Over the next four weeks, we’ll be counting down the 20 most important Eagles for the 2020 season.
After a really promising rookie season, the Eagles will be relying heavily on Sanders in 2020. It’ll be up to Doug Pederson to figure out how much to use him.
It was a really good rookie season for the second-round pick from Penn State. Sanders rushed for 818 yards (4.6) and also caught 50 passes for 509 yards with 6 total touchdowns. Along the way, he amassed 1,327 scrimmage yards, breaking the Eagles’ rookie record.
Year 2 should be even better for Sanders.
Early last season, he wasn’t quite ready to be the Eagles starter. He got off to a slow start and the Eagles had Jordan Howard so they had to go with him. And Howard was playing well until he suffered a stinger. That injury might have ended up being a blessing in the long run. Because that’s when Sanders exploded.
Sanders became the Eagles’ starter coming out of the bye week in Week 11 and took his game to a new level. And then in the four-game win streak to end the season, Sanders averaged 112 scrimmage yards per game.
There’s a reason the Eagles fell in love with Sanders during last year’s draft. He has all the makings of an elite feature back: He’s quick, explosive, shifty, has hands out of the backfield and is a willing blocker.
In the past, we’ve seen Doug Pederson utilize a running back by committee approach, but I think a lot of that was because he didn’t have a back that was able to carry the full load. That doesn’t mean Boston Scott and Corey Clement and whoever else won’t get any touches; they will. But without Howard, Sanders is the true, no-doubt-about-it No. 1 back and the Eagles are going to ride him this season.
If Sanders can stay healthy, he should be able to put together a 1,000-yard rushing season and continue to be a huge part of the passing game.
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