With the 2018 season in the rear-view mirror, we are taking a look back at each player's season, and what to expect from them in the future.
16 Games, 87 rushes, 364 rushing yards, 3 rushing touchdowns, 2 fumbles, 28 receptions, 230 receiving yards, 2 receiving touchdowns
In the must-win game against the Rams, Wendell Smallwood came up big by getting in the endzone twice. On his first TD of the game, Smallwood used his power and swiftness to spin off of a defender and stay on his feet to cross the goal line.
On his second TD in Los Angeles, Smallwood smartly followed the excellent blocking of the offensive line and found a hole big enough to speed through and reach pay dirt.
On his longest touchdown of the season, Smallwood once again let his offensive line do their job. Once everyone had their assignments blocked, Smallwood used his speed to make sure he went untouched into the endzone.
In a game where Jay Ajayi tore his ACL, Wendell Smallwood stepped up and came up big in the passing game. With the Eagles desperate for a score, Smallwood ran a route from the backfield, and allowed Carson Wentz to throw a perfectly placed ball into his hands.
On his last touchdown highlight, Smallwood was the lead back on an important 4th Quarter drive in Week 3. The Eagles marched downfield, and when the opportunity presented itself, Smallwood burst through a hole quick enough to reach the endzone before defenders could try to keep him out. That score ended up being the game-winning TD.
This season was the first of Smallwood's career that he was active for all 16 games. Because of injuries, he was the starting runningback in six of those games.Smallwood got his first taste of postseason play in 2018, as he was inactive for the Super Bowl run last season. He ended up getting 18 carries, and pulling in three receptions in a big role which not many people expected.
Obviously lowlights would come in the form of fumbles, which Smallwood had two of this season - one against the Buccaneers in Week 2, and one against the Giants in Week 6.With injuries to Darren Sproles and Jay Ajayi early in the season, Smallwood had a chance to take advantage of his opportunities and show he could be a feature back. He did not do a good enough job, as eventually Josh Adams became the lead back and ended up with more rushing yards than Smallwood.
Thanks to the coaching staff not trusting Josh Adams in the postseason, Smallwood got his taste at being a feature back in the postseason. He didn't show much though, averaging just 2.9 yards per carry.
Smallwood is the team's lead kick returner, but in his three years of returning kicks, his return yardage has slowly diminished (2016 - 29 yards/return, 2017 - 23.3 yards/return, 2018 - 16.5 yards/return).
Future With The Eagles:
Smallwood's long-term future with the Eagles is interesting, because his future basically depends on other players on the roster. The Eagles have to make decisions whether or not they want to bring back Jay Ajayi and/or Darren Sproles in 2019. If one or both are back next year, then Smallwood would fall down the depth chart. If the Eagles add a runningback in the draft in addition to bringing back one or two of their potential free agent runningbacks, then Smallwood might find himself being traded or cut.
He definitely isn't the worst running back in the league, but this season Smallwood showed that he can't really be anything.