THE news that we’d re-signed RB Corey Clement was a breath of fresh air. Many fans may have felt that the Eagles were already fine with RB’s Miles Sanders, and Boston Scott. I on the other hand, wrote in my Pre-Draft Preview, that real depth was a big concern.
Sanders is the lead dog here. There’s no question about that. While the Eagles may include some RB-by-committee aspects, you can expect 66 to 70% of the RB carries to go to Sanders. Other RB’s will get a nibble here and two nibbles there. Which is fine. The issue before Clement signed was, what happens if Sanders goes down with an injury?
Everyone remembers Scott’s crazy three touchdown game vs the giants last year. More specifically, they seem to only remember the touchdowns. That day he had 19 carries for just 54 yards, averaged 2.8 per tote. We saw during extensive work, that while he works well in space, his body type (5’6, 203) isn’t suited to a major workload, over multiple games.
Clement (5’10, 220) has the body type, the skill set, scheme familiarity, and the explosiveness to step into that role, and be an every down RB, if needed. Honestly, if not for his injury history, the Eagles might have a hard time holding onto him. At this point he’s still 25, and a couple of healthy years could earn him at least one big contract in his career. We just have to see if he can earn the money. But Sanders, Clement and Scott sound nice, right? Not so fast.
While I still am, and have always been, a huge Clement booster, the Eagles would be remiss not to bring in a veteran. We need a veteran presence in this young group. The veteran names I keep reading about, are RB’s LeSean McCoy, Carlos Hyde, and Devonta Freeman. I’m good with McCoy and Hyde, but I’m a lot less bullish on Freeman. A lot less.
This isn’t to count out RB’s Elijah Holyfield, and free agent rookie Mike Warren. Both are “angry” runners and we need a guy who can bang inside. In fact, my ideal depth chart has us keeping 4 RB’s: Sanders, Clement, (speculatively) McCoy, and Warren (in a coin flip). That’s four credible load carriers, all of whom are a problem when they catch a Screen pass. Yes, even the rookie. (Did you not see him on my Wish List this year?)
I’d squirrel away undrafted rookie Adrian Killins (5’8, 164), on the Practice Squad. Killins travels faster than gossip, so the idea would be to develop him more as a returner, and see if he could transition to WR. That said, he has no business picking up blitzing LB’s, or running between the Tackles. Holyfield would also find a spot here as the true RB in reserve.
But what about Boston Scott? How do we cut a guy who performed the way he did at the end of 2019? The simple answer is to keep five RB’s, which the Eagles won’t do. The other answer is to not have a real veteran presence. How key was a veteran presence at RB in 2017? Nobody can get you there, like somebody who’s been there. And of course we need someone who can bang.
In any case, the signing of Clement puts the Eagles in the driver’s seat in terms of what kind of options they wish to pursue. With the signing of one guy we just turned an area of worry into an area of strength. And you remember what happened the last time he stayed healthy, right?