The Philadelphia Eagles finalized their 53-man roster on Tuesday and while there was always bound to be some surprises, I don’t think anybody expected three undrafted free agents to make the cut. It’s not only a testament to the drafting decisions of Howie Roseman, but the scouting team he’s built and philosophies the team has instilled. So who are the three underdogs looking to follow in the footsteps of guys like Greg Ward Jr. and company?
At 5’11, 182 lbs, Josh Jobe might be a little shorter than some, but he plays much bigger than his size suggests. After holding down the fort alongside Patrick Surtain II in 2020, he returned for one more season at Alabama, but it didn’t pan out as hoped which led to him shockingly slipping and sliding down the draft and into the undrafted pool.
He’s a physical corner who is pure nasty in the run game and makes his living at the beginning of the route. Unfortunately, this can lead to a lot of PI calls and snappy arms, but if there is ever a coach who work that out of his game, it’s DB guru, Jonathan Gannon.
What the Eagles say
Josh [Jobe] was a guy that had some injury issues in the off-season part of this, and we had followed him. We knew him, obviously the Alabama connection, and from day one when he came in here, he came in with the right mindset. This is a big, long, instinctive corner, a physical corner who’s played at a high level in the SEC.Howie Roseman
One really surprising addition to the 53-man roster was 24-year-old Josh Sills. He’s one of the older rookies in his class, but possesses a huge frame at 6’5, 322 lbs. We all know what Jeff Stoutland is able to do with raw talent and a freakish frame, and the appeal of what Sills brings to the table may have been a little too spicy to turn away.
Sills played 110 snaps throughout the preseason to really make his case and was pretty solid in his efforts at left guard. The Eagles crave versatility run-blocking prowess and Sills ticks both boxes. His raw power was a great asset for both West Virginia and Oklahoma State, and while he lacks technical ability, his bend and natural reach allow him to get to the second level with ease.
What the Eagles say about him
When you talk about Sills, he’s 6’5″, he’s 330 pounds, he has long arms. He’s powerful, he’s versatile. He can play inside or outside. I’m not putting him in Canton — I’m starting to listen to my own description, and it sounds unbelievable.
It didn’t take long for Eagles fans to grow fond of Reed Blankenship. At a Safety position devoid of long-term options to get behind, the former Blue Rider came into the secondary as Middle Tennessee’s all-time leading tackler and a member of the All-Conference USA First-Team in 2021. A former team captain, Blankenship is very reminiscent of a Marcus Epps-type player.
Special Teams appeared to be the ceiling early on for Blankenship. Scouting reports heralded his football IQ, but he didn’t have any excellent athletic traits that enabled him to really capitalize on it consistently. With ‘arm-tackling’ also being a concern, but you wouldn’t know it watching his preseason debut. Hardly surprised by his production, Nick Sirianni was very quick to point out how many tackles he had at the collegiate level
What the Eagles have said about him
NICK SIRIANNI: With 419 tackles.
HOWIE ROSEMAN: It’s unbelievable. Reed is one of those guys, he started the last man in that group, and every day, like Coach says, we evaluate practice every day, we evaluate everything he did, and he continued to show up. He had a feel.
I don’t want to put too high expectations on him, but he kind of reminded me of a guy like [former Philadelphia Eagles safety] Quintin Mikell who we had here. He has physical tools, but he’s always around the ball, and credit to him and our coaches for putting him in position to make plays. We wanted to recognize that because we had a smaller draft class, we wanted to give everyone an opportunity to make this team.
Getting compared to a former UDFA who spent 11 years in the NFL and made the Pro Bowl is a pretty big deal. Howie Roseman is clearly excited about Blankenship, who will now get to learn from the chirpy Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and Marcus Epps.
Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire