Eagles

Eagles' undrafted rookie free agent tracker

Eagles' undrafted rookie free agent tracker

The NFL draft ended today and the Eagles walked away from it with five players, but that doesn’t mean their work is done. 

Now, they have started to sign undrafted rookie free agents. 

Coming into the draft, the Eagles had 75 players on their roster. Then they drafted five players and traded for another. So they have nine available roster spots before reaching the 90-man maximum at this time of year. 

In recent years, the Eagles have found players like Corey Clement, Josh Adams, Tre Sullivan and Bruce Hector as undrafted free agents. 

We’ll update this tracker as more reports of undrafted players coming to Philadelphia surface:

T.J. Edwards, LB, Wisconsin (Source: Wisconsin football
Edwards, a four-year starter at Wisconsin, was very productive throughout his college career, with 366 total tackles, 37.5 tackles for loss and 10 interceptions. Although he isn’t a freak athlete, the 6-0, 230-pound linebacker had great production in college and showed coverage ability. He was a player who very well could have been drafted. 

Anthony Rush, DT, UAB (Source: Terez A. Paylor, Yahoo) 
At 6-5, 350 pounds, Rush is clearly more of a run-stuffing defensive lineman. In his two seasons at UAB, Rush had 43 tackles, 2 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. He went to UAB after going to Northeast Mississippi Community College. 

Kevin Wilkins, DT, Rutgers (Source: Mike Jones, USA Today) 
In his four seasons at Rutgers, Wilkins (6-2, 300) had just two sacks, but had 20 tackles for loss and 122 total tackles. He apparently had a good showing at the East-West Shrine Game. 

Jamalcolm Liggins, CB, Dickinson State (Source: Conor Orr, MMQB) 
The small school defensive back has an interesting story and will face an uphill battle to latch on with the Eagles. From the NAIA, Liggins was able to compete at the North Dakota State pro day. We know the Eagles don’t sleep on NDSU. 

Ryan Bates, OT, Penn State (Source: NFL Draft Diamonds)
After not drafting any interior offensive linemen, Bates might have a decent shot at making the Eagles’ roster. Another local kid, Bates went to Archbishop Wood before Penn State. He was a tackle in college, but projects as a guard at the next level. 

DeAndre Thompkins, WR, Penn State (Source: Jared Stanger, SeaMocks.com)
How many Penn State kids are the Eagles going to bring in? In four years at Happy Valley, Thompkins caught 83 passes for 1,245 yards and six touchdowns. His best season came as a junior in 2017 (28/443/3). He was also a punt returner for the Nittany Lions. He returned 66 punts for an average of 10.2 yards and two for touchdowns. 

Nate Herbig, OL, Stanford (Source: Aaron Wilson, Houston Chronicle)
The 6-3, 335-pound guard from Hawaii started just seven games in 2018 because of injuries. In 2017, he started 13 and was an all-conference player. He’s a true guard and has the build to prove it. There’s a need for interior depth and maybe he has a good shot. 

Joey Alfieri, LB, Stanford (Source: Jordan Ranaan, ESPN)
A new-age linebacker, Alfieri is 6-3 and just 239 pounds, but ran a 4.49 at Stanford’s pro day. He had 34 tackles and 2 1/2 sacks as a senior. Because of the lack of true starters at the position, a bunch of depth players will be fighting for roster spots and playing time. 

Sua Opeta, OL, Weber State (Source: Aaron Wilson, Houston Chronicle
Opeta is a 6-4, 301-pound guard who put up an impressive 39 reps on the bench and still ran a 5.02 40-yard dash. He actually started his college career as a defensive lineman but moved to offensive line, where he played tackle. He will probably need to get bigger for his move to guard, but the Eagles seem to like him. According to Wilson, they also ponied up $55K in guaranteed base salary and $25K in signing bonus — $80K is a good chunk of change for an undrafted guard. 

Casey Tucker, OL, Arizona State (Source: Michelle Gardner, The Arizona Republic)
Tucker makes it four undrafted free agent offensive linemen for the Eagles. Tucker, who stands 6-foot-6, 310 pounds, played three years at Stanford before finishing his eligibility this past season at Arizona State, where he started all year. But despite great size, Tucker doesn’t have the athleticism or technique to warrant getting drafted. But he does have enough tools to warrant a look from the Eagles this summer.

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Eagles vs. Lions 2019: TV schedule, live stream and storylines for NFL Week 3

Eagles vs. Lions 2019: TV schedule, live stream and storylines for NFL Week 3

The Eagles (1-1) will host the Lions (1-0-1) at the Linc this Sunday at 1 p.m. 

Here’s everything you need to know: 

12 p.m.: Eagles Pregame Live on NBCSP 
1 p.m.: Eagles vs. Lions on FOX 
4 p.m.: Eagles Postgame Live on NBCSP
6 p.m.: Birds Outsiders on NBCSP 

The FOX broadcasters for this game are Thom Brennaman (play by play), Chris Spielman (color) and Shannon Spake (sideline). 

Merrill Reese, Mike Quick and Howard Eskin will have the call on 94WIP. 

A long list of injuries 

The Eagles are banged up heading into this game. That includes three important skill position players: Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson and Dallas Goedert. 

Without those guys in this game, the Eagles will have to rely on backups. That includes Mack Hollins and J.J. Arcega Whiteside. 

On defense, they’ll be without Tim Jernigan (broken foot), who had already replaced the injured Malik Jackson at defensive tackle. 

Two games in five days 

The Eagles in some ways are already preparing for Thursday Night Football. They had a walkthrough on Wednesday and so did the Packers in Green Bay. Both teams play at 1 p.m. on Sunday and then against on Thursday, Sept. 26 in Green Bay. Because that game in Green Bay will be a tough one to win, this one against the Lions is extremely important. 

Hard to figure 

This Lions team is a tough one to understand. They let the Cardinals come back and tie them in the opener and then took down a potential playoff team in the Chargers in Week 2. Ultimately, they’re probably just a mediocre team that’s destined for 7-9 wins, but the Eagles certainly can’t take them lightly on Sunday. 

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Eagles film review: Derek Barnett is playing better than you realize in 2019

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Eagles film review: Derek Barnett is playing better than you realize in 2019

Through two games, Derek Barnett doesn’t have a sack. So if that’s your only metric to evaluate pass rushers, then he’s not playing very well. 

But, as is normally the case, sacks don’t always tell the whole story. Are sacks important? Heck yeah. They’re game-changing plays and Barnett will need to pick them up as the season goes along. It’s just that all pressures don’t end with sacks. 

There’s a reason why Jim Schwartz said he isn’t worried. Because if pressure is there, the Eagles have to trust that sacks will come. And the pressure, at least from Barnett, has been there. And there’s more that goes into sacks: How quickly is the QB getting rid of the ball? Are the corners covering? Are the corners playing 10 yards off the line so the QB has an option to release early? Is the offense going max protect?  

It all plays a role and a lot of it has nothing to do with whether or not the lineman gets pressure. 

“You can't judge everything those guys do on the sacks,” Schwartz said. “You have to just judge it as team defense, like I talked about with giving up a big play. It's never one thing.

“Actually I thought our guys rushed well, and I thought they were coming hard. Production will come.”

While Barnett doesn’t have a sack yet this season, he does have six quarterback hits, which ranks him second in the NFL to just Myles Garrett. We’re not comparing the two — Garrett is a truly dynamic player — but Barnett has actually played better early this season than you might think. And that’s after his 2018 season ended on the shelf with a torn rotator cuff. 

So let’s take a look at Barnett’s pressure in the first couple games (starting with the most recent) and the reason Schwartz expects the sacks to come: 

This was the first play from the Atlanta where Barnett really jumped off the tape. It was 3rd-and-15 with 4:29 left in the first quarter. On this play, Matt Ryan completes a quick pass to Devonta Freeman for five yards and the Falcons are forced to punt. 

We heard so much about Barnett’s bend coming out of college, but this is a pure bull rush against left tackle Jake Matthews, a former-first round pick, six-year starter and Pro Bowler last year. 


And Barnett literally lifted the 309-pound offensive tackle off the ground and toward Ryan. Fletcher Cox had a good rush on that play too and got there around the same time. This wasn’t a sack, wasn’t a QB hit, but it was a productive rush from Barnett. Sometimes these things don’t show up on the stat sheet. 

This next play shows just how quick Barnett can be laterally. This was on a 1st-and-10 in the second quarter. Barnett got around Matthews so quickly. Matthews tried a chop block and came up empty. This was Barnett’s first of three QB hits Sunday night. 

This pass was completed for 1 yard, but Barnett shuffled to his right and was barely touched by Matthews. 

This next play comes late in the fourth quarter; that’s good to see. In his second game back from missing the end of last season and slowly ramping up his workload in the summer, Barnett is still putting in good reps with under three minutes left in the fourth. 

On this one, he’s running a stunt with Fletcher Cox. Barnett uses a spin move to get inside. He first sets up Matthews with a step outside before the spin. 

Basically, Barnett clogs up both blockers for a second, which should give Cox enough time to get free coming around the edge. 

Somehow, though, Barnett gets through those two blockers himself and gets a hit on the QB. This was his third QB hit of the game. 

Now, let’s take a closer look from Week 1 and two rushes that were really impressive. 

This first play we’ll look at comes late in the second quarter on 2nd-and-6. Washington left tackle Donald Penn is so concerned about Barnett’s speed and bend around the edge, that Barnett is able to work his inside shoulder and get to Case Keenum in a hurry. Keenum has to rush his throw and it’s incomplete. At the end of the play, Barnett pretty violently tosses Keenum to the ground. 

Here you can see the overset from Penn. He needs to kick out and get wide enough to prevent Barnett from turning the corner, but now he left himself open to the inside rush. And even in his first game back from injury, Barnett has plenty of power. He plants his right foot and drives toward Penn’s inside shoulder. 

 

Because Penn got too wide in his set, he doesn’t have the leverage to shut down Barnett’s interior power move. Barnett gets to Keenum quickly. 

This last play is a truly great rush from Barnett. It happened with just 23 seconds left in that Washington game. Remember that inside pressure from before? Well, now Penn has to guard against it and Barnett not only knows that; he uses it to his advantage. 

This is basically like Allen Iverson crossing up a defender. 



You’ll see Barnett’s first step was outside, then he sells the inside pass rush and gets Penn’s momentum going that way. With Penn’s momentum working with him, Barnett uses a big-boy club to one-hand throw the 315-pound left tackle out of his way. That man has a family, Derek. 

Aside from his ability as a pass rusher, Barnett is also the type of player this organization loves. He is a plus run defender and hustles on every play, often in pursuit of the quarterback. 

The point of all this isn’t to diminish the importance of sacks. Those are important plays and the Eagles haven’t had an edge player get double digit sacks in a season since Connor Barwin in 2014. They could certainly benefit if Barnett is able to start piling up sacks soon. 

The point here is that I think those sacks will come. Because Barnett is already getting great pressure. And he’s off to a much better start this season than a lot of people probably think. 

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