Like other Badgers before him in wide receiver Alex Erickson and safeties Jim Leonhard and Chris Maragos, Clement will have to earn a roster spot as an undrafted free agent.
Thankful for the opportunity to be back home and play , Fly eagles Fly !— Corey Clement (@CoreyClement_6) April 30, 2017
There were six running backs on the roster before Clement was officially announced. Who are the projected starters and contributors?
Ryan Mathews is on the roster but he’s expected to be cut when he’s healthy enough to pass a physical. He suffered an injury late last season and the Eagles can’t save any cap space by cutting him until he’s fully recovered. In addition, Byron Marshall is reportedly moving from running back to wide receiver.
So that leaves just four running backs on the roster other than Clement: Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood, Terrell Watson, and Donnel Pumphrey.
Sproles is expected to retire after this year. He’s obviously an awesome player but this is his last season at age 34. He’s a role player. It seems like Smallwood, the team’s 2016 fifth-round pick, will have a shot at playing time but I’m not sure he’s more than a committee back. Pumphrey isn’t quite Sproles himself, but he figures to play in a similar limited role. Watson might be nothing more than a camp body.
The Eagles drafted Pumphrey in the fourth round, giving Clement further competition for a roster spot. What role would the FBS career rushing leader* (note the heavy asterisk... shout out to Ron Dayne) fulfill?
Pumphrey will likely contribute as a rotational player who gets a limited amount of carries per game. I imagine he’ll also get some looks as a pass catcher; perhaps the Eagles will line him up in the slot at times. Due to his small size, I can’t imagine he’ll ever be regularly handling a full workload.
It sounds like Philadelphia paid a decent penny to sign the Badgers back, according to Tom Pelissero. Where do you see Clement fitting in Doug Pedersen’s offense?
The Eagles have a lot of smaller running backs, so Clement gives the team a guy with size and power. If he can play special teams, he can earn a role on the team as a player the team can go to in short-yardage and power-running situations. If Clement doesn’t make the team, I’d expect him to be on the practice squad. In that situation, he would easily be called up to the main roster if there was an injury.
Have there been many undrafted free agents who have made the active roster and had an impact in recent Eagles’ history?
Last year, the Eagles had about five UDFA players who ended up making the 53-man roster at one point. So there’s definitely a chance. None of the players filled major roles but some had the opportunity for rotational playing time.
It’s still way too early to tell, but based on the current roster and expectations at running back, what would be your thoughts as to the chance of Clement working his way up to making an impact and fighting for a roster spot?
As of right now, I think he’ll have a reasonable shot to make the roster. The Eagles are really thin at running back. All of their backs are small, so they could benefit from keeping a more physical guy around. I wouldn’t expect him to have a major role, but he could earn a good number of touches each week if he has a strong summer.
Lastly, is Beau Allen’s hair still glorious?
It most certainly is. The downside is that Beau suffered an offseason injury and might not be ready by Week 1. But he’ll play this season at some point.