When the Eagles started pawning off bad contracts for draft position, executive Howie Roseman said there was a definite benefit to picking eighth overall instead of 13th.
And it’s possible the object of his affection might be Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott, the lone elite prospect at his position this year.
“We studied this,” Roseman said, via Jimmy Kempski of PhillyVoice.com. “There’s this narrative that you can get running backs in the fifth, sixth, seventh round of the draft and free agency. But when you look back at the last 10 years, guys who were really in the top 10 in rushing, those guys are high picks.”
While the devaluing of the position has become a popular narrative, Roseman’s data showed that to land an elite runner, it’s harder to find one on the street.
And after former league-leading rusher DeMarco Murray failed so miserably in Philadelphia, it could be time to think about the possibility of Elliott.
The Ohio State running back had 3,699 yards and 41 touchdowns the last two seasons, averaging 6.9 and 6.3 yards per carry his final two years for the Buckeyes.
“I think there’s a difference between a special player and a role player at the position,” said Roseman. “When you talk about the guys who are 1500-yard rushers, the guys who people are game-planning for, those are hard to get later in the draft. . . .
“When you find a special talent at that position, that guy who can run the ball, pass protect, can catch the ball out of the backfield, that’s a unique weapon. I don’t think the position is devalued. Talking to [coach] Doug [Pederson], obviously we come from the same school of Andy [Reid], and what he could do with those kinds of guys.”
Roseman didn’t mention Elliott by name, but he didn’t have to, as there’s considered to be a big gulf between Elliott and any other back in this year’s draft.