The NCAA all-time leading rusher, former Philadelphia Eagles 2017 fourth-round pick Donnel Pumphrey will be among a group of running backs to work out for the Detroit Lions on Tuesday, according to Adam Schefter.
That the Lions would be working out running backs at this stage means one of two things, either they’re looking for someone who can complete their practice squad or they’re looking for someone to replace a running back they’re trying to trade. This will, of course, further trade speculation into the fate of former Lions second-round pick Ameer Abdullah, for whom trade talk has been a topic of conversation since Kerryon Johnson was drafted by the team this year.
Former Eagles’ RB Donnel Pumphrey working out for the Lions with other RB’s on Tuesday, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 3, 2018
Drafted only just last season, Pumphrey’s career was off to a rocky start from the jump. Failing to crack the gameday lineup and repping as the RB5, he tore his hamstring in September and landed on injured reserve. After failing to compete well enough in his second training camp, he was let go by the Super Bowl champion Eagles and cleared waivers without a single claim.
Donnel Pumphrey has what I tend to call a typical straight line profile. Good speed, little else. Lack of explosion is a big reason Pumphrey has struggled as a pro, as it's a trait used to illustrate how quickly he can get up to speed in a more frenetic environment than a track. pic.twitter.com/pvxYPVF5dX— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) September 3, 2018
His college career was much more notable. The diminutive Pumphrey would rush for over 6,400 yards over four seasons and over 7,400 yards from scrimmage. This was including rushing for 2,133 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2016 at 6.1 yards per carry.
Despite his elite production, his athletic profile didn’t suggest a player who could be successful at the NFL level, coming in seriously undersized and without the requisite explosion to take advantage of his superior long speed.
It’s unknown at this time what other running backs are working out for the team, and with Pumphrey’s practice squad eligibility we can’t even judge whether they’re looking at regular roster or practice squad.
San Francisco 49ers running back Jerick McKinnon tore his ACL in practice, reigniting trade speculation that the Lions would send them Ameer Abdullah for some sort of compensation. If the Lions are looking at someone who can join their regular roster, that sort of trade could be more than just a rumor.