Friday, January 20, 2023

Eagles Add Ex-Oklahoma Offensive MVP to Loaded RB Stable

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The Philadelphia Eagles signed running back Kennedy Brooks to a reserve/future contract Thursday. He joins Tristin McCollum and Julian Good-Jones in the non-active roster that allows the Eagles to retain their rights in the offseason. These are solid, forward-thinking steps that only cost a minimal vet contract.

Back to Brooks. He was original signed by the eagles as an undrafted rookie free agent from Oklahoma. The 5-foot-11, 209-pounder hopped around Philly’s practice squad before being released in November. Obviously, they saw some talent in the former Jalen Hurts college teammate.

Brooks rushed for 3,320 yards and 31 touchdowns in 38 games for the Sooners. He was named the 2021 Alamo Bowl offense MVP after rumbled for 142 yards on 14 carries with 3 touchdowns in that one. His Oklahoma career numbers could have been even stronger had he not retired from the 2020 season. The next year he was a semifinalist to Earl Campbell Tyler Rose.

Hurts’ relationship with Brooks went viral earlier this year when a video resurfaced revealing the nickname “Little Old Man,” a tongue-in-cheek (compliment?) slap at Brooks’ lack of speed.

“I call him Paw because he walks around like a little old man,” Hurts said in 2019. “But no, he’s a great backrunner.”

Now he will join a loaded Eagles backfield of Miles Sanders, Kenny Gainwell, Boston Scott and Trey Sermon. The team does not wear running backs on the practice team.

For the record, Brooks ran the 40-yard dash in a somewhat disappointing 4.59 seconds. Hurts seemed to appreciate their time together in the Oklahoma backfield, “paw-paw” joke and everything. Hurts and Brooks were also collegiate teammates for Eagles rookie tight end Grant Calcaterra.

Not everyone was thrilled with Brooks leaving college. Though he rushed for 1,253 yards and 13 touchdowns during his senior campaign, the Landry Award winner was largely underestimated by NFL scouts. NFL Media’s Lance Zeirlein predicted Brooks would go into Round 6 or Round 7, with a glowing review:

Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline had a far less enthusiastic scouting report: “Brooks was a solid running back in Oklahoma, but he has limitations going to the next level. He is an undersized power runner with average speed and passing ability.”

Quarterback Jalen Hurts did not carry an injury designation on the last injury report. He’s suspended and loaded for the playoffs after a strong week of training in which he showed no limitations or aftermath.

Meanwhile, Lane Johnson with the right tackle and Linval Joseph with the defensive tackle became eligible to play. The only player restricted on Thursday was defensive end Brandon Graham, who is dealing with a non-COVID illness. He will dress on Saturday but not Avonte Maddox after being officially ruled out.

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