The Eagles picked running back Miles Sanders out of Penn State with their No. 53 pick on Friday night, and the Pittsburgh native didn’t have far to travel Saturday morning for his first day at the NovaCare Complex.
Sanders spoke to the media for the first time as an NFL player just before Round 4 got underway, and talked about what he learned from working with (and behind) Saquon Barkley, and being excited to learn from Duce Staley.
Here’s what the running back had to say:
Role with the Eagles
Sanders talked about being used to being part of a rotating running back system, and that he’s not a selfish player and is used to splitting reps — even going back to his high school days. He’s ready to do whatever is needed of him, including takings snaps on special teams, to help the Eagles win another Championship.
“I feel like I’m just going through the motions right now. It hasn’t really hit me. I’m an NFL football player now.”
He talked about how Duce Staley is a really “smart dude” and someone who loves talking football, being on the field, and teaching the game as well. Sanders noted he’s very coachable and is looking forward to being able to learn a lot from Duce. The running back also said Staley was super excited when he made the call last night.
On why the front office and coaching staff was so unanimous in their excitement about being able to get Sanders — especially at No. 53 — the running back explained that it was probably his character, and that he’s a very humble and respectful guy.
He met with a lot of teams in the offseason, and he’s blessed that the Eagles chose him as the second round pick.
Sanders was asked about being a high pick for the Eagles at running back and someone the fans will be keeping a close eye on. He talked about playing in front of 100,000 people at Penn State, so he doesn’t think any stage will be too big for him. He’s just looking forward to getting with the guys and earning their respect.
On his development as a player
Sanders said he learned a lot from Saquon Barkley, including how to watch film and things both on and off the field during his time as the No. 2 behind him. He talked a little bit about how it was tough to be a highly recruited guy and have to sit back and watch Barkley get the majority of carries, but that his commitment to the program never wavered.
He said he kind of keeps to himself a bit, and so the person he goes to most when he’s being challenged is his Mom. He never thought about transferring, though, joking that it would have been a way longer process, and he likes to compete, so he stayed patient and it worked out.
Sanders said he wants to get better at everything, not just pass-blocking specifically. He also talked a bit about his process since the college season wrapped up in terms of working on his receiving skills.
Sanders mentioned that he spent a lot of time catching jugs, working the jugs machine, and also working with Trace McSorley throughout the offseason to try and perfect his hands. He wants to be a running back that can be on the field for all three downs.
The running back said that he considers his type of running style his own, but that he does watch film of guys like Barkely, Ezekiel Elliott and Todd Gurley.