It’s clear the Philadelphia Eagles running game is becoming one of the best – if not the best – in the NFL, especially after the addition of Jay Ajayi this past week.
But now with five running backs on the 53-man roster and LaGarrette Blount as the obvious No. 2 back, the question becomes who’s next on the depth chart?
If the way the carries have gone the last two games indicate anything, its undrafted rookie free agent Corey Clement – and it’s the right move.
In the last two weeks, Clement has rushed for 105 yards on 22 carries and scored three total touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving).
All three of Clement’s touchdowns came in the Eagles 51-23 beat down of the Denver Broncos Sunday, in what was easily his best game of his rookie season.
Besides being productive on the ground when his number was called, Clement has also shown he can be dangerous in space in the passing game.
In Sunday’s win over the Broncos, Clement’s lone receiving touchdown came on a 15-yard screen pass that was beautifully designed.
Clement hauled in an amazing touchdown reception out of the backfield two weeks ago on Monday Night Football against the division rival Washington Redskins, able to drag both feet in bounds after catching a floater from quarterback Carson Wentz. And even in his first NFL game, which was the Eagles’ home opener against the New York Giants, Clement found the end zone.
For all the character concerns that surrounded Clement coming out of the draft, he’s certainly handled himself the right way in working his way up and earning every bit of his success.
After a productive preseason and then having been inactive the first two weeks, Clement kept working and now finds himself as a part of this potent Philly running game. Scouts did say Clement would seem to best fit in a running-back-by-committee, and he’s shine so far when his name’s been called.
So assuming Clement is now the third running back on the depth chart, this leaves the decision between Wendell Smallwood and Kenjon Barner as to who could begin to be an odd-man out on game day.
Barner however, is sure to be on the active roster every week, barring injury, because he’s the team’s main punt returner and a key special teams contributor overall.
So that leaves Smallwood as the on-man out should the Eagles begin to only have four running backs active going forward.
And the numbers have indicated that as well, with only 14 carries in the last three games, including only one against the San Francisco 49ers two weeks ago.
But no matter how everything is shuffled among the Eagles’ backs, Clement told reporters after Sunday’s game everyone in the running back room is pushing each other.
“Everyone on the outside thought there was some turmoil in our room, but we’re having fun,” Clement said. “We want to carry that throughout the whole season.”
But having five backs to count on certainly provides a good problem to have in Philadelphia.
Matt Catrillo is a Philadelphia Eagles Writer for Pro Football Spot. You can follow him on Twitter @MCatrillo. For more coverage on the Eagles and the NFL from Matt, tune in to the Next Game New Game Podcast.