INDIANAPOLIS — Penn State receiver KJ Hamler said he wasn’t surprised to see how much success Miles Sanders had during his rookie season with the Eagles in 2019.
The two are close friends and Hamler claims he knew from his freshman year at Penn State that Sanders would be a successful NFL player.
Hamler, 20, would like to follow in his footsteps, especially if those footsteps lead to Philadelphia.
“It would be great to play with Miles,” Hamler said at the NFL Scouting Combine on Tuesday. “I hope he put in a good word.”
Hamler, the 5-foot-9, 178-pound speedster, said he has a meeting on the books with the Eagles on Wednesday. He would relish the opportunity to play with his close friend Sanders if the Eagles decide to draft him.
It’s likely Hamler will be a Day 2 pick in the draft in April. And the Eagles certainly have a need for a speedy receiver.
As a junior in 2019, Hamler caught 56 passes for 904 yards (16.1) and eight touchdowns. He did struggle at times with drops, which he claims was a focus issue. It’s something he wants to improve and show NFL teams that it’s not a problem this week. There’s also a chance Hamler runs an impressive time in the 40-yard dash.
This class of receivers has been called historic, but Hamler is a competitor and he hasn’t shied away from the competition. He wants to be the best of the bunch.
So what separates him from others?
“I’m a dawg,” he said. “That’s just point blank, period. You don’t find a lot of people my size doing some things that I do. For me, my playmaking ability and my dawg mentality just stands out.”
If the Eagles draft Hamler, he would get a chance to play with DeSean Jackson, someone whom Hamler has looked up to for a long time.
The idea of Jackson grooming a young speed receiver is certainly intriguing.
“I just love his playmaking ability,” Hamler said of Jackson. “Whenever you need him to make a play, whether it’s on special teams or on offense, he’s going to do it.”
Throughout this pre-draft process, Hamler has been in contact with his friend Sanders and the Eagles’ running back has given him plenty of advice.
The best piece of advice: “Just stay hungry is probably the main thing. It’s a grown man sport. Basically, you gotta fight for another man’s job.”
Sanders in 2019 had an impressive rookie season. He rushed for over 800 yards, had over 500 yards receiving and six total touchdowns. His 1,327 yards from scrimmage were a record for Eagles rookies.
None of that surprised Hamler. But he was proud.
“I was very proud. I think a lot of us was,” he said. “A lot of people always had this cloud over his head about him playing behind Saquon, Saquon this, Saquon that, but he wanted to be himself. He wanted to make a name for Miles Sanders. I’m proud that he’s doing real well and I’m blessed to be in this opportunity that he was in.”
The Eagles drafted Sanders with the 53rd overall pick in last year’s draft. They now hold the 53rd pick in this year’s draft. It would be somewhat fitting if they used it this year on Hamler. He really would follow in Sanders’ footsteps.
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