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Eagles snag former Lions running back to pair with Miles Sanders

Eagles, Kerryon Johnson

The Philadelphia Eagles claimed former Detroit Lions running back Kerryon Johnson off waivers Friday, forming a backfield new tandem with Miles Sanders.

Johnson’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said his client was picked up by the Eagles after the Lions cut the former Auburn star on Thursday, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Johnson had a frustrating three-year run in Detroit. He’ll hope for better success with the Eagles.

The 2018 second-round pick showed pretty good promise in his rookie season, rushing for 641 yards on 5.4 yards per carry and amassing 854 yards from scrimmage in 10 games. He had seemingly asserted himself as the Lions’ running back for the future. But injuries would intercede.

Johnson missed six games in 2018 with a knee injury. He then suffered a torn meniscus and missed half the season in 2019. The health issues prompted the Lions to select D’Andre Swift in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft. It was essentially a wrap from there.

Swift dazzled especially at the end of the season with his ability to break off big runs and be a viable receiver out of the backfield. Johnson, meanwhile, struggled to be effective, averaging just 3.5 yards per carry.

The Eagles will hope Johnson can bring a change of pace to their backfield. Whereas Sanders is more of a shifty back, Johnson is a power runner who excels especially between the tackles.

Philly ranked third in yards per carry in 2020, though the Eagles ranked just 23 in rushing attempts. That should change this season as they look to make things a bit easier for second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts.

Johnson (if healthy) should play a role in the Eagles’ rushing attack alongside Sanders.