Eagles

Eagles

We continue our positional breakdown leading up to the 2018 NFL draft with a look at running backs. Instead of a top five, we'll highlight players at these positions who fit the Eagles and have a chance to be available when the team picks.

We looked at quarterbacks to start the series. Now we'll take a look at running backs.

At No. 32
Ronald Jones II, USC, 5-11, 205 pounds

Jones is coming off a monster junior season at Southern Cal. He carried the ball 261 times (that's a ton) for 1,550 yards and 19 touchdowns and also chipped in 14 catches for 187 yards. Jones might be a little on the light side, but he's surprisingly physical, which can be good and bad. He definitely has the ability to burst through holes and the patience to find them. He didn't put up huge receiving numbers in college but might have more ability in that area, which could make him appealing to Doug Pederson and the Eagles. He could use some work as a blocker, but that's pretty common for guys coming into the league. He's not perfect but could grow into being a three-down NFL back. Jones suffered a hamstring injury at the Combine, but his tape doesn't lie.

Derrius Guice, LSU, 5-11, 212
During his junior season, Guice dealt with injuries that didn't derail his season but definitely affected it. He still put up big numbers, putting up another 1,000-yard season. You can really see the difference between 2016 and 2017 in his yards after contact numbers. According to PFF, he averaged 4.1 yards after contact per attempt in 2016, but just 3.2 in 2017. Still, he's the type of back whose legs never stop churning even when his torso is wrapped up. He's a pretty big, powerful runner, but is surprisingly smooth as a receiver, even though he wasn't called upon too much in that area at LSU.

 

In the middle
Nick Chubb, Georgia, 5-11, 228

Along with his Georgia teammate Sony Michel, Chubb is in the next group of running backs in this year's draft. At the combine, at 228 pounds, he ran a 4.52, crushed the bench (29 reps) and was impressive in both jumps. What's even more impressive is he did it all with his rehabilitated knee. Michel might still be the first Georgia back off the board, but Chubb shouldn't be too far behind. Chubb will be gone by the time the Eagles pick in the fourth round, but if they move back up, he could be a target.

Nyheim Hines, N.C. State, 5-8, 197
You probably know Hines because of his lighting-fast 4.38 in the 40 at the combine. What he lacks in size, he makes up for with speed and playmaking ability. Hines really has one big season under his belt — as a junior last year he rushed for 1,112 yards and caught 26 passes for 152 more yards. At the NFL level, he's going to need to become a better receiver if he sticks. Maybe the Eagles will avoid another undersized guy who needs to become a better receiver to stick (think Donnel Pumphrey). But a big bonus with Hines is his ability as a return man. He has returned kicks and punts and is dangerous.

Late-round sleeper(s)
Chase Edmonds, Fordham, 5-9, 205

The last time the Eagles drafted a running back from Harrisburg it worked out OK. Of course, Edmonds isn't Shady McCoy; he's a relatively unknown player from a small school. But he's an intriguing prospect and had a good combine. No his 4.55 time in the 40 isn't eye-popping but his 4.07 in the 20-yard shuttle and 19 reps on the bench are note-worthy. At Fordham, he didn't face a ton of top competition so his tape should be taken with a grain of salt. An injury slowed him down as a senior. There's a reason he's a late-round guy, but Edmonds appears to have some explosion and shiftiness, even with his thick frame.