rallying cries in Eagles history. The champs are looking to repeat for the guys that weren’t on the field last year.

4. Wendell Smallwood

In 2017, Philly’s coaching staff repeatedly scratched Smallwood from the lineup when he was fully functional and completely capable of playing. He’ll have to have an amazing camp to overtake some other attractive candidates.

Related Story: 10 Eagles who should leave the nest after 2018

5. Josh Adams

This was an exciting prospect three months ago, but with this undying love affair the coaching staff appears to be having with Donnel Pumphrey, it seems as though Josh Adams‘ chances of making the team have lessened.

If he stands out in camp and strings together some impressive preseason performances, the Adams hype train will pick up steam again.

6. Matt Jones

Jones is a former third rounder that’s racked up 964 yards and six touchdowns on the ground while picking up 377 yards and another touchdown through the air. Unfortunately, sitting on a roster with Clement, Ajayi and all of these other Eagles standouts has forced Jones out of several conversations.

Look for him to make the most of every opportunity in camp, but it’s hard to imagine him making the active roster.

Next: Eagles training camp preview: The offensive line

7. Donnel Pumphrey

Pumphrey may end up being the most talked about of these seven guys for several reasons. One, he’s the all-time leader in rushing yards in NCAA Division I FBS history. Second, that didn’t seem to translate to the pro game a season ago. Third, despite the fact that most the fans have given up on him, the coaches don’t seem to be sharing that sentiment.

Everyone keeps asking what happens if Pumphrey doesn’t show us anything in camp, but here’s another thought. What if he does?

Keep in mind. Sproles is retiring. ‘The Birds’ may want to keep Pumphrey in the fold as a possible replacement.