PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Training camp and preseason is all about position battles and the Eagles have a had a few. The most crowded of them all comes at the running back position where the Eagles currently have six players to decide between.
More than likely the team will only keep four backs at the most, so there will be two talented players that may have to find an NFL home elsewhere.
The top two spots on the depth chart are locked up as LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles will be penciled in as the one and two respectively for Chip Kelly’s offense. The complications begin after that.
Coming into training camp it appeared that the third spot on the depth chart would once again be occupied by Chris Polk. The third year back held down that position a year ago for Kelly, but he has been sidelined to this point in the preseason.
The Eagles will have to decide whether or not they are familiar enough with Polk, and what he can do, to guarantee him a roster spot without a sample size in the preseason.
After Polk there are three more names for the Eagles to consider in Matthew Tucker, Henry Josey and Kenjon Barner.
All three of the players have a case for making the 53-man roster. Tucker was with the Eagles last season, but only appeared in two games primarily on special teams. He has looked solid throughout the preseason recording 86 yards on 18 total carries with four touchdowns. He has gotten the bulk of the opportunities that would have been going to Polk.
The Eagles will also have to make a decision regarding the rookie Josey out of Missouri. Josey has also shined in preseason. He has rushed for 104 yards on 12 carries and has recorded a receiving touchdown in each game as he has shown a good burst of speed and pass catching ability on screen plays.
The last name vying for a spot is former Oregon Duck Kenjon Barner. The Eagles acquired the second year pro in a trade with the Carolina Panthers prior to their third preseason game. Barner rushed seven times in his debut with the Eagles in the third preseason game for a total of 32 yards.
He did only have hours to learn the Eagles’ offense and he possesses an ability to help out on special teams as a return man. His familiarity with Kelly is an asset as well.
The Eagles could go running back heavy if they like all the guys, but there is no way they go above five and that even seems to be a stretch. The only alternative could be to use practice squad spots to try to retain some of these names.
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