Eagles TE Joshua Perkins could spring a few surprises this preseason

Joshua Perkins
Philadelphia Eagles tight end Joshua Perkins (83) signals between plays during a Week 1 Preseason NFL football game between the Tennessee Titans and the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019, in Philadelphia. The Titans beat the Eagles 27-10. (Matt Patterson via AP)

The Eagles may have one of the most lethal Tight End tandems in Football. Zach Ertz is coming off of a record-breaking 2018 campaign, while running-mate Dallas Goedert showed plenty of red zone prowess as a rookie. It’s safe to say that 12-personnel and 13-personnel will once again become focal points for this offense, but that means the team will need at least one more tight end on the roster…and although he’s under-the-radar, Josh Perkins is making a firm bid.

After averaging 14.5 yards per reception as a senior, which actually led all Pac-12 tight ends, he ended his collegiate career with the sixth most receptions and receiving yards in Washington history.

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. When Jacob Tamme suffered an injury in November of 2017, Perkins saw his first action on an NFL field. Eventually, he found his way to Philadelphia, signing a futures contract and sticking onto the roster ever since.

In fact, Perkins 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 against Indianapolis one week later, Perkins made his presence felt on an offense that at the time, needed receiving depth. There were some drops and inconsistencies along the way, but Perkins showed enough to remain on the roster.

Now, one year later, Perkins arguably has an even bigger opportunity. Dallas Goedert picked up a minor injury in last week’s preseason opener and will be kept out of the remaining games as the Eagles verge on the side of caution. Zach Ertz is likely going to see little in the way of preseason snaps and Richard Rodgers has been hindered by a minor injury throughout camp. This should all leave a significant chunk of snaps to be eaten up by the Washington product. Not only that, but Perkins has been steadily improving throughout the Summer, garnering praise from the team’s offensive coordinator.

“He’s a big body, and he’s a very good athlete.” Mike Groh said on Monday. “He has very good short-area quickness and long speed and catch radius, and he’s not afraid to put his face on people in the run game.”

He’s also, as aforementioned, having a quietly strong Training Camp and has been seen putting in work after practice on the JUGS machine. He caught two touchdowns in Tuesday’s practice prior to a string of impressive efforts. If Perkins can carry that into Thursday night and beyond, there’s a strong chance that the former Washington TE can spring a few surprises in the regular season.

After playing in 38% of special teams snaps last year, Perkins has the chance to follow in the footsteps of Trey Burton, who once led the Eagles in special teams tackles under the guidance of Zach Ertz, James Casey, and Brent Celek. He eventually grew into a key receiving option for Carson Wentz and 13-personnel became absolutely terrifying in 2017 with a multitude of combinations the Eagles could attack defenses with.

There’s still a long road ahead for Perkins, but if he continues to put . in work during and after practice and can take advantage of a huge opportunity on Thursday night, don’t be surprised to see him sneak onto the back end of the roster given the Eagles lenience on jumbo sets.

Mandatory Photo Credit: Matt Patterson via AP