Eagles Top Playmaker Snubbed on Pro Football Focus List

Philadelphia Eagles Running back Miles Sanders

Getty Philadelphia Eagles Running back Miles Sanders. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Miles Sanders was the best offensive player on the field for the Eagles in 2019. And arguably the best rookie in the entire NFL.

He turned 179 touches into 818 rushing yards and hauled in 50 receptions for 509 yards. His 1,641 all-purpose yards ranked top among all rookies and eighth-best in the league.

Apparently, those gaudy numbers weren’t good enough to land the 23-year-old running back on Pro Football Focus’ annual list of the “Top 25 Players Under the Age of 25.” Of course, the rushers who did make the list brought some drool-worthy credentials of their own in Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley and Nick Chubb. Even so, Sanders certainly has a right to feel slighted by the omission.

The dual-threat out of Penn State enjoyed a historic first year in Philadelphia where he set franchise rookie marks for most rushing yards (818), yards from scrimmage (1,327), and all-purpose yards (1,641). In addition, Sanders became one of only three rookies in NFL history to rack up at least 1,300 scrimmage yards and 300 return yards in a season. His 5.8 yards per touch among running backs with at least 200 touches was tops among rookies as well.

“I want to be that back where you think you can stop me in the run game and then, boom, I’m outside in the passing game and I’m rolling up yards for the team,” Sanders said in April, via ESPN. “I want to be that back where there’s no way you can really slow me down or stop me or take me out of the game because I’m so versatile. That’s the type of mentality and the type of player I want to be.”

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No Eagles Players Make Pro Football Focus List

Sanders was an obvious snub on Pro Football Focus’ list of impact players under the age of 25. He was probably the only candidate the Eagles had on the roster. Considering the up-and-down rookies seasons turned in by first-round pick Andre Dillard and second-rounder J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, there really wasn’t anyone else to highlight.

The Eagles are an older team that are guided by a 27-year-old quarterback (Carson Wentz) and a 29-year-old tight end (Zach Ertz). Heck, even third-year tight end Dallas Goedert will turn 26 in January. That doesn’t mean there isn’t cause for optimism in Philly. Josh Sweat flashed plenty of promise down the stretch in 2019 and he’s 23. Meanwhile, 23-year-old Derek Barnett is poised for a breakout campaign in 2020 after the Eagles exercised his fifth-year option.

“I’d say every time he’s on the field, he’s rewarding our investment in him,” Eagles GM Howie Roseman said of Barnett heading into the 2019 season. “We have a lot of confidence in him as a player and he’s a huge part of our football team.”

Philadelphia also invested in a ton of youth in this year’s draft, including speedy wideouts Jalen Reagor (21) and John Hightower (23) and Quez Watkins (22). The Eagles are counting on these speedsters to serve them well and shape the future of the franchise.

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