May 24, 2023   4 MIN READ

Count Them In

DiCecco: Three Under-Radar Candidates To Make Birds 53


Training camp is often viewed as an unrelenting proving ground in which relatively innocuous candidates emerge from obscurity, stamping themselves as viable roster contenders and amplifying the palpable suspense that ferments beneath the surface.

This summer figures to resemble the camps of yesteryear for the Eagles and their coaches, who will be presiding over several marquee jobs along with deliberating over depth in key areas.

Below are three of my favorite training camp dark horses who can contend for a spot on a loaded roster:

Josh Jobe

GETTY IMAGES: Josh Jobe made the Eagles last year but faces stiff competition this summer to make the 53 again.

P/K Ty Zentner

A priority signing in the immediate moments following the 2023 NFL Draft, Zentner probably didn’t sign with the Eagles just to be a camp body. Safe to say both Zentner and the Eagles view their pairing as mutually beneficial, as the undrafted rookie can easily push embattled incumbent Arryn Siposs for a spot on the 53.

The last time we saw Siposs – who yielded a 45.6 yards-per-punt average across 13 games last season – he booted a modest 38-yard punt to the Chiefs’ 30-yard line during the early moments of the fourth quarter in Super Bowl LVII, providing a red carpet for Kadarius Toney’s 65-yard return to the Eagles’ 5.

Siposs will not have the luxury of going uncontested this summer. Sure, Zentner – like any undrafted rookie – faces considerable odds in unseating a veteran mainstay. He’ll have to win over evaluators with consistency. However, it’s worth noting that Zentner, a Kansas State product, was a 2022 Ray Guy Award semifinalist who landed 27 of his 59 punts inside the 20-yard line last season.

Ever the dual threat, Zentner also doubled as the Wildcats’ kickoff specialist for three seasons and finished 37-of-37 on PATs and 11-of-11 on field goal attempts, including a long of 53 yards. His presence should not be taken lightly.

CB Josh Jobe

The crowded house at cornerback suggest that Jobe – a roster holdover from a season ago – faces an uphill climb in order for lightning to strike twice.

Still, provided Jobe can showcase developmental potential and string together enough positive plays this summer, he’ll have an opportunity, along with Zech McPhearson and free-agent addition Greedy Williams, to make a case for the team to elect going heavy at the position.

Jobe, who accounted for 76% of special teams snaps (220), is a versatile, long-armed defensive back boasting a prestigious collegiate pedigree who unequivocally plays the game in an urgent and physical manner.

One discernible advantage Jobe has over Williams – who’s perhaps his primary competition – is special teams impact and positional versatility. Jobe last season proved to be one of the few third phase bright spots, developing a niche as an effective gunner opposite McPhearson, which could count for something.

It’s also worth mentioning that the team has invested little in Williams in the way of guaranteed money. Despite positional reps presumably at a premium in camp, I’d wager Jobe has the slight edge.

DE Janarius Robinson

A fourth-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings two seasons ago, Robinson landed in Philadelphia via the Vikings’ practice squad days after the season opener, seemingly to replace veteran pass rusher Derek Barnett, who had just suffered a torn ACL. As the season progressed, it became apparent that the Eagles had no intention of unveiling the former Florida State edge rusher.

But it was telling how the Eagles seemingly went to great lengths to conjure creative ways to keep Robinson on the 53-man roster amid the incessant personnel shuffling. Robinson, who failed to log a single snap for the team last season, landed on injured twice, the final time coming on Jan. 7 with a reported ankle injury.

Following a year of seasoning and acclimation, the 6-foot-5, 260-pound pass-rusher will have an opportunity to turn heads this summer, potentially staking claim to what could be one of the final roster spots.

Robinson, who boasts intriguing measurables – including an 86 1/4-inch wingspan and a 4.69 40-time – could represent cost-effective long-term depth at a position largely absent of playable, youthful depth. Given the team’s long-standing philosophy of stockpiling trench depth, it wouldn’t surprise me if Robinson forced the Eagles’ hand in going heavy at his position.

– Andrew DiCecco (@AndrewDiCecco) is a Staff Reporter/Content Producer for

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