Miles Sanders Fantasy Football Analysis with Eagles
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Miles Sanders
- See Matthew Freedman's fantasy football analysis for running back Miles Sanders, who was drafted No. 53 overall by the Philadelphia Eagles.
Miles Sanders Fantasy Football Analysis
- Height: 5’11” | Weight: 211 pounds
- 40-yard dash: 4.49 seconds
- School: Penn State | Class: Junior
- 2019 age: 22 | Draft position: No. 53 overall
A five-star recruit entering college, Sanders signed in-state so he could realize his longtime dream of playing for the Nittany Lions — and then he sat on the bench for two years behind eventual No. 2 overall pick of the 2018 draft, Saquon Barkley.
Sometimes dreams turn into nightmares.
As a backup, Sanders was almost nonexistent. In his first two seasons, he totaled just 429 yards and four touchdowns on 56 carries and eight receptions. In fact, he wasn’t even the primary backup. He was just one guy in a committee of backups. Basically, he was a guy standing on the sideline.
But as a junior, Sanders finally got his long-awaited opportunity to start, and he capitalized, putting up 1,413 yards and nine touchdowns on 220 carries and 24 receptions in 13 games. And he likely would have had more touchdowns if quarterback Trace McSorley had not vultured 12 rushing scores in Penn State’s read option scheme.
But Sanders isn’t a finished product. He tried to bounce too many runs outside last year, he had an elusive rating of just 75.5 and he averaged only 0.7 yards per route run. He’s an all-around good back with above-average athleticism, but he doesn’t excel in any one thing.
With the Eagles, though, his versatility will be what sets him apart.
Under head coach Doug Pederson, the Eagles haven’t had a lead back with a true three-down skill set. Instead, they’ve relied on committees of past-their-prime grinders, injury-impacted pass catchers and flash-in-the-pan undrafted free agents.
In Sanders, the Eagles have a lead back who can do it all.
As a rookie, he’s still likely to split snaps and touches with at least one other back, but he should be given every chance to lead the backfield. And in that offense, he could finish the season as a top-20 back.
In rookie drafts, I imagine that Sanders’ combination of college production, athletic profile, draft capital and landing spot will make him a top-five pick. And it wouldn’t shock me if he slides in behind first-round running back Josh Jacobs as the No. 2 pick in the class.
In a class with little talent at the position, Sanders is one of the few rookie backs with true long-term potential.
NFL Comp: Julius Jones with more production and youth