Well, here we are folks. We’ve reached the fourth quarter of the 2019 NFL season. We’ve already had a good deal of excitement during NFL Week 14, but like we do every Monday, it’s time to focus on tonight’s NFC East Monday Night Football matchup of the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles for our Monday Night Rookies series. The New York Giants have already been featured in our series earlier this year with our focus on QB Daniel Jones. Today we will take a look at the Eagles rookie running back Miles Sanders. Sanders has taken over as Philadelphia’s number one RB with Jordan Howard currently out with an injury and has put together some respectable stats so on the season so far.

College career

Miles Sanders played running back for Penn State for the 2016-2018 seasons. During this time, he ran for 276 total attempts for 1,649 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. He also completed 32 receptions through the air for 193 receiving yards and a touchdown. Sanders completed his final season at Penn State ranked the 15th running back in the nation with 1,274 rushing yards. He would forego his senior season of college football to declare for the 2019 NFL Draft. Sanders was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles in the second round as the 53rd overall pick of the NFL Draft.

PFN OSM Trends

Sanders has a current overall OSM grade of 9.37 on the season. The places his as RB43 which compares him this year to Kenyan Drake, Marlon Mack, and Devonta Freeman. The Pro Football Network Offensive Share Metric determines a player’s individual effectiveness in a game that is separate from the performance of his teammates.

During the earlier weeks of the season, the Eagles were using Sanders as more of a receiving back resulting in fewer touches and fewer sparks on the field. However, in the recent weeks, Sanders has been getting more looks as the Eagles lead running back with their starter Jordan Howard out with a shoulder injury. This has resulted in an OSM trend that is moving in a positive direction with more opportunity ahead of him for the remainder of the regular season.

Next Gen Stats

According to NFL’s Next Gen Stats, Miles Sanders is currently averaging 4.5 yards per attempt that is ranked 19th in the league. Interestingly, the 20th ranked RB in the league for this stat at 4.4 yards per attempt is Jordan Howard. Sanders is also ranked tenth in the NFL for average amount of time spent behind the line of scrimmage at 2.91 seconds.

For a player’s AVG yardage, Next Gen will focus on the average number of yards that he is able to pick up per attempt. Sanders has a talent of being able to allow some hesitation behind the line of scrimmage and waiting for space to open which has resulted in some big plays for him. The following clip is an example of one of these higher yardage plays. This is from NFL Week 9 against the Chicago Bears. In this clip, pay attention to the hesitation after the snap as Sanders waits for the hole in the Bears defense to appear. Sanders is able to exploit this and pick up 11 yards in the Red Zone for a first down. Sanders would finish this game with an OSM Grade of 13.49 which placed him at RB18 that week in the National Football League.

Let’s take another look at that hesitation. Next Gen looks at this stat as the players Average TLOS (time behind line of scrimmage). Next Gen will measure the amount of time that a player spends before crossing the LOS on all of his rushing attempts. This clip is from Week 12 against the Seattle Seahawks. Once again, we see Sanders create a step of hesitation allowing a big hole to open and he will pick up 12 yards against Seattle’s defense.

With Howard still out, Miles Sanders hopes to make the best of the opportunity he’s been getting over the last several weeks as the starter for the Eagles. Tonight’s matchup won’t be a walk in the park for him though against a Giants defense that has been playing well against the run recently. But with Sanders coming off the best performance of his professional career, he will hopefully be able to carry that momentum into tonight’s game and create some big numbers for Philadelphia.

Remember to check back here every Monday morning to take a look at our latest Monday Night Rookie. Next week we will feature a player from the Monday Night Football matchup of the Indianapolis Colts at the New Orleans Saints. Do you have a favorite Colts or Saints rookie that you would like to be featured? Join in on the conversation on Facebook or let us know on Twitter.