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Meet The Eagles’ Brand-New Running Back

The Philadelphia Eagles officially announced on Friday that they have signed former Oklahoma running back Kennedy Brooks as an undrafted free agent. Brooks was highly productive in college and could be another crafty addition by GM Howie Roseman, in what has been an outstanding 2022 NFL Offseason for the franchise.

So just how good was Brooks in college? What are his strengths and weaknesses? And where does he fit in on the Eagles’ roster?

Let’s dig a bit deeper and learn more about the Eagles’ newest running back.

College Career

Following a prolific high school career at Mansfield High School, where he rushed for 7,658 yards and 96 touchdowns, good enough for the Landry Award. Brooks redshirted his freshman year at Oklahoma in 2017 while recovering from a high school shoulder injury.

However, he bounced back for a highly productive 2018 season, in which he was named a Freshman All-American. He rushed for 1,056 yards on just 119 carries for an incredible 8.9 yards per carry, along with 12 touchdowns.

His sophomore year was nearly as productive, as he was named Second-Team All-Big 12 while leading the conference at 6.5 yards per carry (ninth in the nation). He finished the 2019 season with 155 carries for 1,011 yards and six touchdowns.

Brooks opted to sit out the 2020 season due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic but bounced back for a great senior year in 2021 after opting to return to school rather than enter the NFL draft. He finished the 2021 season with 1,253 yards on 198 carries at 6.3 yards per carry, along with 13 touchdowns on the ground. He also earned the Alamo Bowl Offensive MVP Award after rushing for 142 yards and three touchdowns in Oklahoma’s win over Oregon.

Despite his productivity, the decision to return to school did not boost his draft position, as he slipped through all seven rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft unpicked.

What Does The Newest Running Back Bring To The Table?

Brooks has relatively average athleticism, running a 4.59 40-yard dash and showing an overall lack of explosiveness during his college career. According to his NFL.com draft profile, scouts were impressed with his durability and toughness he showed despite starting his college career recovering from an injury. However, he was not viewed as a “home-run hitter” or a particularly physical finisher.

Unlike the speedier, more experienced backs on the Eagles’ depth chart, he brings very little to the table in the passing game. He isn’t a great blocker and only caught 29 passes in college while being prone to dropping even simple backfield passes.

Despite the holes in his game, Brooks does have the opportunity to seize a key role in this offense. At 5’11” and 215 lbs., he has the chance to replace the still unsigned Jordan Howard as the “power back” (relatively speaking) in the team’s stable of backs.

Starter Miles Sanders and current backups Boston Scott and Jason Huntley are all smaller backs who rely on a more finesse game. Howard, at 6’0″ and 224 lbs., carved out a major niche in the Eagles’ league-leading rushing offense in 2021 as the power back in the room, racking up 406 yards and three touchdowns on the ground in seven games.

With his durability and toughness, Brooks could easily slide into the role held by Howard last season. Brooks is a tempo runner who could claim a decent percentage of first- and second-down carries, though his lack of explosiveness and skill as a receiver would likely take him out of any third-down packages.

In Conclusion

Kennedy Brooks is well worth the opportunity the Eagles have provided him. He was exceptionally durable and consistent during his college career, despite his average athleticism. Brooks, at minimum, is a solid depth piece in the Eagles’ running back-by-committee system.

Kudos to Howie Roseman for another smart acquisition.

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