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June 22, 2017

Eagles rookie NFL player comparisons: Donnel Pumphrey

Eagles NFL

During the dead period of the NFL calendar, as we did in 2015 and in 2016, we'll be comparing each of the Eagles' rookies to current or retired NFL players. Today, we'll take a look at fourth-round running back Donnel Pumphrey.

In case you missed the first four entries of this series, you can find them here:

• First round: DE Derek Barnett
• Second round: CB Sidney Jones
• Third round: CB Rasul Douglas
Fourth round: WR Mack Hollins

The obvious comparison to make for Pumphrey is current Eagle Darren Sproles. In fact, waaaaay back in October of last year in our Eagles Grocery Shopping series, we pegged Pumphrey as a potential Eagles target who could eventually take over many of Sproles' roles.

That's too easy. In three of our first four editions of this series, we've gone with old school comparisons. We'll do the same for Pumphrey here.

The player comparison I like for Pumphrey is former do-everything guy Glyn Milburn, who played for the Broncos, Lions, Bears and Chargers as a running back, receiver, kick returner, and punt returner.

Milburn was listed at 5'8, 177, while Pumphrey measured in at the Combine at 5'8, 176. Like Milburn, Pumphrey could have a role playing a variety of positions in the NFL. Here's Milburn breaking the record for most all-purpose yards in a single game, a record that still stands:

From his fourth season in the pros on, Milburn was mostly just a kick and punt return specialist, but in his first three seasons, he also played a significant role in the Broncos' offense. We noted the dynamic role the Eagles seem to have in mind for Pumphrey, when we named him among the five players who impressed during spring practices:

In spring practices, Pumphrey got more reps than any other back on the roster, and the Eagles moved him all around the formation. It seems pretty clear that they want to get him involved in the offense in a dynamic role.

Additionally, Pumphrey looked comfortable fielding kicks and punts. That's not something he did much of in college games, since he essentially was San Diego State's offense, and they didn't want to risk getting him injured on special teams. However, it is something he worked on in practice every day at SDSU, which is already serving him well at the pro level.

In his first three seasons in the NFL, Milburn averaged 53 carries for 233 yards and 46 catches for 347 yards, while also returning punts and kicks. His downfall was ball security, as he had an absurd 15 fumbles over those first three years.

I see similar type of numbers for Pumphrey in his first three years, minus the extreme fumbling.

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