Following the 2016 season, the Philadelphia Eagles knew they had to go out and surround their young quarterback Carson Wentz with some more offensive weapons as they offense struggled at times.
And that is just what they did during the off-season and through the draft.
In 2016, Eagles wide receivers had issues holding onto the football and to many times they had drops at critical junctures of the game. They are hoping they addressed those issues.
On paper, they have vastly improved their offense, adding veteran wide receivers Torrey Smith and Alshon Jeffrey, they also brought in rugged and tough veteran running back LeGarrette Blount, who was with the Patriots.
Blount was a workhouse back for the Super Bowl champion Patriots, rushing for over 1,000 yards, while scoring 18 touchdowns. He instantly gives the Eagles a big bruising back they can utilize in the red-zone.
In addition to Blount, the Eagles added San Diego State’s Donnel Pumphrey with the team’s second selection in the fourth round, to go along with a backfield that already has Wendell Smallwood, who excels on special teams, and dynamic veteran Darren Sproles, who was second on the team in rushing yards.
However, a name to watch out going forward is undrafted free-agent running back Corey Clement, who played collegiality at Wisconsin. His senior season he rushed for over 1,300 yards to go along with 15 TD’s.
He has been very impressive at times during training camp and is a dark horse to make the team, however, maybe believe he will make the practice squad.
The native out of Glassboro, New Jersey, uses the fact that he was not drafted as motivation and he is not shy to admit he has a chip on his shoulder.
“I think the chip is even growing each day that I walk out there, and wake up. It is a different mindset, I have to wipe out the mess from the previous day, and have a totally different mindset each and every day. I just think positive,” Clement said.
The well-spoken 22-year-old knows he can contribute to the Eagles if called upon. Despite the fact that he caught just 29 balls with Wisconsin out of the backfield, Clement is confident in his pass catching ability too.
“That was not out philosophy, we were run first and past second, and like I said, I have told people numerous times I can catch the ball, just throw it to me,” he added.
The Eagles also drafted wideout Mack Hollins out of North Carolina in the fourth round, and Shelton Gibson in the fifth round out of West Virginia to help bolster their receiving corps.
Jeffery was considered the top receiver available in free agency, but he couldn’t secure a long-term deal to remain in Chicago after getting the franchise tag last year. The 27-year-old Jeffery is coming off two sub par seasons in which he missed eleven games due to injury and suspension.
His last standout campaign came in 2014, when he had 85 catches for 1,133 yards receiving and 10 TDs.
Jeffery went to the Pro Bowl in 2013 after catching 89 passes for 1,421 yards and seven TDs and was very solid for the Bears, catching 304 balls for 4,549 yards and 26 touchdowns in five seasons with the Chicago.
Smith, released by the 49ers last March, caught 53 passes for 930 yards and seven touchdowns in two seasons in San Francisco.
The 28-year-old Smith never really became the deep threat that he was with Baltimore, where he helped the Ravens beat San Francisco in the Super Bowl following the 2012 season. Smith, who struggled with San Francisco, had just 20 catches for 267 yards last season before missing the final three games with a concussion.
In six seasons, Smith has 266 catches for 4,521 yards and 37 touchdowns.
The Eagles are banking on those two along with slot receiver Jordan Matthews and former first round draft pick and under achieving Nelson Agholor to open up the offense for their second-year signal caller.
The Eagles have three tight ends on the roster, that can prove to give some defenses headaches, as they can go double and even triple tight end with Zach Ertz, Trey Burton and Brent Celek and then if need be flex Sproles or Pumphrey into the slot.
With depth at the running back position it might be a numbers game when dealing with Clement, who knows exactly when he brings to the table.
“You can apply me anywhere on the field when it comes to offense, just making the play even if I do not have the ball in my hands, I am a team player first and can be counted on when need,” he concluded.