Imagine being the head football coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions, having a generational type of talent like Saquon Barkley, and knowing you have the former number-one running back recruit in the country, Miles Sanders. That’s exactly the situation James Franklin was in two seasons ago. Following the most recent NFL Draft, where the Eagles took two Nittany Lions with their five picks (they’d sign two more after the draft’s conclusion), PSU’s head coach, James Franklin spoke with Fran Duffy and Amy Franklin of Eagles Draft Central.
Two Pennsylvania guys, who were former teammates, now play on opposite sides, and hopefully, we’ll see some great duels over the next few seasons with Sanders donning the midnight green.
‘You’re going to love them (both Sanders and defensive end Shareef Miller). They’re great players, but they’re better people and you’re going to really enjoy getting to know these guys over the next couple of years’ Franklin said on Saturday.
Sanders didn’t earn a starting spot in the Nittany Lions offense until this past season when he was a junior. Once he was given his opportunity, he responded with 220 rushing attempts, 1,274 yards, and nine touchdowns.
These days, the NFL doesn’t seem as excited as they once were to go with running backs early unless they’re certain they’re once in a generation types of tailbacks. Sanders may not be seen as that, which is why he slipped to Round 2, but by joining a nice stable with Philadelphia, and by having Duce Staley to guide him, we may be looking at one of those ‘steals’ a la Alvin Kamara.
Philly’s style of play seems to be suited for Sanders’ skill set. Might he flourish in Year 4 of the Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz era? We say he’s got an awesome shot to do so.