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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