Smallwood will need to battle for a roster spot this summer, Les Bowen of The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The Eagles traded for Jordan Howard and drafted Miles Sanders in the second round, leaving the rest of their running backs to battle for one or two roster spots. Corey Clement (knee) will have a good chance to secure one of those spots if he's healthy for training camp, so the current picture doesn't look especially favorable for Smallwood, Josh Adams (shoulder), Boston Scott or Donnel Pumphrey. While he isn't particularly fast or powerful, the 25-year-old Smallwood has at least displayed a degree of versatility, averaging 4.2 yards on 87 carries and 8.2 yards on 28 receptions while playing all 16 games last season. If nothing else, he should be ahead of Scott and Pumphrey.
Smallwood is facing more competition after the Eagles acquired fellow running back Jordan Howard in a trade with the Bears, Dave Zangaro of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. Howard becomes the instant favorite to serve as Philadelphia's lead runner, albeit in a backfield that has consistently taken a committee approach since coach Doug Pederson was hired in 2016. There's still room for Smallwood to earn a significant role -- especially on passing downs -- but it also isn't difficult to envision a scenario in which he fails to make the 53-man roster. Howard was selected three picks before Smallwood in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft, leaving both players in the final season of their respective rookie contracts. The Philadelphia backfield may get even more crowded before training camp, as Darren Sproles may decide to play another season and the draft is still to come.
Smallwood rushed 10 times for 33 yards and brought in his only target for six yards in the Eagles' 20-14 divisional-round playoff loss to the Saints on Sunday. Change-of-pace option Darren Sproles was the only other back besides Smallwood to log a carry for the Eagles, as the third-year pro was the preferred early-down option over Josh Adams for the second straight postseason tilt. Smallwood was serviceable with his opportunities, but the running game became more of an afterthought as the game wore on. The 24-year-old finished his third season with 87 carries for 364 yards and three touchdowns, along with an additional 230 receiving yards and a pair of scores on 28 receptions. Given his dual-threat skill set and modest cap hit in what will be the fourth year of his rookie contract, Smallwood figures to be given an opportunity to compete for at least a part-time role in the backfield once again in 2019.
Smallwood rushed eight times for 20 yards and caught two of three targets for 20 more in Sunday's 16-15 wild-card-round win over Chicago. Darren Sproles (13 carries for 21 yards) and Smallwood split most of the work on the ground, with Josh Adams rushing just once for two yards. Smallwood came tantalizingly close to giving his team a three-point lead after Philadelphia's go-ahead touchdown in the final minute, but his attempt at diving over the goal line for a two-point conversion came up just short. That play almost led to the Eagles' downfall after the Bears got into field-goal range, but Cody Parkey missed from 43 yards out to send Philadelphia to New Orleans for the divisional round. Smallwood and Sproles should continue to work in a timeshare against the Saints.
Smallwood (hand) doesn't have a designation for Sunday's wild-card contest at Chicago. Smallwood made a sudden appearance on Thursday's practice report as limited due to a hand injury, but his elevation to full participation Friday has wiped away any question about his ability to suit up in the Eagles' postseason opener. If his workload from the final three games of the regular season translates to the playoffs, he should be in line for upwards of 10 touches working behind Darren Sproles and Josh Adams.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|4||09/27||@Green Bay Packers||19||18.13|
|5||10/06||New York Jets||18||17.75|
|11||11/17||New England Patriots||8||16.00|
|14||12/10||New York Giants||23||19.88|
|17||12/29||@New York Giants||23||19.88|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||70||283||2||16||129||1||56|