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Will New RB William Powell Make The Team?

RB William Powell will push for a roster spot in training camp

RB William Powell will push for a roster spot in training camp

The Eagles claimed ex-Cardinals RB William Powell off waivers on Wednesday, cutting WR Nick Miller in a corresponding roster move. Powell, a 25-year-old Kansas State product, amassed 59 carries last season, caught 19 passes, and sometimes served as the team’s kickoff return specialist.

The 5’9″, 207 back gives the Eagles another solid ball carrier to add to the stable of LeSean McCoy, Bryce Brown, and Felix Jones. Powell doesn’t have the size or power to move the pile, but he has a thick lower body and runs with good pad level, which helps him absorb contact and run through arm tackles.

Powell’s long speed leaves much to be desired (4.63 40-yard-dash at his pro day), but he is quite shifty. He makes quick, decisive cuts, changes direction easily, and can make people miss at the second level. He prefers to run outside, but he can also be effective between the tackles. After the new regime in Arizona signed Rashard Mendenhall and drafted Andre Ellington and Stepfan Taylor this offseason, the writing was on the wall for Powell.

While Powell certainly won’t be guaranteed a roster spot in Philadelphia, he enters a more favorable situation since Chip Kelly hasn’t brought in as many new backs as Bruce Arians in the desert. Yes, LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown are locks to make the roster, but he will have a chance to leapfrog Chris Polk and Felix Jones on the depth chart. He’s much quicker than Polk and doesn’t have Jones’ dreaded injury prone label. Powell’s effort on the kick return and punt coverage units should also help him endear himself to Chip Kelly, who places a premium on special teams. Though he is a legitimate NFL talent, he finds himself squarely on the roster bubble in a somewhat crowded Philly backfield. If Kelly decides to keep four tailbacks, Powell’s chances of making the final 53 look good, but if the Eagles only carry three, he will likely be on the outside looking in.

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