Updated: Aug 18, 2020
Selected in the 2nd round of the draft and after a promising rookie year what can we expect from our budding star Miles Sanders. Well, we don’t have to look too far to find a comparison. Not too long ago that running back was LeSean McCoy. Like Sanders, McCoy was drafted to be the running back of the future for the Eagles. Back in 2009 the Eagles had Brian Westbrook but he was going into his 8th season as the Birds featured back and on the down side of his career. Let’s look back at Shady’s rookie year. After a slow start, he set the Eagles rookie record for rushing with 637 yards and averaged 4.1 yards per carry. He scored 4 touchdowns and showed signs of greatness with electrifying carries showing off speed and shiftiness. However, he had a tendency to fumble and would dance around looking for the home run. Year 2? Almost 1,100 yards and 7 TD’s the road map to become a star was set.
Now let’s take a look at Miles rookie year. Slow start, check. Early fumbles, check. Dancing in the hole looking for the home run, double check. Sanders showed those same rookie tendencies as Shady. Instead of falling in the doghouse, Miles worked with coach Staley to explode in the second half of the season. Sanders literally exploded through the hole against Buffalo for a 65 -yard TD run and never looked back. Miles blew Shady’s rookie rushing record out of the water running for 818 yards. Even though he got dinged up late in the season, he was crucial in the late season push to carry the Eagles to the playoffs. His game against Washington on the road was outstanding.
After McCoy’s rookie year, he went on to become the teams all time leading rusher. He ran for over 1,000 yards in 4 of his 5 remaining seasons with the Birds and was considered by most a top 3 back in the league while with the Eagles.
The blueprint has been laid out. Miles just needs to follow along. Under the guidance of Pederson and Staley, I fully expect Sanders to take that next step in 2020 and become a top 3 back in the NFL. I will argue Sanders has more talent and ability than McCoy at comparable stages of their careers. He has the look of a star running back, speed, power, elusiveness and that swagger. Does Sanders have miles to go to be a superstar? Not if he makes the jump that Shady made in his second year.
Photo Credit: Getty Images 2019