Imagine growing up less an hour away from your hometown NFL team for many years and having a chance to make its 53-man roster. This is the opportunity that is in front of undrafted free-agent running back Josh Adams, one of 15 undrafted free agents that the Eagles signed after the 2018 NFL Draft.
The Warrington, PA native is trying to become the second undrafted free agent running back to make the Eagles, following in the footsteps of Corey Clement. Furthermore, just like Clement last season, Adams is in a tightly-contested battle for the fourth running back spot.
Heading into this season, it is expected that running backs Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement, and Darren Sproles will make the 53-man roster. This means that Adams, Wendell Smallwood, Donnel Pumphrey, and Matt Jones are fighting for potentially one spot.
Adams got his first taste of NFL action on Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers and may have started to separate himself from the pack. The former North Dame man saw plenty of action in the second half, showing a considerable amount of burst on his first carry.
The 6-foot-2, 225-pound running back finished the game with 30 rushing yards on six carries. After Thursday’s night preseason contest, Adams spoke at length about his mindset on the field.
“I just tried to take advantage of every opportunity I got. I didn’t know how many carries I was going to get, how many times I was going to be out on the field, so every time I went out there I gave it my all,” he said to reporters.
If you aren’t familiar with Adams’ game that statement perfectly describes what he did at Notre Dame. Over his three-year collegiate career with the Fighting Irish, Adams picked up 3,201 yards on 481 carries with 20 touchdowns.
His best season came as a junior, where he rushed for a career-high 1,430 yards on 206 carries.
Heading into the NFL Draft, the knock on Josh Adams was his speed and elusiveness as he is more a power back. However, he debunked the speed theory after showing some nice bursts on a few carries against the Steelers.
With that being said, Adams felt like he could’ve done better in his first preseason game.
“I always feel like I could do better, that’s what I’m going to focus on. I’m going to look back at this game and see what I could’ve better,” he said. “Right now, I’m just competing. That’s what these preseason games are for, to build myself as the kind of player I want to be. Every practice, every game, I’m just going out there competing.”
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson was impressed with Adams’ performance as he checked multiple checkboxes.
“I thought Josh did a nice job with the amount of play time that he got. All the running backs were going to get some time outside of Darren Sproles. So, it increases Josh’s reps just a little bit,” said Pederson. “He did a really good job in protection, number one, catching the ball out of the backfield, and some of the runs, you can see how big and powerful he is when he hits the edge.”
If Josh Adams can continue to do this for the rest of the preseason, it should put himself in the driver’s seat to win a job on the 53-man roster. However, it will be a tough competition because each of these running backs does something specifically well.
But if you read more into Pederson’s quote, he is definitely looking for a running back that is versatile.
Aforementioned, the Central Bucks West High School star understands the opportunity that is in front of him but cannot get caught up in the allure of playing for his hometown team.
“I’m blessed to here. If it was anywhere, you know, it happened to be the Eagles,” Adams said. “I’m grateful to be a part of the organization, but if it was anywhere I know that the people back home would be proud of me.”
Adams continued, “My family would be excited, so I just took this opportunity to focus on the game, do it for everybody who has supported me and just try to have fun playing football.”
It would truly be a blessing for Josh Adams and his family if his NFL career continued with the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on Sept. 6 to kick off the 2018 regular season.