Eagles

After year in Army, Eagles' new OT Brett Toth hoping to continue his unique story

After year in Army, Eagles' new OT Brett Toth hoping to continue his unique story

Brett Toth tucked the waistband of his workout pants between his chin and his chest and folded them up once, twice, and then placed them purposefully in a pile on the shelf of his popup stall in the Eagles’ locker room. That neat pile was next to another neat pile, which was next to two pairs of cleats — one white, one black — put there so perfectly a craftsman’s steel square would agree. 

You can take the man out of the Army … 

“Everything I do represents the Army, what they’ve instilled in me,” Toth said. “I’ve got to carry that. It’s a brand on me. What you have here in front of you is what West Point made me in to.”

Two weeks ago, Toth was allowed to take leave from Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri and came to Philadelphia for a workout. When the Eagles offered him a contract, the process of securing a waiver began. Toth said it got done with help from the staff at his base all the way to the Army Chief of Staff — and he said it couldn’t have happened without President Donald Trump, who in June ordered the Pentagon to develop a policy allowing military academy athletes to play pro sports. 

Toth signed with the Eagles on Friday and reported for duty Sunday morning, about 18 months after he last played a football game. 

Despite the length of time away from football, he expects the Eagles to throw him immediately into action, first as an offensive tackle and then possibly as a guard. 

“The quickest way to learn to swim is to get in the water,” Toth said. 

The 22-year-old offensive lineman was a prospect last year, when he became the first West Point product to be invited to the Senior Bowl. He went undrafted and based on the rules at the time, he began to serve his time in the Army as a second lieutenant. 

An A12 engineer officer, Toth first went through a basic officer leadership course and was then stationed as a platoon leader in basic training in Missouri. During his year of service, it was pretty hard for Toth to stay connected to football, especially as his weight dipped per Army requirements. 

“It was hard,” Toth admitted. “Again, when you’re thinking about training for the army, a bunch of that is hard to train as an offensive lineman. I did get within the height and weight regulations within the Army. You don’t want an offensive lineman that’s down to 260. Whenever I could, I was getting in the strength room on post there. I’ve just got to get all the movements and techniques back.”

Now, Toth (6-foot-6) is up to 290 pounds, but his target weight is 315. Since getting to Philly, he’s already been working with the weight and nutrition staff to help him put on pounds. 

When Toth has any free time, he will be continuing his military commitment with Temple’s ROTC program, led by Lt. Col Robert K. Beale. He’s still in touch with folks from his Army life in Missouri. And Toth thinks the same characteristics that helped him be an Army man — preparation, determination, the ability to adapt on the fly — will help him in his football career. 

It also seems likely the military taught him to be so well organized. 

Just a few feet from Toth’s locker is a disaster zone belonging to two defensive starters. Cleats, shirts, hats and more are spewing out of their adjoining stalls, a relatively common sight in NFL locker rooms. Meanwhile, Toth continued to fold his clothes with precision, placing each item into his tidy locker, where a gray Army T-shirt was proudly hanging. 

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NFL Draft Betting: Will LSU's Justin Jefferson go before No. 24?

NFL Draft Betting: Will LSU's Justin Jefferson go before No. 24?

With the 2020 NFL Draft just weeks away, now is the time to start scouting your first round bets - if you haven't already.

LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson had a breakout 2019 season, teaming up with Joe Burrow for monster numbers - 111 catches, 1,540 yards, 18 TD - and a national championship.

But where will he fall in the 2020 NFL Draft?

With Jefferson's over/under set at 23.5, NBC Sports Philadelphia betting expert Brad Feinberg thinks you should take the under on Jefferson going before the 24th overall pick.

It's a combination of talent and circumstance, according to Feinberg. He expects this draft class's top three wideouts - Jerry Jeudy, Ceedee Lamb, and Henry Ruggs III - to be gone in the first 15 picks. 

After the big three are off the board, Jefferson is almost unanimously the top choice for teams in need of young, talented pass-catchers like the Raiders (No. 19), the Eagles (No. 21), and the Vikings (No. 22).

"I think 23.5 is a great bet for the under," Feinberg said, "because I fully expect one of those three teams to snag [Jefferson] up in those picks."

Earlier this week, NBC Sports Philadelphia's Michael Gatti looked at the betting lines surrounding the Eagles' No. 21 pick, and found Jefferson as the odds-on favorite at +170.

In what's expected to be one of the most loaded WR drafts in recent memory, four wideouts going in the top 23 isn't a reach. In fact, it's starting to feel like a safe bet.

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Why Adam Schefter won't guarantee Eagles draft WR in first round

Why Adam Schefter won't guarantee Eagles draft WR in first round

The Eagles need better wide receivers in 2020 if they want to return to the Super Bowl. 

With the 2020 NFL Draft loaded at that position, and the Eagles' inactivity at wide receiver in free agency, all signs point towards GM Howie Roseman targeting a star pass-catcher in the first round.

But what if... they don't?

During a Twitter AMA on Thursday, ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter didn't exactly sound convinced the Eagles are going to take a wide receiver in the first round, and floated a few other possibilities for their No. 21 pick: 

And here's the answer, transcribed:

Jack, that is the most logical thing, is to see Philadelphia go wide receiver in round one. But what if there's a good linebacker there? What if there's a good defensive player there? What if they decide to trade the pick for a defensive player? There's a lot of different things they can do.

I would never say the Eagles are guaranteed to get a wide receiver in round one. What I would say is, that they're guaranteed to get some wide receivers in this draft, one way or another. They just might not be in round one.

It's a quick hit from Schefty, but there's plenty to unpack.

"What if there's a good linebacker there?"

The Eagles need to start valuing the linebacker position, especially considering their current roster of LBs, and if a name like Patrick Queen is high on their draft board, maybe he's a surprise pick. Eagles fans might not like it.

"What if there's a good defensive player there?"

There are some very interesting defensive prospects who could last until No. 21. Edge rusher K'Lavon Chaisson and DT Javon Kinlaw are two notable talents who would probably pique Roseman's love for first-round defensive linemen.

"What if they decide to trade the pick for a defensive player?"

This feels like a pretty obvious allusion to the Eagles' rumored interest in trading for Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue. The price for Ngakoue begins with a first-rounder, and the No. 21 pick might start an interesting conversation.

Schefter ending by saying the Eagles will leave the draft with at least one wide receiver is certainly intriguing, and might spell a second-round pick going towards a wideout if Roseman is otherwise tempted at No. 21. Could Clemson's Tee Higgins fall into the second round? Will K.J. Hamler still be available at pick No. 53?

So many question marks - but in three weeks, we'll have answers. 

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