10 interesting facts about Eagles' 2019 rookie class

10 interesting facts about Eagles' 2019 rookie class

The Eagles' rookies had their three-day minicamp last weekend and the veterans will join next week at OTAs. That will be a big moment for them.

Until then, here are 10 interesting facts about the 2019 Eagles’ rookie class: 

1. The Eagles drafted just five players for the second straight year. The only draft class in team history that was smaller was the four-player class back in 1989. The Eagles have taken just 10 players in the draft over the last two years, tied with the Titans for the fewest in the NFL. Excluding the Eagles, the 31 other NFL teams averaged 16.13 players drafted over the last two years. 

Because of the lack of draft picks, the Eagles in the last two years have thrown money at undrafted players, trying to bring in the top talent of the guys who didn’t hear their names called. 

2. By now, you might have heard that JJ Arcega-Whiteside interned for Condoleezza Rice last summer. But you might not know he was born in Spain and his parents were both professional basketball players. English is his third language. Interesting guy.  

3. Undrafted guard Sua Opeta from Weber State did 39 reps at 225 pounds on the bench press. That was the most of every player invited to this year’s combine. Just eight players have done more on the bench at the combine in the last 10 years. Just three of those eight were offensive linemen. Mitch Petrus from Arkansas did 45 reps back in 2010. Petrus was a fifth-round draft pick and played 27 career games. For more perspective, Brandon Brooks did 36 reps (nothing to sneeze at) at his pro day in 2012. 

4. The Eagles took Miles Sanders in the second round with the 53rd pick. That’s the exact same pick the Eagles used 10 years earlier to draft LeSean McCoy in 2009. Sanders is from Pittsburgh and Shady went to school in Pittsburgh. 

In the modern era, five running backs have been taken with the 53rd pick — and three of them by the Eagles! The Birds also took Perry Harrington out of Jackson State in 1980. In four years with the Eagles, Harrington rushed for 635 yards. He played two more seasons with the Rams to make for a six-year career.

5. Because Saquon Barkley was ahead of him for two years at Penn State, Sanders had just 276 rushing attempts in college. In the last five years, there have been 19 running backs taken in the top two rounds. The only other one with fewer rushing attempts in college was Josh Jacobs (251), this year’s No. 24 pick. 

From 2015-2018, the average collegiate rushing attempts for the 17 running backs taken in the first two rounds was 591. Sanders had less than half of that. 

6. When the Eagles took Shareef Miller with the last pick in the fourth round, he became the first Philly native drafted by the Eagles since running back Bruce Perry out of Maryland in the seventh round back in 2004.  

7. According to ProFootballFocus, Andre Dillard gave up just one sack in 748 pass-blocking opportunities in 2018. He gave up two sacks in 810 pass-blocking opportunities in 2017. So that’s three sacks in 1,558 drop-backs during his last two college seasons. That’s just one sack in every 529 opportunities.  

8. Eagles fifth-round QB Clayton Thorson had more career rushing touchdowns at Northwestern (27) than Jacobs, Sanders, David Montgomery and Damien Harris had in their respective college careers. Thorson is seventh on the all-time Northwestern list for rushing TDs.  

9. The Eagles drafted two Penn State players — Sanders and Miller — for the first time in four decades. In fact, the Eagles hadn’t drafted a single player from Penn State since 2007, when they took Tony Hunt in the third round. Back in 1979, the Eagles took WR Scott Fitzkee in the fifth round and C Chuck Correal in the eight round. They drafted just four total Nittany Lions in the 40 years between their two double-dips. 

10. Cornerback Jamalcolm “Jay” Liggins was signed as a UDFA from NAIA program Dickinson State. If you haven’t heard of Dickinson State, you’re certainly not alone. Dickinson, North Dakota, is west of Fargo and Biskmark on Interstate-94, about an hour drive past Theodore Roosevelt National Park to the Montana border. A former track star, Liggins turned heads when he competed at the North Dakota State pro day in late March. 

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Eagle Eye podcast: What Jason Peters move means for Andre Dillard, plus much more

Eagle Eye podcast: What Jason Peters move means for Andre Dillard, plus much more

On the latest Eagle Eye podcast, Reuben Frank and Barrett Brooks take a long look at the Eagles’ decision to bring back Jason Peters.

They get into what the move means for Andre Dillard, whether Peters will ultimately end up back at left tackle, how long J.P. might be able to extend his career if he stays at guard, how long it will take him to adjust to a new position and and much more. 

They also looked at defensive tackle and defensive end on the All-Time Eagles Team and whether Fletcher Cox or Jerome Brown is the greatest defensive tackle in Eagles history. 

(0:42) — Jason Peters back with the Eagles to play right guard

(27:18) — Jerome vs. Fletcher 

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Eagles fans won't be allowed at games this fall, health officials say

Eagles fans won't be allowed at games this fall, health officials say

Eagles fans should start coming to grips with watching games from their couch in 2020.

After the city of Philadelphia cancelled "large public events" through February 2021 on Tuesday, amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, health officials provided an update on the feasability of fans watching Eagles games in person.

Philadelphia Department of Health commissioner Thomas Farley and Philadelphia managing director Brian Abernathy made it sound all but certain that Lincoln Financial Field stands will be empty.

Per the Inquirer:

"I do think that games can be played with the kind of safety precautions that they're proposing. I do not think that they can have spectators at those games. There’s no way for them to be safe having a crowd there," Farley said. "I can't say what the plans are for the league, but from a safety perspective, they can play games but not [have] crowds."

"The Eagles are still going to be allowed to play, although without crowds. The Phillies will continue to be allowed to play, although without crowds," Managing Director Brian Abernathy said.

Abernathy said NFL guidelines also "remind teams that local authorities have the ability to ban fans, so I don't expect any issues."

"We have been in communication with the Eagles. We have told them our expectations are that they don't have fans," Albernathy said.

Whether other teams around the country will be able to host fans, based on differing guidance from state officials, remains to be seen. Earlier this month, reports emerged claiming the NFL is considering fan waivers for those interested in attending home games this season.

A season without home fans also means the Eagles stand to lose a sizable sum of money if the NFL plays its 17-week regular season as scheduled.

As NBC Sports Philadelphia's Dave Zangaro noted, the Eagles will be one of the 10 teams most affected (financially) by a lack of fans at home games:

The Eagles in 2018 were tied for eighth in the NFL with $204 million in stadium revenue. Just the Cowboys, Patriots, Giants, Texans, Jets 49ers and Redskins made more.

In late June, the organization informed season ticket holders that their ticket installment payments would not be billed, fueling speculation that games would be played in empty stadiums this fall. 

Barring a drastic change in the pandemic's trajectory between now and early September, it seems that speculation was right.

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