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Kerryon Johnson expects to 'compete' for carries in crowded Eagles backfield

All of a sudden, the Philadelphia Eagles running back room became crowded.

The Eagles scooped up Kerryon Johnson off the waiver wire from Detroit, adding the 23-year-old to a diverse backfield that includes Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, Jordan Howard, Jason Huntley, fifth-round rookie Kenneth Gainwell and former undrafted free agents Elijah Holyfield and Adrian Killins Jr..

It's a deep group, with Sanders slated for the bulk of the reps in Nick Sirianni's system. Johnson welcomes the chance to carve out a role in his new surroundings.

"My expectation is to compete. I don't think having a crowded room full of talented guys is ever an issue," Johnson said, via the Philly Inquirer. "It's going to make every single player better. ... You've got three very proven guys in this league. You've got three very young guys coming in hungry, and this is all going to make us all better."

A second-round pick by the Lions in 2018, Johnson flashed play-making ability off the bat, with explosiveness to make splash plays, averaging 5.4 yards per carry as a rookie. Knee injuries, however, sideswiped each of his first two seasons, relegating him to just 18 games played in 2018 and 2019. Last season, Detroit drafted his replacement in D'Andre Swift. Johnson stayed healthy but was relegated to just 52 carries before ultimately being waived after the draft.

The running back told Philadelphia reporters that he's healthy and feels "better than I've felt in a long time" as he joins his new squad.

Sirianni has experience with offenses juggling deep backfields. In his final seasons in Los Angeles, Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler shared snaps. Last year in Indianapolis, the Colts had a deep backfield even after Marlon Mack went down with an injury in Week 1. Jonathan Taylor worked his way into the lead role, but Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins each played significant roles.

With the yearly backfield attrition, too much depth is never a concern.

Johnson knows it's on him to earn a role, whether carrying the ball, catching passes, or blocking, which is one of his top attributes.

"Being able to do different things is always going to earn you a spot in this league," Johnson said. "I just have to make sure that I go out there and prove that I'm multifaceted. Go out there and prove that I know what do. First and foremost, that'll get you benched quicker than anything."

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