Eagles Draft RB Wendell Smallwood
UPDATE: Soon after Smallwood was drafted, inappropriate tweets (Warning: NSFW Link) from his account surfaced, including several from 2011. Smallwood later deleted his Twitter account.
Howie Roseman addressed the tweets and Smallwood’s 2014 arrest, when according to NFL.com, Smallwood was accused of intimidating a witness in a fatal shooting case. According to the Delaware News Journal, prosecutors dropped the charges against Smallwood after his friend plead guilty to second-degree murder.
“As part of our research on all our draft picks, we look at social media. We are aware of the statements that he made; they were in 2011. A lot has changed between now and then. We don’t condone anything he said, but we spent a lot of time with him and we feel that this is a good kid,” Roseman said.
“We did a lot of background onto Wendell with our security team, with the league’s security and again, he was never charged with anything. We’re very comfortable bringing him in here. He’s got to prove it on and off the field, but we have no doubts about what kind of player and person he is.”
According to the News Journal, prosecutors said there was no evidence that any threats were actually made against the woman, although there was a recording of Smallwood and his friend discussing how to get the witness to change her story.
The News Journal also cited court papers and prosecutors, reporting that Smallwood told his friend, “I almost got her beat up.” Meanwhile, Smallwood’s friend told Smallwood: “She is the main key, we need her. … Tell her to go to the police station and tell her we never see her.”
Roseman said the Eagles felt comfortable drafting Smallwood after meeting him and learning more about him.
“He didn’t do anything wrong,” Roseman said. “He went to go see a relative and there was no indication that anything he did was wrong in that. The school did its own investigation as well [and] reinstated him to the team.”
The Eagles selected West Virginia running back Wendell Smallwood in the fifth round with the No. 153 pick.
Here’s what NFL.com has to say about the 5-10, 208-pound back who led the Big 12 in rushing in 2015, but was also arrested in 2014:
Arrested on a warrant for a witness tampering charge. Smallwood was accused of telling someone to recant their statement accusing one of his friends in a fatal shooting case. The charges were officially dropped when his friend pleaded guilty in the murder case, allowing Smallwood to continue his football career.
Hits the crease with proper pad level and can spin off of initial tackle attempt on his way to additional yardage. Attacks his foes with lead shoulder at the end of the run for an aggressive finish. Runs a disciplined track as zone runner using solid vision and steady tempo. One of the sharpest players on the offense. Scans and spots blitzers on the creep and steps over to meet them as a blocker. Possesses exceptional hands as an option out of the backfield.
Can use more beef on his frame to handle the rigors of the NFL. Monotone runner who tends to keep his runs at one speed. Not flashy or particularly creative as a runner. Gets what is blocked and is more of a physical finisher than tackle breaker. Has an extended gear down on outside zone to hit downhill cuts. Average athleticism and lacks the sudden jump cut.
Smallwood changed West Virginia from an “Air Raid” offense to a “ground and pound” attack. Smallwood’s tape features few, true flash plays, but the quality runs seem to stack up one after another. His intelligence in pass pro and ability to catch the ball out of the backfield give him an immediate shot as a third-down back, but his combine could determine whether he hears his name on Day 3 of the draft or not.