‘Shocked’ to go undrafted, Philadelphia Eagles’ Corey Clement aims to alter his fortunes
Philadelphia Eagles RB Corey Clement explains how he landed with new team as undrafted free agent
PHILADELPHIA — Corey Clement never expected to wind up undrafted, not after a shabby combine performance and not as he watched countless other names roll off the bottom of his television screen in the late rounds.
An all-Big Ten running back last season, Clement was confident some team would scoop him in the draft. He said his numbers at Wisconsin and his physical tools warranted an opportunity.
But the draft keep inching forward. His cell phone remained silent. And after Clement learned the Broncos used the 253rd and final pick on quarterback Chad Kelly, the reality sunk in: He was an undrafted free agent after all.
Soon after the draft wrapped up April 29, Clement agreed to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles, the team he supported growing up and one in need of a bruising running back. That didn’t dull all the pain, though.
“I thought I was among the best [running backs] in the class,” Clement said. “I was very shocked, very, in other words, just pissed off that I didn’t get my name called on draft day.”
Clement said he’ll aim to flip that anger into motivation as he beings his NFL journey in Philadelphia, where he participated in the first day of Eagles minicamp Friday.
Before he emerged as a star at Wisconsin, Clement grew up Glassboro, N.J., about a 30-minute ride from Lincoln Financial Field. He was an Eagles fans, too, feeling his strongest connection to the team during quarterback Donovan McNabb’s time in Philly from 1999 to 2009.
Clement said the Birds stood out when he was surveying his options in free agency because he relished the chance to play close to home.
“Being able to represent my family and friends in the right manner — there was no hesitation of where I wanted to go,” Clement said.
The Eagles also happen to be lacking an obvious three-down running back or a short-yardage specialist. Offseason neck surgery has left 2016 starter Ryan Mathews with an uncertain future and most of the Eagles’ other running backs are smaller, shiftier players who aren’t suited to carry a full load on the ground or muscle for scores near the goal line.
At 220 pounds, Clement has the size to fill those demanding roles.
But he isn’t convinced the landscape of the Eagles’ depth chart gives him an easier road to the roster. As an undrafted free agent, Clement knows he’s facing an uphill battle.
“Nothing’s guaranteed,” Clement said. “I could have gone somewhere else and had to put in the same amount of work, if not more. At the same time, you got to really be accountable for your own actions, and you just got to put the work in, because you know you could be gone the next day.”
Clement said he won’t make assumptions as he moves forward with his NFL career. After learning of his undrafted fate, he’s prepared for surprises.
But he said he hasn’t lost confidence. Though he still harbors disappointment, Clement has turned his focus toward making the Eagles’ roster and leaving the league as stunned as he was on the final day of the draft.
“Some of the best in history are guys who went undrafted, so I kept it in mind that I want to write my story the right way,” Clement said. “This is just going to make my story much better.”