The Eagles selected West Virginia running back Wendell Smallwood in the fifth round of the NFL Draft on Saturday.
Smallwood, a Wilmington native, came with the No. 153 overall pick. The 5-foot-10, 208-pound running back led the Big 12 in rushing last season with 1,519 rushing yards. He added nine touchdowns and caught 26 passes out of the backfield, leaving West Virginia after his junior season. Smallwood ran the 40-yard dash in 4.47 seconds at the combine.
He becomes the first running back the Eagles selected since Bryce Brown in 2012. Smallwood joins a backfield that returns Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles, and Kenjon Barner.
Smallwood was arrested on a warrant of witness tampering following his freshman season, but the charges were dropped when his friend pleaded guilty in a murder case.
The Eagles continued to add to their offensive line on Saturday by drafting Texas Christian offensive tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai in the fifth round.
Vaitai, who is 6-foot-6 and 320 pounds, was a two-year starter for the Horned Frogs. He spent 2014 at right tackle and 2015 at left tackle, and was named second-team all-Big 12 last season. NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock mentioned him last week as a potential candidate in the third round for the Eagles because he was moving up draft boards.
“Can play both sides, and the offensive line coaches around the league love him,” Mayock said.
The Eagles drafted offensive linemen with two of their first four picks after going two years without addressing the position in the draft.
On Friday night, the Eagles drafted their first offensive lineman since 2013, choosing Oregon State’s Isaac Seumalo with the No. 79 overall pick.
Seumalo was selected in the third round with the team’s second pick of the draft, and it was used on a 6-foot-4, 303-pound lineman that coach Doug Pederson said he believes can vie for a starting job and is versatile enough to play every spot on the offensive line.
During free agency, the Eagles signed Brandon Brooks to a five-year, $40 million contract in March to start at right guard, but there will be a competition at left guard. Seumalo could compete with Allen Barbre and Stefen Wisniewski.
The Eagles had an indirect role early in Saturday’s fourth round of the NFL draft.
At the start of the day, the Cleveland Browns had the first and second picks in the fourth round, 99th and 100th overall.
The Browns got the 100th pick in last week’s big trade with the Eagles, who obtained the pick from Tennessee in March when the Eagles sent running back DeMarco Murray to the Titans.
Then on Saturday, the Oakland Raiders traded with the Browns to obtain the 100th pick and chose Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook. The Raiders gave up fourth (No. 114) and fifth (No. 154) round picks in this year’s draft.
NFL Network commentators speculated that the Raiders made the trade to jump ahead of the Dallas Cowboys, who had the 101st pick.
With Tony Romo getting older and having had injuries, the Cowboys might have chosen Cook. The Raiders have their own quarterback needs, as Derek Carr started all 16 games in 2015 for the team, which finished 7-9.
Whatever their intentions, the Cowboys used the 101st pick on Oklahoma defensive end Charles Tapper. Later in the fourth round, Dallas used the 135th pick, a compensatory choice, to select Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott.