2017 Philadelphia Eagles Draft Prospects: Running Back James Conner

Taking a look at some of the Philadelphia Eagles options for the NFL Draft, today we look at Pittsburgh running back James Conner.

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Nov 26, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers running back James Conner (24) leaves the field after defeating the Syracuse Orange at Heinz Field. PITT won 76-61. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Continuing our our pre-draft series, we continue to take a look at players the Philadelphia Eagles may consider selecting at some point during the 2017 NFL Draft. While these players may not all be first round quality, this series will look at players across all the rounds that the Philadelphia Eagles could select during the draft process.

Moving on from the potential day two selection of safety Marcus Maye, today, we take a look at a player that could end up being a day three pick for the Eagles. In need of help and consistency at the running back position, Philadelphia could give the University of Pittsburgh another try and select running back James Conner.


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Background

One of the best stories not just in football but across all of sports in the last few years, James Conner is someone that you just want to pull for. Overcoming Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Conner fought his way back onto the field and has seen his cancer go into remission. Earning many awards because of it, the biggest recognition for Conner may have been when he was to the All-AAC First Team.

Recording over 1,000 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns this past season, Conner proved to many that he had not lost a step and was still an extremely talented running back. Given more time to continue to re-develop himself and get back to business, Conner could be one of the biggest sleeper picks in the entire draft process.

Strengths

A team captain for the Panthers and also became known for his mental toughness following his cancer diagnoses. Has added more muscle in the past few months. Carries his momentum through potential tacklers and must be met head on to be brought down. Drops shoulder to punish the man that does eventually bring him down.

Creates running lane through his own brute force. Possesses much natural power in the lower half of his body. Downhill runner that can create his own lanes. Excellent balance skills when he takes hits. Can move the chains on third down and be used heavily in goal line situations. Willing to sacrifice his own body in order to gain an extra yard or two.

Weakness

Needs a lot of perfect blocking help to get around corners and run outside of the tackles. Struggles to run away from tacklers, tries to do to much and get too fancy. Lacks quickness in the open field to escape and evade potential tacklers. Stiff hips and heavy legs make changes of direction an adventure.

A power back who has zero finesse ability. Not an every down back. Only possesses average lateral movement and will not be someone that you can count on to bust the ball to the outside. Stiff hands makes him struggle in the passing game. Medical concerns with his cancer and also struggles as an overall blocker.

Highlight Reel

READ MORE: Philly has just five main first round draft targets

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