Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro continue our series examining the future of the world champion Eagles.
Roob: Normally, I wouldn't even hesitate to say that a 23-year-old running back who the Eagles had drafted in the fourth round would be back for a second season. But Pumphrey looked so over-matched in training camp and in the preseason games and the Eagles are so deep at running back that I wonder. If the Eagles go with Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement and keep Wendell Smallwood as a third running back and Darren Sproles as a punt returner, where does Pumphrey fit in? It would be unusual to give up on him this early, but barring a huge turnaround this summer, Pumphrey faces a tough road.
Dave: You probably forgot all about Pumphrey didn't you? The fourth-round pick just never looked good last spring or summer and then landed (*cough* was stashed) on injured reserve for the 2017 season. The Eagles probably haven't given up on him just yet, but he's going to need to be much, much better this summer. After being an undersized between-the-tackles running back in college, the Eagles asked him to be a receiver out of the backfield. At 176 pounds, that needs to be his role, but he might just not be cut out for the NFL. He has a shot, but based on what we've seen so far, there's no reason to think he makes the team.
Roob: The Eagles gave Seumalo every opportunity to win the left guard job, but he just wasn't able to put together a consistent enough brand of football to hold off Stefen Wisniewski, who eventually became the starter after a brief Chance Warmack experiment and played exceptionally well. Seumalo is a third-round pick and still only 24 so I would expect him to stick around as a backup. But as long as Wiz and Brandon Brooks are healthy, it's hard to imagine Seumalo getting another chance to start.
Dave: The Eagles really wanted Seumalo to be their starting left guard last season and that didn't work. Seumalo was really bad in that role and became a bench player the rest of the way. He is versatile; he's the only guy on the team who can play all five offensive line spots. But what good is that if he can't play them well? The problem for Seumalo is, his most natural position is center and Jason Kelce is coming off his best professional season. Seumalo might end up being a wasted third-round pick, but the Eagles shouldn't throw in the towel just yet.
Roob: Smallwood's a tricky one. When he's healthy, he's a generally productive runner who also has a nice knack in the receiving game and is a willing blocker. In fact, despite not even being active the second half of the season, he still led all Eagles backs in the regular season with 13 catches. But he just can't stay healthy. Smallwood is only 24 years old and is an above-average kick returner. I think he's flashed enough that despite the injuries he'll get another year.
Dave: Smallwood had a great chance of becoming the Eagles' third-down back once Darren Sproles went down, but instead he ended up sitting on the bench after Jay Ajayi was brought in. Smallwood was a fifth-round pick just a couple years ago but has just shown flashes as a running back and a kick returner. He's in an interesting spot now, though, with the futures of LeGarrette Blount and Sproles in question. He'll be brought to camp and have a chance to make the team. I like his chances more than Pumphrey's.