The Philadelphia Eagles found a stud in the fifth round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
These days, the likelihood of finding a stud running back later in the draft than you’d expect or deep into the offseason while fishing in the free-agency pool is extremely likely. Keep in mind the fact that the Tennessee Titans didn’t take the game’s best running back, Derrick Henry until Round 2 in 2016 (and he was the fourth player that they took overall).
From the Philadelphia Eagles perspective try and look at it this way. LeGarrette Blount was one of the heroes of their 2017-2018 Super Bowl run, and Philly didn’t pick him up until May 17th of 2017. The first few rushes of the free agency frenzy and that year’s NFL Draft were already over. Then, they got another of their better running backs and key contributors, Jay Ajayi, at the trade deadline.
More often than not, teams just aren’t willing to invest tons of dollars in veterans at the position or use high draft picks on rookies. More and more often, teams are finding guys later in the draft than you’d expect to.
Enter Kenneth Gainwell, a five-foot-nine, 200-pound 2019 First-team All-AAC nod that tallied 1,550 rushing yards on 231 rushes in 2020 (he notched an astounding 22.8 yards-per-rush average and a touchdown in 2019 on four carries). Add that to the 610 receiving yards and three additional scores he racked up in 2020 on 51 receptions, and you can see why guys are rightfully excited about his potential.
The Philadelphia Eagles have finally found that compliment for Miles Sanders that they’ve been looking for. This young man was a steal in Round 5.