Philadelphia Eagles: Corey Clement still has value in 2020

Whether with the Philadelphia Eagles or elsewhere, Corey Clement can still provide a ton of value to an NFL offense regardless of scheme.

Going into the 2018 season, there wasn’t a more popular Philadelphia Eagles running back than Corey Clement.

An undrafted free agent out of Wisconsin, Clement started out his football career fifth on the Eagles’ depth chart, but through luck, hard work, and let’s be honest, a slew of injuries, he steadily carved out a niche in Doug Pederson‘s offensive. While Clement never received more than 12 touches in a game as a rookie, he eventually overtook both an injured Darren Sproles and Chip Kelly-holdover Kenjon Barner to become the Eagles’ third-down back, and primary receiver coming out of the backfield.

Clement will forever go down in Eagles history for his 100-yard receiving performance in Super Bowl LII and for being one-third of The Philly Special alongside Trey Burton and Nick Foles.

From there, Clement was a virtual lock to make the roster in 2018, and a strong contender to become an even bigger part of the Eagles’ offensive identity in a post-LeGarrette Blount world. Sure, he was (probably) never going to become a starter, not with Jay Ajayi set to return for the final year of his rookie season, but crafting a thunder and lightning pairing of the two sub-25-year-old backs looked like a near-perfect solution for the price of a single fourth-round pick.

*sigh* Unfortunately, that was never meant to be.

Ajayi played four games in 2018 before suffering a basically career-ending ACL-injury, and Clement could never quite get to full strength. From nagging early-season injuries, to an eventual season-ending knee injury that landed the Glassboro, NJ native on IR, Clement’s 2018 season was a major bummer, as he finished out the year with 90 total touches for 451 yards, two touchdowns, and four fumbles.

Those may be the final 90 offensive touches of Clements’ career.

Fast-forward to 2019, and Clement only appeared in four games, recording three touches on offense and 59 special teams snaps – both obviously career-lows. Despite declaring that he was fully recovered from his late-season knee injury, Clement started out the season fourth on the depth chart behind Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders, and Darren Sproles, and eventually overlooked by practice squad-elevatee Boston Scott.

But here’s the thing: Just because Clement didn’t have a role in the Eagles’ offense in 2019 doesn’t mean he couldn’t be a solid performer in 2020.

With experience playing in a variety of different offensive schemes, from Wisconsin’s power running, fullback utilizing, ‘four yards and a cloud of dust’ throwback-style to the RPO-heavy style of play the Eagles used with Foles under center, and even a more traditional West Coast offense, Clement is an offensive chameleon capable of soaking up touches for any team in the NFL. Clement is also a more than formidable receiver coming out of the backfield, the proud owner of a 9.8 yards per catch average with an 80 catch percentage.

Whether deployed as an early-down runner between the tackles, or as a third-down change-of-pace back with the versatility to run, catch, or even throw the ball, Clement can contribute to any offense in some capacity.

With teams like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Los Angeles Rams, and Arizona Cardinals all looking to retool their offensive personnel following eventful free agency overhauls, Clement should be in much higher regards based on versatility alone.

Heck, do you know who could really use Clement in 2020? The Eagles.

Next: JJ Arcega-White is pivotal to Howie Roseman’s plans

While the Philadelphia Eagles did opt to allow Corey Clement to test the open market without extending a tender in restricted free agency, Howie Roseman mentioned that his staff is still looking to bolster their running backs corp before camp opens up later this year in a one-on-one Facebook interview with Dave Spadaro. Between having a ton of experience in Doug Pederson’s offensive scheme, and a more open depth chart behind surefire starter Miles Sanders and third-down specialist Boston Scott, Clement could not only make the Eagles’ opening day roster for the fourth-straight season but actually carve out a role on offense as a change of pace back.

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