Closer Than They Appear?
DiCecco: Don't Overlook These Birds
With the off-season officially underway, most of the discussions and deliberations for the Philadelphia Eagles consist of free agency, the NFL Scouting Combine, and the impending NFL Draft in April.
While many observers will focus on retooling the roster and scouring the free-agent market to make a splash, they should also remember that the back end of the Eagles’ roster includes a handful of intriguing players poised to claim depth roles, and the Eagles typically look to fill out the roster with cost-effective options.
Let’s take a look at six players to keep an eye on this off-season:
QB Ian Book
A late arrival last season, and buried behind Jalen Hurts and Gardner Minshew, the Eagles will finally get a long look at the athletic, third-year signal-caller. Book boasts a slight build and modest arm but brings toughness and poise. He’s also known to be a quick processor. Book will vie for the No. 2 spot behind Hurts.
CB Josh Jobe
One of four undrafted free agents to make the Eagles’ 53-man roster out of camp, Jobe became a mainstay on special teams, logging 220 snaps in the regular season (11 games) and 59 in the postseason. The former Alabama defender boasts a multifaceted skill set that suggests he could cross-train at some point, and given the Eagles’ need for cost-effective depth, Jobe will get his shot to carve out a bigger role.
RB Trey Sermon
Like Book, Sermon was a late addition who essentially redshirted his sophomore campaign. A former third-round pick of the 49ers, the 24-year-old Sermon offers the intriguing upside and measurables that suggest the former Sooner could be a viable contributor. It will be interesting to monitor his development under widely respected running backs coach Jemal Singleton.
LB Christian Elliss
Elliss burst onto the scene in Week 13, making an immediate impact on a special teams unit in disarray. The second-year linebacker impressed with his toughness, tenacity, and willingness to do the dirty work, and I will be watching to see if the experience ultimately translates into a more substantial depth role on defense.
DE Janarius Robinson
The signing of Robinson off the Vikings’ practice squad in mid-September always felt like a move made with an eye toward the future. Sporting a rocked-up physique and possessing inherent athleticism — not to mention his Florida State pedigree — Robinson will have a chance to contend for one of the final roster spots, invigorating a largely veteran-laden unit with a youthful reinforcement.
WR Tyrie Cleveland
A seventh-round pick of the Broncos in 2020, Cleveland appeared in 23 games over two seasons in Denver, where he thrived as a core special teamer, logging 320 special teams snaps. The former Florida wideout — whose time in Gainesville overlapped with Brian Johnson, who is poised to be the team’s next offensive coordinator — also offers kick return capability. Cleveland, 25, boasts legitimate 4.4 speed, so he’ll have an opportunity to open some eyes as and compete for a roster spot.
– Andrew DiCecco (@AndrewDiCecco) is a Staff Reporter/Content Producer for InsideTheBirds.com.
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