Miles Sanders is someone to watch in year two for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Miles Sanders was a workhorse for the Philadelphia Eagles offense in the backfield in 2019. He was selected with 53rd pick in the second round of last year’s draft and became a viable asset in both the running and passing game. He carried the ball 179 times for 818 yards (4.6 yards per carry) and found the end zone three times. He caught 50 passes for 509 yards (10.2 yards per catch) and three touchdowns.
Sanders came into the Penn State football program with Sequon Barkley one year apart. According to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Sanders was under the impression that he and Barkley were going to be a one-two punch, or he was going to be the starter. Sanders was fine with taking a back seat because he would get hit less and further his career. After Barkley went second overall in the 2018 NFL Draft, it was Sanders’ time to shine.
He went on to become the 45th player rush for 1,000 yards in school history and ranks 25th All-time with 1,649 yards. He also became one of just six players in school history to rush for 200 yards. Some awards he earned during his tenure were All-Big Ten Freshman Team Honorable Mention by BTN.com, the Red Worrell Award as a sophomore, All-Big Ten Second Team by Big Ten coaches, media and the Associated Press.
Why will Miles Sanders be important to the Philadelphia Eagles running game in year two?
He needs to build on the success he had as a rookie. Sanders was named to the PFWA All-Rookie Team. He earned that after leading his rookie class in all-purpose yards (1,641), scrimmage yards (1,327) and rushing for the most yards in Eagles rookie history. He ranked third among running backs with 13 plays of 20 yards or more and scrimmage yards per touch (5.8), giving the Eagles the ability to be flexible with their running game inside and outside the tackles because of his speed and elusiveness. It’s always a good thing when a running back can catch passes out of the backfield and turn that into positive yardage.
Sanders reminds some of former Eagles RB Brian Westbrook, who ran the ball quite well for the team during his career. According to Glenn Erby of the Eagles Wire/USA Today, Westbrook believes that Sanders will have to carry the load on offense due to Carson Wentz’s injury history. For Sanders, that could be a good thing. Of course, you want your quarterback to be healthy and able to produce at a high level, but in 2020 Sanders could start to build a case for himself as one of the most productive running backs in the league.
Sanders will have an even better sophomore campaign if the Eagles rely more on their running game to open up other parts of their offense. With Sanders in the backfield, TCU standout Jalen Reagor and DeSean Jackson on opposite ends and a healthy Carson Wentz, the Eagles could win the NFC East once again.