PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Donnel Pumphrey is probably not an NFL player right now but the Philadelphia Eagles are convinced he will be in the future.

A poor preseason in which the rookie fourth-round pick was outplayed by undrafted free agent Corey Clement and Byron Marshall, who was released Saturday, did not dissuade that belief in the man who traded up to get the San Diego State product, Howie Roseman.

"We're in a unique industry where there's really no patience," the Eagles executive vice president of football operations said.

So despite averaging less than 2.0 yards-per-rush over 26 carries in the preseason and struggling to get his bearings as a returner, Pumphrey is on Philadelphia's 53-man roster, at least for now.

"We trust our evaluations and our scouts. And we want to give guys time that we believe in," Roseman explained.

An NFL source claims the Eagles -- like a lot of teams -- were enamored with Carolina's Christian McCaffrey back in April and were hoping against hope that the Stanford product would be there at No. 14 overall. When that dream died, Philadelphia went looking for a poor man's version of McCaffrey, a player who looks like a matchup nightmare, a RB who runs pass routes like a receiver.

To that end the Eagles spent much of the spring using Pumphrey as a receiver, both in the slot and outside the numbers in addition to his work as a RB, even coming up with a "21 Pony" formation in an effort to get the rookie and Darren Sproles on the field at the same time.

"You know, it's funny, because as you go through the whole off-season with him -- and he's a guy that was getting first-string reps and everyone was talking about how excited they were on him," Roseman said. "We spent a lot of time scouting this running back class, scouting him in particular, and he's got a body of work."

He does have a body of work in college at the NCAA's leading rusher but he doesn't have an NFL body at 5-foot-9 and less than 180 pounds and when the pads came on Pumphrey steadily regressed.

Perhaps a redshirt year changes that and that's what the Eagles are banking on.

"There's no other industry where you take a guy out of college and if they don't look exactly like you're hoping a month in, you just look to dump them," Roseman insisted. "We want to develop our players."

-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at jmcmullen44@gmail.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen