At 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, Josh Perkins looks like a small tight end or an over-sized wide receiver.
The last few weeks, he’s been both.
Perkins is one of the more intriguing stories on an Eagles team loaded with them.
Like Greg Ward, Boston Scott, Deontay Burnett and so many others, his season began on the practice squad.
In Perkins’ case, it was not just his ability that earned him a spot on the 53-man roster but his versatility.
Perkins is a tight end by trade, and it was as a tight end that he began his career with the Falcons in 2016.
But the more you can do, the more valuable you are. He got some wide receiver work early last year, when Alshon Jeffery was still out and then Mike Wallace got hurt, and this year he’s expanded his dual role.
By using Perkins as a hybrid receiver-tight end, the Eagles are basically saving a roster spot.
“Any way I can get on the field I’m going to do it to get out there,” Perkins said. “Being on the practice squad at the beginning of the year, it was tough. I just kept grinding and eventually was able to work my way up. I’m still doing everything with the tight end coaches, and I’m in the tight end room (for meetings), but each week my coach just lets me know things I need to know for any receiver stuff I’ll be doing. I’m still mainly a tight end, but I’m always ready to go wherever they put me.”
A lot of this is gameplan specific. Some weeks Perkins is purely a tight end. Other weeks he trends toward wide receiver.
Wherever he lines up, wherever he's needed, he’s shown the last few weeks that he can run, he can get open and he can catch the football.
He’s not going to play on the line of scrimmage and smash linebackers and open up holes in the running game. He’s only 225 pounds, and blocking isn’t his game.
But on a team missing a bunch of weapons, Perkins has helped.
“I want to play, so whatever they ask of me I’ll be ready and prepared to do,” he said. “The positions are interchangeable. It’s pretty much stuff I know already but just a few new things added in there.”
In the first Giants game, Perkins had five catches, including two key first downs during the second-half rally. And in the rematch Sunday, he had that huge 24-yard TD catch from Carson Wentz and finished with 4-for-50.
The TD was longest by an Eagles practice squad alum since Luther Broughton’s 26-yarder from Donovan McNabb against the Redskins in 1999.
It was also Perkins’ first TD since 2016 with the Falcons.
“I’ve been trying to get another one for a long time,” he said. “It felt good to finally get it.”
Perkins, Scott, Burnett and Ward combined for 279 scrimmage yards in the playoff clincher at the Meadowlands Sunday, which has to be some sort of NFL record for practice squad production.
In a must-win game.
“It’s rewarding just to see all the hard work that we put in each and every day paying off,” he said. “I’m just glad they trust me enough to put me in those situations.
"We're going to have to have a big dinner after the season with all the guys who were on the practice squad. We'll need a pretty big table."
Perkins said it was linebacker LaRoy Reynolds, who he played with in Atlanta and again here last year, who gave him some of the best advice he's ever gotten.
It’s simple but powerful: Don’t get ready. Be ready.
“I was like, ‘Dang, I want to be playing,’” he said. “He told me, ‘Stay ready, your time will come. Don’t get ready, be ready.’”
Perkins languished from Sept. 1 through Nov. 30 on the practice squad. Three months as part of the team but not really.
Now he’s a key component on a team heading to the playoffs. With Zach Ertz out and the Eagles still running a ton of two-tight end sets, Perkins played a career-high 58 snaps Sunday.
The last four games, he’s averaged 33 snaps and the Eagles have averaged 28 points.