Name: Miles Sanders
Position: Running Back
Pro Team: Philadelphia Eagles
College Team: Penn State Nittany Lions
Draft Status: Round two, 53rd overall
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- Height: 5’11”
- Weight: 211 pounds
- Arms: 30 5/8”
- Hands: 9.25”
- 40-yard dash: 4.49 seconds
- Bench press: 20 reps
- Vertical jump: 36.0”
- Broad jump: 124.0”
- Three-cone drill: 6.89 seconds
- 20-yard shuttle: 4.19 seconds
- 60-yard shuttle: N/A
- Good vision and ability to process ‘on the fly’
- Patient and always makes the first man miss
- Great balance and pad level, leans forward at all times
- Contact balance is elite, elusive and powerful
- Pass catching is good, good hands and willing to block
- One year as a starter, only 276 career carries
- Sets up multiple moves and combines them well on the run
- Needs to be more decisive at times, can go to the juke too soon
- Ball security was an issue (four lost, five total in 2018 – ten total in career)
- Not an explosive back, not a lot of burst after a cut or move
- Does not possess home run top-end speed
- Willing blocker but needs work on the effectiveness of blocking
Sanders spent his first two seasons backing up Saquon Barkley after arriving in Happy Valley as a five star recruited running back. In limited opportunities, he displayed the explosive playing ability he was recruited for and often looked like Barkley – hurdling defenders and making highlight reels in few touches. 2018 arrived and the job was finally his. Sanders responded with 1,413 total yards and nine scores on 220 carries and 24 receptions. He averaged 5.8 yards per carry and was the focal point in the Nittany Lion offense.
Arriving in the City of Brotherly Love, Sanders enters a crowded backfield with the talent and draft pedigree to emerge as the lead back. Jordan Howard arrived in Philly via an off-season trade after averaging over 1,300 yards from scrimmage in his first three seasons in Chicago and is the presumed starter. Corey Clement at one point looked like a possible option but struggled in limited time last season. Josh Adams rushed for more than 500 yards in 2018 and even saw his ADP climb into the 100-110 range before Howard arrived. Wendell Smallwood also still occupies the depth chart, he has been a complementary back thus far and a solid pass-catching threat out of the backfield.
The main threat in the Eagles backfield is internal – Howard could fit in well and simply not relinquish the job, especially in the short term. Clement and Adams have been solid backs and if Sanders struggles with protecting the football, he could become lost in the pecking order.
I believe they will take some time getting Sanders up to speed and will not fully trust him right away. The coaching staff will work with him on ball security and give him 8-12 touches a game unless he absolutely blows everyone away in training camp and preseason. Sanders only has one full season of college production and may take a moment to learn the ins and out of the pro game. Howard is on the last year of his rookie deal and cheap, he should see the majority of touches for the Eagles in 2019.
Sanders has a good chance to be the most productive running back in this class long term. Philadelphia has a good offense – a promising young quarterback with a solid offensive line and good pass-catchers, all should provide a strong nucleus for years. The coaching staff will find ways to feature Sanders versatile skillset and Doug Pederson has finally found the three-down back they have been trying to attain. I think Miles Sanders will be a productive Philadelphia Eagle running back for the next five to seven seasons.
NFL PLAYER COMPARISON
I am terrible at player comparisons – I have seen Sanders compared to Sony Michel on more than one occasion and is the most recent comparison I see similarities with. Michel was a more polished pass catcher and more explosive but I can see the balance and vision comparison.
PROJECTED ROOKIE DRAFT RANGE
According to our Rookie ADP, Sanders is currently 4.10 on average in the first 10 rookie mocks since the NFL Draft. He has gone in the top five of every draft I have been in thus far including Superflex drafts as well. Sanders will continue to be a top-five rookie selection barring injury.