The Philadelphia Eagles signed running back Kennedy Brooks to a reserve/future contract on Thursday. He joins Tristin McCollum and Julian Good-Jones on the non-active roster which allows the Eagles to retain their rights through the offseason. These are solid forward-thinking moves that cost only a vet-minimum contract.
Back to Brooks. He was originally signed by the Eagles as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Oklahoma. The 5-foot-11, 209-pounder bounced around on Philly’s practice squad before getting released in November. Obviously, they saw some talent in the Jalen Hurts’ former college teammate.
Brooks rushed for 3,320 yards and 31 touchdowns in 38 games for the Sooners. He was named 2021 Alamo Bowl Offensive MVP after rumbling for 142 yards on 14 carries with 3 touchdowns in that one. His career numbers at Oklahoma could have been even stronger if he didn’t opt-out of the 2020 season. He was an Earl Campbell Tyler Rose semifinalist the next year.
Hurts’ relationship with Brooks went viral earlier this year when a video resurfaced and revealed the nickname “Little Old Man,” a tongue-in-cheek (compliment?) knock on Brook’s lack of speed.
“I call him paw-paw because he walks around like a little old man,” Hurts said in 2019. “But, no, he’s a great running back.”
Now he’ll be rejoining a loaded Eagles backfield featuring Miles Sanders, Kenny Gainwell, Boston Scott, and Trey Sermon. The team is not carrying any running backs on the practice squad.
For the record, Brooks ran the 40-yard dash in a somewhat disappointing 4.59 seconds. Hurts did seem to value their time together in the Oklahoma backfield, “paw-paw” joke and all. Hurts and Brooks were also college teammates of Eagles rookie tight end Grant Calcaterra.
Scouts Split on Brooks Coming Out of College
Not everyone was hype on Brooks coming out of college. Despite rushing for 1,253 yards and 13 touchdowns during his senior campaign, the Landry Award winner went largely underappreciated by NFL scouts. NFL Media’s Lance Zeirlein projected Brooks to go in Round 6 or Round 7, with a glowing evaluation:
Brooks will be knocked for a lack of suddenness and explosiveness, but may end up becoming a more effective NFL runner than evaluators expect. He’s a tempo-based runner with an ability to switch gears inside the run when needed. He has adequate size and vision but really impresses with his ability to maintain space from defenders as the run progresses. He’s not a home run hitter or a physical finisher and is unlikely to offer much third down value. Brooks’ smooth, subtle running style can be taken for granted, but is perfect for outside zone teams looking to add competition. He’s an RB2 with upside.
Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline had a far less enthusiastic scouting report: “Brooks was a solid running back at Oklahoma, but he has limitations for the next level. He’s an undersized power runner with average speed and pass-catching ability.”
Jalen Hurts Survives Final Practice of the Week
Quarterback Jalen Hurts carried no injury designation on the final injury report. He’s locked and loaded for the playoffs following a strong week of practices where he showed no limitations or lingering effects.
Meanwhile, starting right tackle Lane Johnson and defensive tackle Linval Joseph were cleared to play. The only player limited on Thursday was defensive end Brandon Graham who is dealing with a non-COVID illness. He’ll suit up on Saturday, but Avonte Maddox won’t after officially being ruled out.