Philadelphia Eagles trade deadline primer: Running backs edition

(Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images) /
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The Philadelphia Eagles sit in a tie for second place in the NFC East, but who could the team trade for at running back to jump atop the division for good?

Following the beatdown at the Meadowlands, I was feeling fairly confident in the Philadelphia Eagles ability to right their proverbial ship and finally run away with the division. I thought I’d be able to sit back, pig out and watch the Jacksonville Jaguars top-ranked defense take care of Ezekiel Elliott and the lowly Dallas Cowboys with no worries. I thought it would be a Sunday free of stress and nail-biting to watch the Carolina Panthers give the Washington Redskins a wake up call.

Boy was I wrong.

The Cowboys absolutely drubbed the Jags and the Redskins pulled out yet another win. Though the Dallas win is more concerning to me, it was definitely a reminder that the Birds aren’t going to walk through and take the division. There are other teams who are actually going to make it a challenge this year.

Although it was good to hop back on the win train, the Giants are a pathetic excuse of a team. If the Birds are going to have any shot at getting to the postseason let alone making a run, they’re going to have to make a few personnel upgrades before the trade deadline.

There are several options that Howie Roseman and the front office can mull over, and I lay them out in this three-part series, starting in the backfield.

That’s right, we’re talking running backs.

The explosive offense that jumped out to early leads game-after-game last season has been virtually nonexistent this year. Yes, Nick Foles started the first three games of the season but he has proven that he’s a player. Disagree with me? Go back and watch last year’s NFC Championship Game and the Super Bowl.

The real drop off this season is out of the running game.

A rushing attack that ranked third in the league last season now sits in the middle of the pack. The three-headed monster that was Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement and LeGarrette Blount has dwindled down to feature back Wendell Smallwood. You read that correctly, Wendell Smallwood is the top back in almost every category on the Birds active roster.

Losing Ajayi for the year didn’t help, but he was hardly having a Pro Bowl season, with less than 200 yards and three touchdowns. He looked shaky at times, especially when fumbling the ball at the five-yard line in a crucial loss to the Minnesota Vikings.

Ajayi is a beast for playing through a broken back and a torn ACL but the fact of the matter is he’s out for the season, Corey Clement is still working his way back from an injury and  Smallwood is the ‘main’ back.

Clearly, things need to change and there are several options on the market.