The question is simple about a man who too often seems like the odd-man out. Does Wendell Smallwood have any shot to make the Philadelphia Eagles roster?
Write this down, and put it somewhere that you look every day. All you’re going to hear from now until the Philadelphia Eagles‘ final 53-man roster is announced is talk about who’s going to make the team and who isn’t. Take Wendell Smallwood for instance.
In some ways, it feels like he’s been around forever, but he hasn’t been. The former fifth-round draft selection went 153rd overall but saw his rookie season cut short by injury on December 12th of 2016. His sophomore season saw him share totes with a crowded Eagles backfield, and it appeared as though, for whatever reason, that he just didn’t have the full confidence of his coaches.
Maybe that wasn’t the case, but how else do you explain being limited to eight in-game appearances and 174 rushing yards on 47 attempts after racking up 77 carries and 312 yards in year one?
Sure, the additions of LeGarrette Blount and Jay Ajayi and the unexpected emergence of Corey Clement had a ton to do with that, but one year later, Blount was gone, Ajayi and Clement got hurt, and even though Smallwood filled in nicely when asked to do so, it still seemed like all Philly wanted to do was find someone else to give the rock to.
To some extent, that helped them find guys with potential (Boston Scott and Josh Adams), but here we are in year four of Smallwood’s career. What’s happened? Jordan Howard was added in free agency. Miles Sanders was taken in Round 2 of 2019’s draft, and now, a crowded Eagles backfield makes one who’s been paying attention believe Smallwood may be even further down on the depth chart now than he was a year or so ago.
Recently, he spoke on the fight he’ll be in to make the final roster via the team’s official website:
"That’s always been the case, and I expect it to remain that way. You just have to focus on doing your job the best you can every single day."
From the outside looking in, it looks like he’s done everything ‘The Birds’ have asked him to do. Then again, it also appears that Philly’s utilization of him comes when there’s no other options at the position.
Has he done enough to give himself a fair shot to make this squad or is his a story that seems to be headed to a less than desired result? The aforementioned Adams, Clement, Scott, Howard, and Sanders join Donnel Pumphrey as the other guys in this crowded picture. Who will be the cream that rises to the top?
Things are about to really get interesting.