2024 NFL Draft

The cool text Will Shipley received just after being drafted by Eagles

Shortly after Will Shipley was drafted by the Eagles, he got a text message from Saquon Barkley. And he can't wait to learn from him.

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Running back Will Shipley hadn’t been an Eagle for very long before he got a very cool text.

Apparently, Saquon Barkley is pretty quick of the field too.

Because not long after the Eagles drafted Shipley out of Clemson in the fourth round on Saturday, the Eagles’ two-time Pro Bowl running back made sure to welcome his new understudy to Philly.

“[Barkley] reached out just over my draft day phone. I’m sure he got the number from the Eagles,” Shipley said on a Zoom call with Eagles reporters. “Just shot me a text and said, ‘Congratulations, Get ready to work.’ So I'm ready to get after it.”

The Eagles took Shipley with the 127th overall pick in the 2024 Draft and will add him to a running back room that already included Barkley and fourth-year pro Kenny Gainwell. Shipley will likely figure into the rotation from Day 1.

At Clemson, Shipley was known for his dual-threat ability as a runner and a receiving threat out of the backfield. Barkley was the No. 2 overall pick back in 2018 and is one of the best dual threat running backs in the NFL.

So Shipley can’t wait to work with and learn from him. 

“Yeah, that's going to be one of the biggest things for me, is to go on and just try and get as much knowledge from him as he's willing to give,” Shipley said.

“And I understand he's one of the best to do it in this league, so to have that opportunity to learn from someone like that is something I don't take lightly. You know, going to try to get as much out of it as I can, that's for sure.”

Just the fact that Barkley reached out to Shipley is a good sign for the Eagles. Over his six years with the Giants, Barkley was a leader in New York but he’s coming into a new locker room for the first time in his NFL career. Earlier this spring, Brandon Graham said he thought Barkley could immediately become a leader in the running back room and that’s already happening.

The odds that Shipley ever becomes a premier NFL back, just based on where he was drafted, aren’t great. But he can become a functional member of the rotation and it’ll only help to have Saquon aiding him along the way.

Shipley (5-11, 206) was a three year starter for the Tigers and was productive each of those years. His best season came in 2022 when he had over 1,400 scrimmage yards but he went over 1,000 again in 2023.

Despite a fibular dislocation in his bowl game, Shipley on Saturday said he’s completely healthy. He even had a private workout with Eagles running backs coach Jemal Singleton.

At the NFL Combine this offseason, Shipley said he likes to compare his game to that of Christian McCaffrey. And thanks to his roots in North Carolina, Shipley actually forged a relationship with McCaffrey and even trained with McCaffrey’s little brother Luke — a receiver taken in the 3rd round on Friday — during the pre-draft process.

So Shipley has already been able to learn from the guy most people think is the best running back in the NFL. And now he’ll get to pick the brain of another elite talent in Barkley.

Over the years, Shipley has watched an awful lot of Barkley.

“Oh, heck yeah,” he said. “When he was at Penn State and his years on the Giants to being in Philadelphia now, I'm a huge Saquon fan. He reached out to me pretty quickly after I got drafted, just a couple minutes, so I'm so excited to just share a backfield with all those guys.

“You know, I know that I'm going go in and work my butt off and do whatever the team needs me to do to be successful. Whatever that takes is what I'm willing to do. So could not be happier to learn from someone like Saquon and share a backfield with all the great backs we have.”

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