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Can The Philadelphia Eagles New Running Back Room Be Better Than Ever In 2023?

Updated: Jun 30, 2023

The Philadelphia Eagles roster changed quite a bit since their Super Bowl 57 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs just three months ago. One of the position groups that has changed significantly is running back. Four-year starter Miles Sanders signed with the Carolina Panthers as a free agent after a career-best 2022 season. With this void to fill, the Eagles added two veteran pieces while retaining a couple of playmakers in the backfield. Can this new-look running back room be better than ever?

The Philadelphia Eagles Focused On Versatility

In 2022, Eagles players did a lot of damage on the ground. Philly’s running backs combined with quarterback Jalen Hurts’ running abilities accounted for over 2,500 rushing yards, which was fifth most in the league. Miles Sanders was the workhorse of the group rushing for nearly 1,300 yards. However, the Eagles’ lead back was rarely a pass catching threat. His 78 receiving yards was a career low, which limited the potential of the offense.

The two veteran players the Eagles brought in are versatile backs that can pound the rock and catch the ball out of the backfield. Former Seattle Seahawk and San Diego State star Rashaad Penny was added in free agency. Penny has struggled to stay healthy but can put up big numbers when he is on the field. In five seasons, he averaged 5.7 yards per carry and 8.2 yards per reception. His best year was in 2021 where he rushed for nearly 750 yards in ten games.

D’Andre Swift is the latest addition to Philly’s offense. The Eagles gave up a 2025 fourth-round pick to the Detroit Lions to bring in the former hometown star who attended Georgia to play his college football. Swift has also struggled to play an entire season but appeared in at least 13 games in each of his three years in the NFL. He’s another dual threat back that has amassed nearly 1,700 rushing yards and 1,200 receiving yards since entering the league. At just 24 years old and entering his fourth season, Philadelphia could be getting a running back entering his prime.


The Other Backs On The Roster

While Penny and Swift are likely the two guys fans will see the most often, the Eagles retained several familiar faces. Boston Scott, Kenneth Gainwell, and Trey Sermon are still on the roster. Scott and Gainwell both had over 200 yards last season and took more prominent roles during the postseason when Sanders struggled. With four backs likely ahead of him, Trey Sermon will be fighting for a roster spot this season. The former Oklahoma Sooner and San Francisco 49ers draft pick in 2021 appeared in just two games in 2022 for the Eagles.

Though the Eagles don’t have a household name at running back, they have a good mix of veteran and younger players. Most importantly, they have depth at the position. When the games and season get long, or if a player goes down with an injury, there will be a number of backs that could be worked into the game plan.

In Closing

It’s tough to say how successful this group could be. It will all come down to the offensive line and quarterback Jalen Hurts staying healthy. Investing in several cheaper backs is an interesting strategy especially when the Eagles were considering re-signing Miles Sanders or drafting his replacement. The team did neither, but is banking on the fact that a pricey running back doesn’t necessarily mean better.

Overall, the additions of Rashaad Penny and D’Andre Swift give the offense a chance to be even more potent than 2022. Both players along with Hurts’ running abilities should make it very difficult for opposing defenses to defend. Additionally, the Eagles still have an elite wide receiver duo with A.J Brown and DeVonta Smith along with tight end Dallas Goedert.

 

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