Eagles draft Washington DT Elijah Qualls with final pick

Eagles draft Washington DT Elijah Qualls with final pick

With their final pick of the 2017 draft, the Eagles selected 6-foot-1, 313-pound Washington defensive tackle Elijah Qualls in the sixth round on Saturday.

He's the second Washington player the Eagles took in this year's draft. They selected injured cornerback Sidney Jones in the second round (see story).

Qualls had 77 tackles, 11½ tackles for loss and 7½ sacks in 30 career games (see bio).

"I for sure stop the run well," Qualls said at the NFL Draft Scouting Combine. "And I'm actually a lot better pass rusher than a lot of people think. Typically a lot of our game plan as far as pass rushing was to keep the quarterback contained, so I really couldn't get after him like I'm capable of.

"I'm not going to say I'm one of the best pass rushers ever or anything like that — I've only been playing defensive line since I got to college. I'm still learning, but I'm a lot better than people do think."

Qualls was actually a running back in high school, but he said he got bored scoring touchdowns.

"I was 260 playing running back in high school," he said. "I had 1,300 rushing yards, though. It honestly became too easy, that's why I switched to defensive line. Scoring touchdowns wasn't exciting to me anymore, it was just something I expected.

"Then my last year, my coach came to me and said, 'Hey, would you be willing to play some defense?' My mindset was that if I played defense, I could get the ball back. So I played some defensive line, middle linebacker. I was recruited at both of those positions.

"I kind of just did a little research project trying to see what the long term was like for both running backs and defensive linemen, and defensive linemen tend to last longer, have less severe injuries, and honestly on average probably make more money, so I decided to be a defensive lineman. Plus I like the challenge."

With Bennie Logan leaving as a free agent, the Eagles have Fletcher Cox, Tim Jernigan, Beau Allen and now Qualls in the mix on the interior of the defensive line.

"I feel like I can fit into any scheme," Qualls said. "I can do anything you ask me to, I played everything from zero to outside linebacker, so there's not much I can't do. It's just whether or not someone can accept me being a couple inches shorter than the person they prefer playing there.

"But I'm stronger than a lot of people, and my football intelligence is top notch."

Eagles OL coach doesn't think Jason Peters will miss time with biceps injury

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Eagles OL coach doesn't think Jason Peters will miss time with biceps injury

Jason Peters already had a nagging quad injury and now he has a biceps injury he suffered on Thursday. 

But his position coach still thinks Peters will play on Sunday. 

“I don’t think he’s going to miss any time, personally,” offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland said on Monday, when asked about Halapoulivaati Vaitai’s readiness to fill in. 

A report from NFL Network on Sunday said Peters “could miss a week or two” but “isn’t done yet.” Apparently, he might not even miss one week after a partially torn biceps. 

Why does Stout think Peters won’t miss time? 

“I think we take good care … I think the training staff here does a great job of getting him back, getting him healthy, for all the players,” Stoutland said. “They’re all beat up at this point in time. You’re smashing into a guy all day long, so guys are going to get banged up across the board.”

Peters, 36, has been able to play every offensive snap just twice in six games this season. 

Even though Peters has played in every game this season, he hasn’t looked like his normal Hall of Fame self. It seems likely the injuries and age have caught up with him this year. Missing a week or two for the biceps injury would also allow that quad to heal some, which might have been a good thing. That extra time could have help Peters get back to the level of play we’ve seen from him in previous years. 

Stoutland, though, said Peters is playing against the best player on the opposing defense every week and is just missing a play here or there. He defended the left tackle. 

“I think he’s still extremely productive and playing at a very high level,” Stoutland said. “I don’t get into all the injuries; I’m not a doctor. That guy is a warrior. You know how he is. He just keeps playing and playing and playing.”

And, now, he’s apparently ready to play through a torn biceps as well as a quad injury. 

More on the Eagles

Eagle Eye Podcast: Ranking the NFC East after six weeks

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Eagle Eye Podcast: Ranking the NFC East after six weeks

On this edition of Eagle Eye, Derrick Gunn and Barrett Brooks rank the NFC East through week 6. Why the Eagles are not on top on either's list? Where do the Eagles rank in the NFC as a whole? 

Barrett doesn't think it's too early for Jordan Mailata to play meaningful snaps.

Also, the biggest takeaways from a crazy Sunday in the NFL.

1:00 — What the guys did with a rare Sunday off.
4:30 — Redskins get an important win over the Panthers.
10:00 — Cowboys beat up the Jaguars.
14:30 — Ranking the NFC East. Biggest concerns for the Eagles.
19:30 — Memorable moments from Sunday's NFL action.

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