Eagles Get Carson Wentz Help in the Second Round
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Helping Carson Wentz was the theme on Day 2 of the NFL Draft for the Philadelphia Eagles, who added two skill-position players during the second round, Penn State running back Miles Sanders and Stanford receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside.
Sanders, the heir to Saquon Barkley in Happy Valley, rushed for nearly 1,300 yards in his only season as a starter with the Nittany Lions. He's a potential three-down back down the road but will likely start off as the complement to Jordan Howard in a newly-minted backfield.
A very patient runner, the knock on the 5-foot-11, 2120-pound Sanders, who was the second RB selected at No. 53 overall behind only Alabama's Josh Jacobs, is ball security as he fumbled nine times on only 308 offensive touches, once every 34.2 touches.
G"uess what guys? We got a running back. We draft running backs in Philadelphia," Howie Roseman joked. " Excited. Very excited. We were patient. Let the board come to us. Every dog has their day with that, and we got Miles Sanders."
The rest of Philadelphia's depth chart at RB, which includes Corey Clement, Josh Adams, Wendell Smallwood, Boston Scott and Donnell Pumphrey is pushed down a notch as well while the likelihood that Darren Sproles returns for another season has lessened to a significant degree.
Arcega-Whiteside, the 57th overall selection, is a lengthy 6-foot-2 possession receiver who was born in Spain and has some similar traits to Alshon Jeffery. His strength has been as a red-zone threat and the issues start with speed and consistent separation.
A Stanford product, the 6-2, 225-pound Arcega-Whiteside is very bright, a player who learned English as a third language and comes from a very athletic family. His uncles -- Fernando and Jose -- played basketball for Spain during the 1984 Summer Olympics and both his mother and father played professional basketball overseas.
"J.J. is a great fit for what we do," Personnel chief Joe Douglas said. "Him and Miles, two of the highest-character guys in this draft. So that separated them from a few guys, but you know, J.J.'s ability to go up and get the ball, his strength, his ability to separate and finish contested catches in the scoring zone. He's just a highly-productive guy and really tough, really strong."
His presence indicates Philadelphia could be looking to move Nelson Agholor although Roseman denied that Agholor was on the trading block and Arcega-Whiteside is an outside receiver so it's by no means a death knell for the former first-round pick.
"Nelson's an important part of our football team," Roseman said. "He’s an important part of what we're trying to do. We're really excited to have him here. He's somebody that has continued to get better and better as a player. For us, having this amount of depth and talent, it’s going to be something we’re going to need during the course of the year. It’s a long season. We’re hoping to play well into January and we’re going to need everyone. We’ve seen that the last couple years. Our depth has been a huge part of our success and so that’s our job, to make sure we give coach and his staff the depth to get through — hopefully — a 19-week season."
Philadelphia only has two more picks on Saturday and there only way to add at this point would be to trade veteran players like Agholor and perhaps Halapoulivaati Vaitai.
Whether the Eagles stay on two picks or add to it, expect them to hit defense on Day 3.
"It's just how the board went," Roseman said of the offensive tint. "Understand that we can't do everything here and all the need positions, that isn't what we went into the draft doing. That's what we did for free agency and we have the flexibility here to just follow our board and take the best guys and that's what we've done so far here."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen