Health was the key toward Wendell Smallwood making the Philadelphia Eagles. While Matt Jones, Josh Adams and Donnel Pumphrey have been banged up and on and off the field, Smallwood has been the one who has been staying on the practice field as camp comes to a close.
There was some thought that the third-year back out of West Virginia was on the outside looking in entering training camp, but coach Doug Pederson has seen Smallwood flash, and, just as important for roster security, special-teams coach Dave Fipp has been utilizing him quite a bit on his units. That puts him in decent position as he competes for the fourth running back spot with the likes of Donnel Pumphrey and rookie Josh Adams.
"I thought Wendell ran extremely hard," said Eagles head coach Doug Pederson. "I’ll talk about him first. He ran extremely hard. Unfortunately, he did put the ball on the ground the one time. We were fortunate to get it back. He's a guy that just continues to flash and do some really good things.Third-year running back Wendell Smallwood became an afterthought.
It wasn’t long ago that the Delaware native was being touted as the Eagles newest feature back. In fact, it was only last summer.
After a rookie season in which he gained 312 yards on the ground and returned a kickoff 86 yards for a score, Smallwood appeared poised to make the leap to becoming a household name in his second season.
Smallwood was only active for eight games in 2017, but managed to start three of them. The former West Virginia Mountaineer saw his rushing total plummet from 312 yards in 2016 – to just 174 yards in 2017. Smallwood spent the second half of the season as a weekly inactive after giving way to LeGarrette Blount, Jay Ajayi and rookie Corey Clement. He was inactive for all three postseason contests.Wendell Smallwood Jersey .
2017 proved to be a season of ups and downs for the running back. While he didn’t have the season that both he and the team envisioned, he did earn a Super Bowl ring in his second season. With 2017 now in the rearview mirror, Smallwood turned his attention to the 2018 season.
With Smallwood, it’s been durability issues that’s held him back from reaching his potential. Smallwood possesses the work ethic and the mindset to rebound in his third season.
With just three games left to make an impression, time is running out. Expect to see a hungry, almost desperate No. 28 running with the football. With his competition sidelined, a big game on Thursday night could propel the 24-year old to run away with the opportunity.