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Within the span of 24 hours, Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles were released, which sent Eagles fans into panic mode over which used-to-be great running back the team should pursue. The answer, of course, is neither. Peterson will turn 32...

Eagles position analysis: Running backs | Why they don't need Adrian Peterson or Jamaal Charles

Within the span of 24 hours, Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles were released, which sent Eagles fans into panic mode over which used-to-be great running back the team should pursue. The answer, of course, is neither. Peterson will turn 32...

Eagles position analysis: Running backs | Why they don't need Adrian Peterson or Jamaal Charles

Within the span of 24 hours, Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles were released, which sent Eagles fans into panic mode over which used-to-be great running back the team should pursue.

The answer, of course, is neither.

Peterson will turn 32 later this month and is coming off a serious knee injury that saw him play in just three games last season and gain just 72 yards on 37 carries before he got hurt.

It doesn't seem that long ago that AP was the best back in the league. Now, he's damaged goods. He's shown in the past that he can come back from injury, or suspension, and be the best. But even his biggest supporters aren't sure any more.

"I know AP, I love AP,'' an executive with a NFC team said. "I don't want to count him out, because you can never count him out. But he's 32 and he's been through a lot. I just don't know.''

Tight end analysis

Charles will turn 31 at the end of the season and has played in a total of eight games the past two years. He had 12 carries for 40 yards in the three games he barely played in 2016.

Yes, he knows Doug Pederson's offense, because it's basically the same one he ran in Kansas City where he was one of the top backs in the AFC. But again eight games in two years.

"It's over,'' the same executive said of Charles. "He just can't stay healthy anymore. There's nothing left.''

The Eagles don't need an old band-aid at the running back position. They need another young back to pair with second-year man Wendell Smallwood to grow with quarterback Carson Wentz.

There are plenty of those in this year's draft, or if the Eagles prefer to use the draft to fill their glaring holes at cornerback, wide receiver, linebacker and on the offensive line, than there are younger more durable backs in free agency, such as the Raiders' Latavius Murray, a 230-pound bruiser, who scored 12 touchdowns last season.

What they have: Wendell Smallwood, Darren Sproles, Ryan Mathews (for now), Byron Marshall.

What they need: Someone to pair with Smallwood in a back by committee approach that Pederson seems to favor.

Analysis: Mathews will be gone once the two sides agree on an injury settlement (an injured player just can't be released). Sproles, in his final season, will do what he does and be a good 3rd-down back. Marshall will come to camp, but is a back-up type player at best. 

What Eagles need to accomplish at NFL Combine

Mark Eckel may be reached at mjeck04@verizon.net. Follow him on Twitter @MarkEckel08. Find NJ.com Eagles on Facebook.

Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.

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