It’s amazing how things can change. Starting the week with one of the weakest and most inconsistent backfields in all of the NFL, the Philadelphia Eagles will end the week with a top five NFL backfield. Signing former Patriots back LeGarrette Blount, the Eagles have finally added the goal line threat that it needs and the perfect player to replace Ryan Mathews.
With Mathews not on the way out of Philadelphia, it will be interesting to see how the Eagles handle their rushing attack in 2016. While Blount has the ability to be a workhorse if needed, he is more of a goal-to-go threat and a player that you put in the game to help earn those tough yards all over the field. Banking on him to be this player, I would be surprised if he became an every down runner for the Eagles.
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That job should fall onto the shoulder of Wendell Smallwood. Considering his small stature, Smallwood has the ability to be a solid running back but not the size to break through tackles on short yardage plays. Making him the first down runner and giving him a reprieve on those short yardage plays should also help extend Smallwood’s productiveness this season.
Of course, the third prong of the Eagles backfield attack will come in the form of Darren Sproles. Still a lightning bug in every sense of the word, Sproles is the passing down/change of pace back that the team loves. Expect him to hold a similar role to what he had in the past few seasons with the team.
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However, while Blount’s arrival is good news for the success of the Eagles offense in 2017, his signing will likely bring with it bad news for two players. With Ryan Mathews likely to be cut even before Blount’s arrival, he may as well begin his search for a new team now. I would expect him to be cut in the coming days so that Philadelphia can open up a bit of cap space.
The other player to feel the full effect of Blount’s arrival is undrafted free agent Corey Clement. Signing with the Eagles, Clement was seen as a potential third down option for Philly. However, now that Blount has that role, Clements time with the Eagles could be cut short with his roster spot now likely taken up by Blount.