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Eagles could draft a running back, and MarShawn Lloyd compares to D’Andre Swift

INDIANAPOLIS — While seated in the back of his mother’s car as a high schooler, Southern California running back MarShawn Lloyd learned the value of patience.
For four years, Lloyd and his mother, Na-Shawn, drove two hours each way from their home in Wilmington, Del. to DeMatha Catholic in Hyattsville, Md. At the NFL scouting combine on Friday, Lloyd explained that his mother saw his potential as a young football player and wanted the best for him, opting to haul Lloyd 200 miles a day round-trip to be a part of a program that produced the likes of Eagles Hall of Fame running back Brian Westbrook and former Eagles safety Rodney McLeod.
“We woke up at 4:45 every morning, left the house by 5:15, drove two hours there and back,” Lloyd said. “Got to school around 7:15. Worked with my academic support teacher until 8:15 till school started. Then from there, I just had school, practice, and then got home around 10 o’clock and started all over again.”
That sense of patience has served the 23-year-old Lloyd well on the gridiron, too, throughout three years at South Carolina and one at Southern California. In a pre-combine news conference with the media, NFL Network draft analyst and former Eagles scout Daniel Jeremiah lauded Lloyd for his patience and explosiveness as a running back with an “aggressive, attacking running style.”
Lloyd ranks among the top running back prospects in the draft next month, averaging 7.07 yards per carry in 2023 (No. 4 among FBSrunning backs). But he and his peers may have to be patient while waiting to hear their names called on the draft stage, according to Jeremiah. He said that he has six to eight running backs who are closely graded, but none of them have the high marks that he gave 2023 draftees Bijan Robinson, the Atlanta Falcons’ No. 8 overall pick out of Texas, and Jahmyr Gibbs, the Detroit Lions’ No. 12 overall pick out of Alabama.
“I wonder if we’re going to see a game of chicken in the second round where teams are saying, well, we have the grade to take this guy here, but we don’t want to be the first one in line,” Jeremiah said. “We just need to make sure we’re not the last one in line.
“Does that push the running backs down? Maybe we could get to the bottom of the second, maybe even the top of the third round, and then once the first one goes, I think you’ll see all these guys come off the board.”
The Eagles could be among the teams in the mix for a running back in the draft and in free agency depending on how the next two weeks play out. D’Andre Swift, Boston Scott, and Rashaad Penny are all set to become unrestricted free agents at the start of the new league year on March 13, leaving Kenneth Gainwell as the lone running back on the 2023 active roster currently under contract for next season.
Could the Eagles identify their replacement for Swift through the draft, particularly where Jeremiah expects the top prospects to begin to come off the board? The Eagles are projected to have three selections on Day 2, including two picks in the second round and one compensatory pick in the third round.
But in his tenure as Eagles general manager, Howie Roseman has only selected one running back in the first three rounds. The Eagles took Miles Sanders in the second round, No. 53 overall in the 2019 draft out of Penn State.
Still, if the Eagles want a similar back as Swift on a rookie deal, Jeremiah listed him as a comparison for the 5-foot-9, 217-pound Lloyd. As an Eagles fan, Lloyd appreciates Swift’s slippery style of play, a quality that he emulates in his own game.
“I like the way he moves,” Lloyd said. “From the way he gets in and out of his cuts, how good of a runner he is. Quick. Really quick. He breaks tackles, gets away from defenders.”
Jeremiah touted Lloyd and Tennessee’s Jaylen Wright as his two favorite running backs in the draft. The 5-foot-11, 210-pound Wright, who Jeremiah described as “the fastest, the most explosive” of the top prospects at the position, was the featured back in Tennessee’s offense for the past two seasons. He hit 1,000 single-season rushing yards in 2023 faster than any other player in school history, underscoring his ability to handle a heavy workload.
“Just real springy and juicy, stop-start quickness, home run hitter, finishes runs,” Jeremiah said. “He can get skinny through the hole. Really, really quick feet. He is 210 pounds, so he has a little bit of size to him. Enough size to him.”
Texas’ Jonathan Brooks is viewed as one of the top running backs in the draft, but he suffered a torn ACL in November. Despite playing just 10 games in 2023, Brooks rushed for 1,139 yards, ranking No. 14 in team history. Brooks said on Friday that he is 12 weeks into his recovery and he is expected to be ready for the start of training camp.
The Eagles will have their options at running back — and the draft capital to nab one — as they face a potential remaking of the room.
Olivia Reiner is a reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer
Source: Morningcall

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