Who will lead the Philadelphia Eagles’ potent attack on the ground?
Running backs: Miles Sanders, Kenneth Gainwell, Boston Scott, Kennedy Brooks
Miles Sanders enters his contract year after what was an interesting 2021 season. The former Penn State back averaged 5.5 yards per carry but only totaled 137 carries on the season. That was largely due to Nick Sirianni’s odd commitment to the pass early last year.
Sanders has shown the ability to hit the ‘home run’ plays and help this team moves the chains, but he needs to do a better job hitting the holes in between the tackles. It also wouldn’t hurt if he was more decisive.
The offensive coaches liked the variety of the concepts in the running game last year so it’ll be important for Sanders to show he can follow his blockers on power runs, sweeps, crunch, GT counter bash, and more.
The future is bright for Kenneth Gainwell. The swiss army knife has demonstrated the ability to find the hole on inside runs. He runs a variety of routes from the backfield or when he’s split out wide. He also keeps Hurts clean in pass protection.
If Jordan Howard does not re-sign before the season, Gainwell should be in line for a bigger workload this year. Don’t forget about Boston Scott either. He just takes advantage of every opportunity and makes a living on those inside-run concepts.
Scott might have a slight edge on Gainwell in terms of second-level acceleration. Boston will likely find himself in the mix in shotgun and under center as both a runner and pass-catcher.
The last spot could go either way. Jason Huntley’s success as a kick returner could earn him the job. He’s a pretty good runner and receiver as well; however, since the Birds already have a few versatile backs in Gainwell and Scott, they may opt for the power Kennedy Brooks brings on the inside.
According to PFF, Brooks finished in the top 20 in FBS in total yards after contact with 778 (19th). He also ranked among the top 15 backs in the country in forcing missed tackles. He forced 60 of them, which was good enough to land him at 13th.
Brooks adds breakaway ability at the second level too. During his time at Oklahoma with the Sooners, he had almost a 50-50 split in zone (235) and gap plays (230) which should bode well for him in the Eagles’ diverse run scheme.