Whether it was due to injury or coach's preference, the Philadelphia Eagles started four different running backs at various points in 2018. Rookie Miles Sanders expects the team to take a similar approach in 2019.
Sanders, who was selected 53rd overall in April, is no stranger to having to wait patiently until his number is called, having played behind Giants star Saquon Barkley for two years at Penn State. In the case of his rookie season, though, the opportunities may come sooner for Sanders than they usually would for a player taken later in the draft.
"It's definitely going to be competitive. That's what I like about rooms likes this. It was like this at Penn State. It was a very talented running back room. But I'm just used to that stuff: competing and making each other better. Nobody's really going to be the star running back, I think," said Sanders on Total Access on Tuesday. "I think the ball's going to be spread out a lot, and that's what I kind of like, too.
"Everybody's getting a touch in the game and then just affecting the game in any type of way. So, I'm willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win."
In 2018, offensive coordinator Mike Groh took a "running back by committee" approach in his first year with the Eagles. 14-year veteran Darren Sproles kicked off Week 1 as the starter but the majority of the carries went to Jay Ajayi in a win against the Falcons.
Prior to Week 2, Sproles suffered a hamstring injury in practice, resulting in Ajayi, Wendell Smallwood and undrafted rookie Josh Adams being mixed in and out of the starting lineup for the rest of the season. Sproles would return in Week 12 and start one more game in Week 15.
Sanders will join a backfield stacked with talent, including Smallwood and Adams -- the team leader in rushing yards last season -- as well as fellow Big Ten alums in Corey Clement and Jordan Howard, whom the team acquired from the Bears in March. Howard started 44 games in his three seasons with Chicago and was named to the Pro Bowl in 2016.