Donnel Pumphrey

NFC East Notes: Redskins, Beckham, Eagles

Derrius Guice‘s injury delivers a considerable setback to the Redskins‘ running back corps, to the point they may have to consider adding a veteran to the mix. But Jay Gruden did not confirm the team will go in this direction, pointing to the second-round Guice selection being a best-player-available move rather than a need pick.

We have guys here that can play,” Gruden said Saturday. “We drafted Derrius because he was the best player, we thought, at the time of the draft … not because we weren’t satisfied with the backs we have.”

The primary Redskins starters the past two years, Rob Kelley and Samaje Perine, remain on the team and are now set to be the team’s early-down backs. Passing-down specialist Chris Thompson, though he’s not yet fully recovered from the broken leg he suffered midway through last season, will reprise his role in 2018. Neither Kelley nor Perine surpassed 3.5 yards per carry last season, but Washington’s offensive line became significantly limited by injuries as the season progressed. Kelley fared much better in 2016.

Here’s the latest from the rest of the NFC East:

  • A day after Guice’s injury severity became known, the Redskins are concerned about 2017 sixth-round pick Robert Davis. The team fears its second-year wide receiver suffered a torn ACL, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. Davis will head in for an MRI later today, per Garafolo. The Georgia State alum was expected to play a bigger role in Year 2 after playing in just one game as a rookie.
  • The Giants‘ reasoning behind sitting Odell Beckham Jr. in the preseason opener stemmed from his injury recovery, not his contract situation, per Pat Shurmur. “I want to be smart with his recovery coming back [from ankle surgery],” Shurmur said, via Tom Rock of Newsday. “I never intended to play him in this game. I didn’t reveal that to [the public], but I never intended to.” Beckham has not experienced a known setback in his recovery from last season’s ankle injury. He encountered ankle trouble during the preseason against the Browns last year, spraining his left ankle barely a month prior to fracturing it.
  • The subject of Rasul Douglas moving to safety surfaced at Eagles practice, but the coaching staff shot that down, Sheil Kapadia of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Philly lost Patrick Robinson and has Ronald Darby going into a contract year, so it would make sense Douglas stays at corner. Philadelphia’s staff still believes Douglas can have a quality career as a corner, although Kapadia adds he has not progressed like the team was hoping going into his second season.
  • Donnel Pumphrey may be in his final days as an Eagle, with Kapadia pointing out the “lower body” injury he suffered in the defending Super Bowl champions’ preseason opener may put him too far behind the other combatants in a hotly contested race to make the 53-man roster as the No. 4 running back. Wendell Smallwood, Matt Jones and rookie UDFA Josh Adams comprise the rest of that race, and Kapadia adds that Jones may be behind the other two after the Eagles’ first preseason game. The Eagles gave Adams a sizable guarantee to sign after the draft.

Extra Points: Eagles, Pumphrey, Jets

The Eagles have a loaded backfield with LeGarrette Blount, Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement. That is expected to grow in 2018 with the return of fourth-round pick Donnel Pumphrey, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Paul Domowitch writes.

A fourth-round selection in 2017, Pumphrey was expected to serve a large role in the team’s offense as Darren Sproles-like pass catcher out of the backfield. That didn’t happen, however, with the San Diego State star tearing his hamstring in the preseason and sitting out the rest of the season on IR.

Pumphrey has been working out for some time now and has upped his weight from 177 out of college to around 185 or 190 pounds now. With the added bulk, the record-breaking college back might be able to withstand a full season in the pros. He will have some work to do to make the roster with those proved backs ahead of him on the depth chart.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Sticking with the Eagles, NJ.com’s Eliot Shorr-Parks ranked the Eagles top offseason needs for the Super Bowl champions. He listed linebackers as the No. 1 overall need, citing injury concerns (Jordan Hicks) and free agency (Nigel Bradham).
  • The Jets are expected to release Muhammad Wilkerson before March 16 when his $16.75 MM salary would be guaranteed for 2018, ESPN’s Rich Cimini writes.
  • The Bears are likely to release TE Dion Sims, the Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs writes. He notes: “It’s important to note that $4 million of that $10 million guarantee does not kick in until March 16, the third day of the league year. Sims has a base salary of $6 million for 2018 and two-thirds of that becomes fully guaranteed then. So a decision on Sims needs to be made in the next five weeks or so and it’s possible, I don’t know how likely, he winds up walking away with only $6 million from the 2017 season.”

East Notes: Dolphins, Patriots, Jets, Eagles

The Dolphins have limited options with linebacker Lawrence Timmons, who left the team on Sunday and forced Miami to file am missing person report, but one avenue could be the left squad list, tweets Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald. That mechanism would force Timmons’ contract to toll, but only if he doesn’t return to the club within five days of notice, per Beasley. The Dolphins could also suspend Timmons for up to four games for conduct detrimental, a move that would void the remaining guarantees in the veteran defender’s deal, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes.

  • Rob Gronkowski left the Patriots‘ win with a groin injury on Sunday, but the superstar tight end says the issue is “nothing serious,” according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.com“Super relieved,” Gronkowski said. “I knew there was nothing really wrong from the beginning, so I’m good.” Despite not playing the fourth quarter, Gronk managed six receptions for 116 yards and one touchdown against the Saints. If Gronkowski does miss time, New England would turn to Dwayne Allen and Jacob Hollister at tight end.
  • Third-year pro Bryce Petty will be the Jets‘ No. 2 quarterback for the “foreseeable future,” head coach Todd Bowles told reporters, including Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News (Twitter link). Petty, who drew trade interest over the summer, was inactive in Week 1 as he recovered from a MCL sprain, but he’s now healthy and set as Josh McCown‘s backup. New York has given no indication that it’s comfortable putting 2016 second-round pick Christian Hackenbergh on the field.
  • The Eagles won’t see rookie running back Donnel Pumphrey again this season, as head coach Doug Pederson said Pumphrey’s hamstring tear is a season-ending injury, reports Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). Pumphrey was originally thought to be dealing with a four-to-six week issue, meaning he could have been a candidate to return from injured reserve after an eight-week absence. Instead, Philadelphia will go forward with Darren Sproles, LeGarrette BlountWendell Smallwood, and Corey Clement in the backfield.

Eagles Place Donnel Pumphrey On IR

Eagles running back Donnel Pumphrey suffered a torn hamstring, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com first reported (Twitter link). The Eagles will place Pumphrey on IR, but he could be a candidate to return since it’s a 4-6 week injury.Donnel Pumphrey (vertical)

Pumphrey, a San Diego State product, was selected in the fourth-round of this year’s draft. The 5’9″ athlete was remarkably efficient in his four years on campus, averaging 6.0 yards per carry and scoring an eye-popping 67 touchdowns.

Although he is behind LeGarrette Blount, Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood, and UDFA Corey Clement on the depth chart, the Eagles were hoping to see what Pumphrey could do this season. They’ll have to wait until at least October now and there’s a chance we won’t see him again this year if two players of greater import wind up as IR-DTR candidates.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles Sign Seven Draft Picks

With the notable exception of first-round defensive end Derek Barnett, all of the Eagles’ draft picks are now under contract. The Eagles have agreed to deals with seven members of their rookie class, per a team announcement. Here’s the list:

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The biggest name included in that group belongs to Jones, who underwent surgery on a torn Achilles in March and won’t return to the field until the fall, at the earliest. Jones’ injury, which occurred on the final rep of his pro day, caused his draft stock to slip after it appeared he’d be a first-rounder. The 6-foot, 181-pounder was a 30-game starter at Washington, where he tallied eight interceptions.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles Acquire Pick #132 From Vikings

The Eagles have moved up in the fourth round. According to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (via Twitter), Philadelphia has acquired pick #132 from the Vikings. Jeff McLane of The Philadelphia Inquirer tweets that Minnesota acquired pick #139 and a seventh-rounder (#230).

The Eagles ultimately used the pick on running back Donnel Pumphrey. The San Diego State product had four productive collegiate seasons, rushing for over 1,000 yards on three different occasions. 2016 was arguably his most productive season, as Pumphrey ran for 2,133 yards and 17 touchdowns on 349 carries. He also hauled in 27 catches for 231 yards.