The Philadelphia Eagles have upgraded their backfield ahead of the 2019 season with Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders.
Last season, the Philadelphia Eagles weren’t the best backfield in the NFL. As a matter of fact, they weren’t even close to being the best backfield in the NFC East. They went from being the second-best backfield in the NFL during the 2017 season to being one of the worst the following years. Granted, injuries did a play a critical part to that, but it didn’t take an expert to see the difference between the two when the 2018 season wrapped up.
This year, the Eagles recognized the issues and did all they could to upgrade the unit. It started by making a trade with the Chicago Bears in order to acquire Jordan Howard. Then, the Eagles decided to use the first of their second-round picks to draft Penn State’s, Miles Sanders.
Though the Eagles won’t have Jay Ajayi or Darren Sproles anymore, they do still have a few returning pieces from the previous year. Corey Clement will return to his 2017 role as the third back on the depth chart. Then Boston Scott, Wendell Smallwood, and Josh Adams will fight for the fourth space on the depth chart. And suddenly, their key contributors from last season become depth pieces who are fighting for a roster spot — quite the turnaround.
So with Howard entering the fourth season of his career in Philly, just how important will he be? NJ.com’s Zack Rosenblatt went into details explaining Howard’s importance while ranking him as the 20th most important Eagles player heading into the 2019 NFL season.
What to expect
"“Howard has the third-most rushing yards in the NFL over the last three seasons. The Eagles haven’t had a running back with that level of productivity since the prime years of LeSean McCoy. Howard might not be quite the player he looked like his first two years, but he’s a talented short-yardage back who will be needed to bring some stability to a position that had none of it last season” “Now, the Eagles used a second-round pick on Miles Sanders, so odds are Howard doesn’t stick around Philadelphia long-term. But it would still be surprising, at this stage, if Howard didn’t carry the ball more than anyone else with the Eagles this season, including Sanders.”“If he can actually show some signs of being even an average pass-catcher — he received a lot of pass-catching reps in minicamp — that would be a major boon to the Eagles’ offense.”"
While we don’t know exactly what the Eagles have in Sanders quite yet, we’ve seen enough from Jordan Howard to know what to expect. With Howard, the Eagles have a reliable power runner, who will help them in short yardage situations. In addition to short yardage runs, Howard is also an excellent pass blocker.
Both of those categories created struggles for the Eagles offense last season. Howard will most definitely be an upgrade, but he still has question marks around his game. Fortunately, the Eagles are instilling confidence in Howard by allowing him to do things he wasn’t asked to do in Chicago. Whether he thrives or not will remain to be seen.