What’s the difference between the old guys who change the pass interference rule each year and how Doug Pederson usually uses his running backs? Nothing. They’re both committees.
Is this the year Doug breaks the trend and finally lets a single RB dominate the snaps? Well, if it is let's have a look at the biggest beneficiary; Miles Adam Sanders.
The 53rd overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft enjoyed a largely successful rookie campaign.
He ended his rookie season as RB15, for 10 games he shared the Eagles backfield with Jordan Howard. Before Howard’s injury Sanders averaged 10.90 fantasy points per game, mainly doing his damage through the passing game, averaging 3.00 targets per game. While part of Doug Pederson’s 2019 RB committee, Sanders managed a meager 2 TD’s. He only averaged 8.44 rushing attempts per game.
After Jordan Howard injured his shoulder, effectively ending his season, in Week 9 the committee had to end. Philadelphia’s only RBs on their roster were Miles Sanders and Boston Scott.
This was now the Miles Sanders show, his only competition for touches was now only Bitpart Scott.
From Week 11 onwards Miles Sanders was impressive. An average of 17.23 fantasy points per game, a 75.64% increase. In fact, every single stat increased when Miles Sanders had almost sole control of the Eagles backfield. Sanders finished the season with an average of 4.60 yards per attempt and 10.20 yards per reception. He also averaged 14.71 rushing attempts per game, an increase of 74.29%
He finished 11th overall in most total yards by a rookie RB, in the last 10 years.
6th most receiving yards by a rookie RB, in the last 10 years.
Ranked 8th overall and led all rookies in all-purpose yards (1,641), for the 2019 season.
Sanders, is 1 of only 3 rookies to have at least 1,300 scrimmage yards and 300 return yards, the other 2? AP and Alvin Kamara
Eagles 2020 offseason
The 2020 offseason was going to be a big one for Miles Sanders. When Jordan Howard departed Philly to become 'A Florida Man' it left many questions regarding the Eagles backfield. Would the Eagles sign another RB? Would they draft a RB? Would they go against their coaching staff's usual trend and let Sanders be the bellcow RB he proved he could be.
Free agency started and the Eagles didn't sign a veteran RB to pair with Sanders, the 2020 NFL Draft started and the Eagles didn't draft a rookie to pair with Sanders.
Jordan Howard was on course for 211 rushing attempts in the 2019 NFL Season, while he was never much of a factor in the passing game, his departure left an extra 19 targets per season. Howard was also on course for around 12 TD's before injury curtailed his season.
The future for Miles Sanders is a positive one. As of writing the Eagles RB room consists of Sanders, Scott and Corey Clement. It's the middle of June and the running back position in Philadelphia is looking particularly inexperienced, this is a very good number 26. They may add during late Free Agency, but the fact that they haven’t added a recognised veteran early and they didn’t draft a RB shows how highly Philly rate Miles Sanders and also shows just how big a workload he’s going to get.
Boston Scott will more than likely fill in a backup role to Miles Sanders. Despite his impressive 2019 Week 17 performance (19-54-3 rushing, 4-84-0 receiving) he only managed 4.00 per attempt and 8.50 per reception, both stats considerably lower than Sanders. This leaves Scott as the true backup, rather than part of any committee.
Current projections (PFF) have him to slightly better his 2019 season:
His ADP is getting higher, the longer the Eagles put off signing a veteran RB.
His 17.23 fantasy points per game from the 7 games he was the sole starting RB for the Eagles, over a 16 game season would've left him RB7 (275.68 total points), behind Dalvin Cook.
If you still can buy/draft Miles Sanders everywhere. The volume for touches/targets is there and will remain, which means his floor is high. He’s also proven that given the opportunity he will produce. If he's injury-free and the Eagles don't sign another RB I can see Sanders staking a claim for a top 5 RB finish.
Miles Sanders is about to take off and you don't want to miss it.