The first edition of Taking Flight highlighted undrafted defensive back Jeremy Reaves, who is fighting for his right to join the Eagles ‘No Phly Zone’ secondary. Today we discuss Pennsylvania native Josh Adams, a running back from Notre Dame who will be looking to earn a spot on the 53-man roster through an impressive training camp performance.
Adams hails from Warrington, Pa. and played his high school ball at Central Bucks South. Despite missing the majority of his junior season due to an ACL tear, Adams scored 71 total touchdowns in three years at CB South. Even with the injury history, Notre Dame and Brian Kelly had no hesitation in recruiting him. Kelly said in an NBC Sports article,
We were just really confident in a lot of the things that we had seen prior to, and then we were just sold on him as a person and knew that the surgery had gone well. We just felt like all the boxes were checked and it wasn’t a real big gamble for us with him. … I never felt like we were taking a risk.
Josh Adams’ rushing and receiving stats from Central Bucks South:
After splitting carries with C.J. Prosise his freshman season at Notre Dame, Adams took over as the workhorse back his sophomore year. He led the team in carries and yards in 2016 and 2017, and he recorded a collegiate total of 3,537 yards and 22 touchdowns before declaring for the NFL Draft. Adams had the rare opportunity of running behind two first round picks — Quenton Nelson and Mike McGlinchey — and took full advantage of the lanes they created, averaging 110 rushing yards per game his junior season while starting in all thirteen. Standing at 6-2 and weighing 213 pounds, two of the main knocks on Adams are that he takes too much time to accelerate and struggles to find back-cut lanes. However, if he can hit the hole cleanly, his size in the open field can cause problems.
While the elusiveness to avoid tacklers is not quite there, Adams seeks contact and can break through arm tackles with ease. He’s a north-south runner that can absorb the initial contact at the line of scrimmage and still keep his legs churning. Like many backs with that type of physical style, Adams falls forward when he’s brought down to gain some crucial extra yardage.
Despite the holes in his game, Adams can carve out a role on this Eagles roster. While Jay Ajayi will be the feature back with Corey Clement to complement him and Darren Sproles utilized in situational packages, the Eagles may keep Adams around as a fourth back for short yardage and goal-line situations. Similar to the way the Patriots used Mike Gillislee early last season.
Even though Carson Wentz is capable of getting those yards, there is no way the Eagles staff will risk him suffering another injury at the bottom of a pile on the one-yard line. Provided he turns in a solid training camp performance and truly grasps the playbook and offensive schemes, expect Josh Adams to be around on the practice squad at the very least. Depending on injuries and how the depth chart unfolds throughout the preseason, the Eagles will need an insurance policy at running back.