While the Philadelphia Eagles were bulldozing their way through the 2017 NFL season en route to the Vince Lombardi Trophy, Kennedy Brooks was enduring a different set of circumstances. A shoulder injury forced him to redshirt and sit out of what should have been his freshman season.
A Landry Award winner, an honor given to the top high school football player in North Texas, Brooks’ first season was now about rehab and refocusing. Boy, did he ever.
In 2018, he racked up 1,056 yards on 119 carries (yes, that’s an 8.9 yards-per-carry average) and reached the end zone 12 times. Sure, we’re talking about the Oklahoma Sooners and the Big 12 Conference, a collective of football programs that have, at times, appeared to be allergic to playing defense, but 8.9 yards per carry is still impressive.
The 2019 and 2021 seasons yielded 1,011 yards/six touchdowns and 1,253 yards/13 TDs respectively. He sat out of the 2020 campaign due to COVID-19 concerns, which is understandable, and after seven rounds of the most recent NFL Draft passed without him hearing his name called, the Birds came knocking, adding him to their most recent class of undrafted rookies.
Don’t be surprised when you’re hearing his name a lot, and don’t be shocked if he catapults himself onto the 53-man roster. Here are three reasons why he could do so.
1. Brooks brings a unique skill set to the Eagles’ offense
Philly enters their next training camp with five running backs on the roster: Brooks, Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, Kenneth Gainwell, and Jason Huntley. Take Brooks out of that mix, and you have four guys that bring similar skill sets to the Eagles’ roster. Reinsert Brooks, and he gives Philly’s offense an added dimension, much as Jordan Howard did.
He can churn out yards on the ground late to salt away victories. He can also pick up the tough yards in the red zone and on third and fourth down.
2. This current Eagles regime isn’t loyal to Jason Huntley.
Jason Huntley will be the fourth man on the depth chart when camp gets underway, and even though theories suggest the Eagles will carry three running backs on the 53-man regular-season roster, four sounds like a better number.
There are no guarantees right now that Huntley is a better player than Brooks, but here’s something else that isn’t getting mentioned a lot. Huntley was brought in by the Doug Pederson regime. The current Eagles coaching staff doesn’t carry the same loyalty to him.
3. Guaranteed money often tells you a lot.
If you want to know how much teams value guys, look at the amount of guaranteed money they’re getting. That wasn’t something that we always discussed with rookie undrafted free agents, but we live in a different time now.
Brooks got $240,000 in guaranteed dollars from Philly, and according to Spotrac, his deal pays him $2,570,000 over a three-year span. That’s less than they would have to pay Jordan Howard, and with the knowledge that Howard will never be able to play a full 17-game schedule with his running style, going with the younger guy might be just what the doctor ordered.