It's wait and see for the Eagles and the running backs they drafted

Would you rather have Sidney Jones and Donnel Pumphrey or Dalvin Cook? That is essentially what it would have cost - a cornerback and a running back - for the Eagles to trade up for the Florida State tailback.

It's a fair question to ask looking at the team's depth chart at running back after the NFL draft. And it's one the Eagles certainly asked themselves in some form on Friday night. Do we give up second- and fourth-round picks for one player?

The Eagles attempted to trade up for Cook in the second round, an NFL source said. But, for whatever reason, they didn't pull off the exchange.

"We don't discuss trade scenarios," Howie Roseman said Saturday, a day after the Eagles vice president of football operations opted to stay at No. 43 and select Jones, who suffered an Achilles tendon rupture last month.

It was unclear where exactly the Eagles had tried to jump for Cook - who some draft analysts expected to go in the first round - and if they had decided the price was too steep. But they would have needed to hurdle at least three spots if they wanted to block the Vikings, who traded up seven slots for the productive tailback.

Minnesota forfeited the No. 48 overall pick and a fourth-rounder (128th overall) to draft Cook. Asked if he thought the Vikings made the trade to get ahead of the Eagles, Roseman said, "Maybe."

The Eagles' interest in Cook was no secret. He was one of their 30 pre-draft visits at the NovaCare Complex, and there was increasing industry buzz that he could even be slotted to the Eagles with the No. 14 overall pick. But every team passed on the Miami native in the first round, partly because of questions about character.

But Cook wasn't going to get past the second round. He almost fell into the Eagles' lap, but they settled instead for Jones - another first-round-caliber talent, although it may take at least a year before he returns to that level.

But cornerback, it can be argued, was a greater need than running back. And the Eagles did address the latter position when they took Pumphrey with the second of their two fourth-round picks Saturday. But will the San Diego State product be enough of a pull from a class that Roseman had repeatedly said was historically deep at running back?

The offseason isn't over, but as it stands they don't have an obvious lead ballcarrier. Roseman and coach Doug Pederson tried to sell Ryan Mathews as one of the possible answers.

"When he's right," Pederson said, "he's right."

But the injury-prone veteran is hardly ever right. He underwent neck surgery in January and still isn't 100 percent healthy. He also carries a $5 million salary cap number that more than likely will need to be trimmed so that the Eagles can sign their rookies.

"Ryan Mathews is on this team," Roseman said. "Can I tell you anyone who is going to be on this team in September, and we're here in April?"

Darren Sproles, per usual, is another option. But the 33-year-old has said several times that he expects 2017 to be his last season. Wendell Smallwood, who flashed as a rookie last year, could be a candidate, but the Eagles have been reluctant to give the former fifth-rounder that designation.

"I think Wendell has a role on this football team," Pederson said. "We saw sort of glimpses of it last season when he had a chance to play."

And then there's Pumphrey, whom the Eagles did trade up for, surrendering a seventh-rounder to move up seven spots in the fourth round. He was a workhorse in college, having rushed 1,059 times for 6,405 yards and left the Aztecs as the leading rusher in NCAA Division I-A history.

But he's small. It would be unwise to discount the 5-foot-9, 180-pound running back - as many once did Sproles - but very few lead tailbacks in the NFL have been as slight.

"Don't let the size fool you," Joe Douglas, Eagles vice president of player personnel, said. "This guy is a little dog that thinks he's a big dog, and he plays that way."

Byron Marshall and Terrell Watson, who had some late-season snaps after Mathews and Smallwood (knee) suffered injuries, are also on the roster. But their chances of cracking the game-day lineup are slim.

The Eagles had already signed at least one undrafted rookie running back as of Saturday night, Wisconsin's Cory Clement. And Roseman could always pull a trade out of his bag of tricks. But more than likely Sproles, Smallwood, and Pumphrey will share the load.

"I don't want to say running back-by-committee," Pederson said. "But at the same time, I think we have enough to get the job done, especially with our offensive line and tight ends, too."

Carson Wentz threw 607 passes last season, the second-most ever for an NFL rookie quarterback. The Eagles upgraded at wide receiver in free agency, and they drafted two more on the third day. But they didn't surround Wentz with an obvious top-tier skill-position prospect.

They loved running back Christian McCaffrey, but the Panthers chose him with the eighth overall pick. The three top receivers - Corey Davis, Mike Williams, and John Ross - were off the board by No. 9. They passed on tight end O.J. Howard. And they fell short of Cook and skipped on controversial Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon, whom the Bengals took at No. 48.

The Eagles needed to upgrade on defense, and the Jones gamble could pay off handsomely. But will they come to regret not doing more at running back in this draft?

"We're really excited to make sure that we got Pumphrey," Roseman said, "and then we like the players that are in the building."

jmclane@phillynews.com

@Jeff_McLane