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Eagles Still Have Post-Draft Options at Running Back.

blount

Last weekend, the Eagles had several needs that had to be addressed. However, experts, such as Pro Football Hall of Fame writer Ray Didinger, feel the Eagles somewhat neglected running back.

Despite taking mighty mite Donnel Pumphrey, the Eagles needed a tailback who could: one, be able to pickup short yardage, and two, carry the ball 15-20 times a game.

Unfortunately, Pumphrey doesn’t project to be that type of player, rather, he’s more likely to assume Darren Sproles’ role as a 3rd down specialty back.

That’s the bad news. The good news for the Eagles is that there are other options available, and it wouldn’t cost them a lot in terms of draft picks and cap space.

LeGarrette Blount

One of the biggest issues last season was the Eagles’ inability to convert short-yardage downs. Part of it could be chalked up to the offensive line having to be shuffled numerous times, but also the team lacked a “3rd and 1” type of back. Ryan Mathews isn’t a power back, plus he fumbles too much. Sproles and Smallwood are scat-backs and are unable to push piles.

Enter Blount, who is one of the NFL’s best short yardage running backs. Blount had a whopping 18 touchdowns this past season and scored at least one in 13 of 16 regular season games. Since his was in a similar situation in New England, splitting touches with Dion Lewis and James White. The Eagles simply need to fork out the dough and bring him in to, at the very least, pick up short yardage. Watch as he drags more than half of the Steelers defense this year in the playoffs.

That’s not to say that he doesn’t have warts. The main issue? Blount has never scored more than seven touchdowns a season and last year was likely an anomaly. Also, the last time he signed with a non-New England team (the Steelers), he was a total malcontent and got released.

Still, he would be cheap on a one-year deal and would get plenty of opportunities to score touchdowns.

Jeremy Hill

The Bengals raised eyebrows on Day 2 of the draft when they took controversial running back Joe Mixon. Not because of Mixon’s obvious red flag, but rather the team already having two quality running backs on the roster (Jeremy Hill and Gio Bernard) and having pressing needs on their offensive line.

Hill is more likely of the two to be dealt, because he’s entering the final year of his rookie contract, while Bernard is signed through 2019. In a sense, this fits more with Roseman’s recent philosophy when it comes to making acquisitions: one year deals with cheap contracts. Most recently, he did this with Tim Jernigan, moving down 25 spots in the third round, which equates to trading a 4th round pick and a 6th round pick.

However, since Hill is somewhat expendable, the Eagles likely would only have to move a 4th round pick (which they could potentially have three of, due to the Bradford and Rowe deals), if that.

Chris Ivory

The Jaguars, unlike their fellow AFC counterpart Bengals, didn’t surprise anyone when they snagged LSU Tiger tailback Leonard Fournette. This basically makes the former Jet expendable, and the Jags would save $ 2 million in cap money if they designate him a post June 1st cut.

Ivory was ineffective with the Jaguars, missing five games and failing to break out in the remaining eleven (except against the Chiefs in early November.) However, he is a versatile back who made things happen when he was with New York, where he played behind a better offensive line. He would likely be a very cheap signing with high upside.

Mark Ingram

New Orleans surprised some people when they selected Volunteer back Alvin Kamara in the second round. Besides needing help at almost every defensive position, the team is pretty much set at running back, even adding Adrian Peterson to the mix in April.

If the Saints want to march on with AD and Kamara, Ingram could likely be had for a draft pick. He’s an underrated rusher who can pick up short yards and be an every down running back. He’s also Darren Sproles’ former teammate.

 

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