Undrafted rookie free agent could have baptism of fire against Redskins

There have been a couple of scenario’s this year in which undrafted rookie free agent Denzel Rice could have made his debut but for whatever reason he’s still only played on special teams despite the Eagles Secondary progressively growing weaker as the season went on. But that could all change this Sunday when the Eagles face the Redskins in what is simply a must win situation.

With Nolan Carroll already out, Eric Rowe sustaining a concussion and Byron Maxwell appearing to have a shoulder strain..the stage is being set for the likes of Biggers, Watkins…and Denzel Rice.

Rice has still only played in 12 special teams snaps this season and seen action in just three games. With Ed Reynolds already moving up to safety, it almost looks certain that Rice could be set to make his defensive debut in midnight green this weekend.

Unfortunately, Rice has been overlooked throughout his career, largely because he never played for a big name School. But still, he helped guide Carver to the state championship game in his senior year..amassing the most interceptions in the entire state (12) and also helped Coastal Carolina to an FCS Playoff berth.

During his tenure at Coastal Carolina, Rice played at safety, corner and Nickel so he definitely has the familiarity with the position.  In his freshman year, he was backup to none other than…you know, Josh Norman? That guy. But the best comparison that Chip kelly eluded to would be New England Corner Malcolm Butler. An undrafted rookie who won the Patriots the Superbowl with an interception in the closing stages. It’s been done before…so why can’t it happen in a game which for the Eagles is technically a playoff game?

“Denzel has done a nice job,” Eagles head coach Chip Kelly told the media yesterday. “I think the difference with bringing Jaylen and him in is that Jaylen is a multi-position player, where Denzel is just a corner. We think he has got a bright future, but we’ll see what happens for the rest of the week with those guys.”

After impressing everyone massively in OTA’s, stripping the ball away from Tim Tebow and shutting down some of the Eagles toughest wideouts, the 6-foot, 196-pound was kept on the roster but is yet to make an impact on the Defensive side of the ball. With the odds stacked against him as they always have been, Rice may..just may finally get his shot against a receiver the Eagles know only too well…DeSean Jackson.

Jackson has caught a 20+ yard pass in each of his last three games and against an Eagles secondary that could be low on big name talent that could well continue. Not to mention Pierre Garcon or the emergence of Kirk Cousins. The Defense will face an incredibly tough task this weekend and if Rice starts it is the equivalent of Rowe vs Megatron all over again..but could the results differ?

It would make the perfect underdog story..an undrafted rookie free agent who makes his debut against the Record and is able to to maybe record an Interception or swat down a few passes. We have already seen one surprise defensive breakout in Jordan Hicks, are we about to see another?

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