Eagles draft running back Wendell Smallwood in the 5th round

May 1st, 2016 by Sam Shipley | Filed under Eagles, NFL.

The Philadelphia Eagles had a need at running back coming into draft weekend, and they hope that their first of two selections in the fifth round will add some depth.

The Eagles selected Wendell Smallwood out of West Virginia with the 153rd pick in the NFL Draft. Smallwood, 5’10”, 208 lbs, is known as a physical “ground and pound” running back. Last season at West Virgina Smallwood was the leading rusher in the Big 12, as he rushed for 1,519 yards and nine touchdowns in 13 games, while also catching 26 passes out of the backfield for 160 yards.

Here is NFL.com‘s scouting report on Smallwood:

ANALYSIS

STRENGTHS

Hits the crease with proper pad level and can spin off of initial tackle attempt on his way to additional yardage. Attacks his foes with lead shoulder at the end of the run for an aggressive finish. Runs a disciplined track as zone runner using solid vision and steady tempo. One of the sharpest players on the offense. Scans and spots blitzers on the creep and steps over to meet them as a blocker. Possesses exceptional hands as an option out of the backfield.

WEAKNESSES

Can use more beef on his frame to handle the rigors of the NFL. Monotone runner who tends to keep his runs at one speed. Not flashy or particularly creative as a runner. Gets what is blocked and is more of a physical finisher than tackle breaker. Has an extended gear down on outside zone to hit downhill cuts. Average athleticism and lacks the sudden jump cut.

DRAFT PROJECTION

Rounds 6 or 7

BOTTOM LINE

Smallwood changed West Virginia from an “Air Raid” offense to a “ground and pound” attack. Smallwood’s tape features few, true flash plays, but the quality runs seem to stack up one after another. His intelligence in pass pro and ability to catch the ball out of the backfield give him an immediate shot as a third-down back, but his combine could determine whether he hears his name on Day 3 of the draft or not.

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