‘Too Much Juice’ for Miles Sanders to get to Eagles
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Even with Jordan Howard in the building, the conventional wisdom is that the Eagles will further address their running-back room in next week's draft with one of the top 57 selections.
The thought that Alabama's Josh Jacobs -- the only first-round worthy option in the 2019 class -- could be the pick at No. 25 overall has waned in recent weeks putting the emphasis on Philadelphia's two selections in the second round -- Nos. 53 and 57 -- if Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas really are intent on adding a potential difference-maker at the position.
"I think it’s going to be kind of the sweet spot,” former Eagles scout and NFL Network lead draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah assessed on his pre-draft conference call Tuesday. “I think you’ll see some running backs kind of go in the late second, early third round.”
Penn State's Miles Sanders seems to be the name getting the most play around the league when it comes to the whispers of Philadelphia's preference at RB but the hope Saquon Barkley's successor in Happy Valley drops to the Eagles late in the second round seems to be eroding.
“There’s just too much juice on him,” Jeremiah said when queried about Sanders dropping. “There’s too much heat. There are too many teams that like him. I think he’ll likely be off the board at that point in time.”
That means a trade up if Sanders truly is a targeted player or a need to turn the page to a Plan B or Plan C.
From Jeremiah's standpoint, the key for the Eagles is explosiveness, something lacking in a room currently headlined by the bruising Howard and supplemented by Corey Clement, Josh Adams, Wendell Smallwood, Boston Scott and Donnel Pumphrey.
“They’ve got to find a way to get more explosive," Jeremiah insisted.
To that end, Jeremiah identified three backs who could fit Philadelphia's needs -- Alabama’s Damien Harris, Oklahoma’s Rodney Anderson and Oklahoma State's Justice Hill.
"You look at Damien Harris from Alabama, I think he kind of fits that bill. It's kind of whatever style you want," Jeremiah said. "I think the real intriguing name which has some risk, you talk about medical, just because of the number of injuries that Rodney Anderson from Oklahoma has had, but his upside is tremendous. ...He is a tremendous player. But that would be kind of a wild card."
Anderson had a significant injury history with the Sooners which shortened three of his four seasons at Oklahoma.
In Jeremiah's mind, Hill could be the perfect complement to Howard.
"In that bottom second, I think that's probably where the conversation comes in with Justice Hill from Oklahoma State who's just pure speed," he said. "You bring in a Jordan Howard to kind of have a power guy. They've got to find a way to get more explosive, and that's where somebody like that would make some sense to me. And I think most people have him in the third-round range. But bottom of the second round, I think it's fair to have that conversation with a guy like Justice Hill who would make some sense there."
The Eagles top-30 visits included Jacobs, Sanders, and Memphis back Darrell Henderson, all players not worthy of 25 but expected to be gone by 53. The others invited in were Temple's Ryquell Armstead, a Millville native who didn't count toward the 30 as a local product, and Michigan's Karan Higdon, later-round options.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen