Eagles Trade up to take Undersized RB Donnel Pumphrey
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - The Eagles moved up seven spots in the fourth round to get some competition at the running back position in the form of San Diego State star Donnel Pumphrey.
The Eagles, who snared North Carolina receiver Mack Hollins, earlier in the round sent the 139th pick and No. 230 in the seventh round to Minnesota for No. 132 overall where they landed Pumphrey, a productive 5-foot-8, 176-pound back.
"I built a relationship with [Philadelphia Eagles Running Backs Coach] Duce Staley and at the combine he said he loved the way I played," Pumphrey said on a conference call after being slected. "I’m looking forward to playing for him and learning the different aspects of the game from him.”
Pumphrey set the single season FBS rushing record last season with 2,133 rushing yards on 349 carries and 17 touchdowns for SDSU but doesn't believe the workload he had in college will affect him moving forward.
"I’ve been running the ball since I was about 6 years old and I feel like it hasn’t taken a toll on me," Pumphrey said. "The offensive line does a great job of getting me to the next level where I’m not [going to] really take on big hits. I’m just ready to be an Eagle and show everybody what I’m about."
Obviously, he's undersized but the production can't be ignored and for a team that is lacking depth at the RB position, Pumphrey should be given every opportunity to contribute.
“I just try to make guys miss and when it’s time to get down, I get down," Pumphrey said. "I really don’t think about injuries or anything like that. I just play football to play. I know injuries come with the game and I just give my all every chance I get, every time I step on the field. I just thank God for it all. I haven’t gotten hurt and it’s been a blessing.”
With Darren Sproles expected to retire after the 2017 season, Pumphrey could be the heir apparent as the third-down back provided he improves his pass-catching skills.
“Obviously, he’s going to be a Hall of Famer," Pumphrey said of Sproles. "I feel like we’ve very versatile and I can do stuff out the backfield just like he has. He’s definitely bigger than me, so that’s something he has. I’m just looking forward to it all.”
As for pushing second-year man Wendell Smallwood as the feature back that seems less likely as Pumphrey simply doesn't have the frame to hold up as an NFL RB1.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen