Have the Eagles found another hidden gem at tight end?

The Eagles tight ends exploded during a week 3 win over the Indianapolis Colts and while the spotlight was fixed on Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert, there were more than a few flashes from the team’s third tight end, Joshua Perkins.

In fact, Perkins has had quite an impressive start to the season considering the circumstances. Registering 4 catches for 57-yards against the Bucs before notching a ten-yard catch on Sunday, Perkins has made his presence felt on an offense that needed receiving depth. Sure, there have been some drops along the way, but the former undrafted free agent has impressed the Eagles brass.

“We knew from evaluation when he was in Atlanta he was a good special teams player there.” Offensive coordinator Mike Groh told reporters. “He had good toughness. He’s a big body who can really can run, so he can stretch the field for his size. He’s done a nice job except missed a lot of time, but he’s picked it up well and made some good plays for us the last few weeks.”

Perkins may not be as polished as Dallas Goedert or the units leading man, but as an undrafted free agent in 2016, he stuck onto the Falcons roster as their fourth tight end yet was often inactive. When Jacob Tamme suffered an injury in November of last year, Perkins saw his first action on an NFL field.

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2 of his 3 career receptions came against the Carolina Panthers and one just so happened to be an eyebrow raising touchdown pass.

Primarily however, the Washington product was a blocking tight end and seemed to find difficulty sustaining blocks, often giving up pressure to defensive ends and outside linebackers and making some rookie mistakes along the way. The 6’3, 223 lbs, tight end was better served as a receiving option, but when the Falcons drafted Eric Stauber one year later, his ceiling became limited.

Perkins stuck around on the Falcons roster and spent time on their scout team, but had problems dealing with an injury this year…the details of which have been kept mostly under the radar. The Falcons eventually released Perkins, leading the Eagles to pick him up on a futures contract.

This is where the value comes in. The Eagles, at the time, had plenty of growing room at the position with veteran mentors to help. But when Trey Burton and Brent Celek both parted with the team, it left the Eagles a little short. The injury to Richard Rodgers was a massive blow that forced the Eagles to rely on Perkins and call him up to the 53, giving him a shot to shine.

As we found out against the Colts, it turns out that Dallas Goedert is actually a very able and willing in-line blocker. It’s not as if Zach Ertz suffers those same deficiencies as he once did either. This meant that Perkins was allowed to flex outside as a wide receiver, something he was more than used to doing at Washington.

During his senior year, Perkins recorded 36 catches for 539 yards and 3 scores, averaging 14.5 yards per reception which actually led all Pac-12 tight ends. He ended his collegiate career with the sixth most receptions and receiving yards in program history.

It didn’t take long for Perkins to settle into the Eagles offense, playing in 26.2% of offensive snaps and a whopping 40% of special teams efforts. He’s not the dynamic playmaker that Goedert or Ertz is, but knowing that both are more than capable of holding their own in run-blocking (we’ll get to that in a Film Room video today), it allows the Eagles to play Perkins in a position of strength and without much in the way of wide receiver support, his presence has been invaluable.

 

Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

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