Non-OTA preview: One Eagles underdog to watch at every position

At this time of year, we’d usually be discussing OTA’s, what to expect, and the players to watch. With that temporarily on hold, I decided to highlight one underdog to watch at every position once a sense of normality resumes.

Quarterback

Jalen Hurts

This is kind of cheating because all eyes will be on the second-round pick anyway, but it will be very interesting to see how Hurts handles a Summer-long battle with Nate Sudfeld. On paper, Hurts is the better quarterback with an upside 194x as high. In reality, Sudfeld has been in this system for three years now and will know it like the back of his hand, leveling the playing-field for the opening few weeks. This war will rage deep into the preseason and I personally can’t wait to see how Hurts responds.

Running back

Michael Warren

One of the team’s marquee undrafted signings, Warren is a terror in the backfield. He averaged 5.2 yards per carry during three seasons at Cincinnati, but it wasn’t until his sophomore year where he broke out. The 222-pound back went for 1,329 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns while averaging 5.4 yards per carry in 2018.

The Eagles need to find that north-south bowling ball to change the pace behind Miles Sanders and this underdog ticks every box.

Tight End

Noah Togiai

Another UDFA, Togiai joins the Eagles after becoming just the sixth Oregon State player to have a 1,000 receiving yard season.

At 6’4, 246 lbs, Togiai has intriguing size for the TE position and signs on the back of recording 44 catches for 406 yards and 3 touchdowns in 2019. While Togiai is clearly an athletic specimen, he lends himself to a receiving weapon as opposed to an in-line blocker, which may give him a ‘Trey Burton’ type mold to grow into.

Offensive tackle

Jordan Mailata

The Eagles didn’t invest heavily at a position where they lost a Hall of Fame talent and a competent backup, but they did draft another developmental name. This, partnered with the impact of the current pandemic, may make life even more difficult for Mailata to cling onto his roster spot. Now in year 3, the Aussie is going to have to show significant improvement if he is to be retained by the Eagles.

Offensive guard

Matt Pryor

Pryor actually leapt into the deep end last year in wake of an injury to Brandon Brooks and did a really good job. He played in 79 snaps overall, but left a good impression. Depth at guard is minimal and there is a slim chance that Pryor would be needed to fill in for Brooks, who dislocated his shoulder in week 17. The conditioning aspect is going to hurt here if Brooks can’t get up to speed in Camp, so a strong offseason from Pryor is needed.

Center

Jack Driscoll

The Auburn tackle was asked about a move inside approximately 6 seconds into his presser. Driscoll is an athletic body and someone that’s embracing a potential move to center. He’ll need all the reps he can get this Summer in order to make the transition smoothly and will be a very fun name to watch.

Wide receiver

Greg Ward Jr.

This probably isn’t the name you were expecting but the Eagles added a lot of bulk at wide receiver this offseason and there are a lot of chefs in the kitchen as a result. We know D-Jax can play inside and we know Goodwin can too. Hightower and Watkins may be tasked with slot roles until such a time as they get bumped outside, but Ward’s future as a solid starting receiver is up in the air. All of a sudden, he’s at the back of the line once more.

Defensive tackle

Anthony Rush

I LOVE Anthony Rush, I did ever since the Eagles signed him as a UDFA last year. He’s a big body that can move quickly. The problem is, the Eagles’ DT depth is now stacked and Rush is on the outside looking in. I’d love to see him sneak onto the roster, but it’s going to be a long way to the top.

Defensive end

Shareef Miller

After playing a whopping TWO special teams snaps in 2019, the former fourth-round pick needs to pick it up in year two. With no Vinny Curry around, the Eagles are paving the way for an increased role. Is he ready for one?

Linebacker

Alex Singleton

The former CFL star shone so brightly last preseason, going stride-for-stride with T.J Edwards. He then carved out a nice role as a special teamer as a rookie and made a handful of eye-catching plays. Without much depth at the position, the opportunity to take the next step is a big one if he can sift through the traffic that all appears to be headed in the same direction.

Cornerback

Cre’Von LeBlanc

Captain Cre’Von hasn’t had it easy, but that’s nothing new. ‘Strap’ has been such a pleasant surprise since making his debut two season’s ago and although he missed most of 2019, his return against the Giants was just incredible. With Nickell Robey-Coleman brought into the mix however, his future as a starting nickel corner looks murky at best. He’ll need more of that same energy to cement his spot.

Safety

Rudy Ford

Acquired with the sole aim of providing special teams depth, Ford was dynamite on Fipp’s unit. The Safety position received an overhaul this offseason and that may leave Ford out in the cold, but his prowess on special teams may keep him in the mix.

Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Leave a Reply