Following the NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles brought in a handful of interesting names as undrafted free agents. With the current state of the franchise, some of these guys should make the final roster come September.
Here are four undrafted free agents with the highest chances of making the cut.
Probably the most popular undrafted free agent to come to the Eagles, Trevon Grimes out of Florida has a real shot at making an impact in year one.
He’s a big bodied receiver who made living bringing down contested jump balls during his collegiate career. In his final year, 23.6 percent of his receptions went for touchdowns and he averaged 15.5 yards per reception. Grimes carved out a role for himself as a deep threat and red zone target during his senior season, and he could find himself in a similar role with the Eagles.
He leaves a little to be desired in the speed department, but the Birds don’t have many big receivers in their young receiving corps entering this year. DeVonta Smith’s lacking size has been well documented, Jalen Reagor is only 6-foot, Greg Ward and Quez Watkins are both a hair under 6-foot, and while John Hightower is 6’1”, he has a slender build. That leaves Travis Fulgham and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. JJAW probably won’t make the roster this year, and while Fulgham has some intriguing potential, we don’t truly know what he is yet as an NFL wide receiver.
If Grimes impresses during training camp this year, there’s no doubt in my mind he’ll at least make the final roster.
At this point, it’s a forgone conclusion that Zach Ertz won’t be on the Eagles roster in 2021. Although Howie Roseman has insisted that he’ll need fair compensation to deal Ertz, the June 1 deadline is on the horizon and the Eagles may need that $8.5 million that’ll be relieved once Ertz is gone more than they’re letting on.
With Ertz out of the picture, the Eagles only have one solid tight end on the roster, Dallas Goedert. Unless they decide to go out and sign a veteran like Richard Rodgers, the team could elect to have a camp battle between the young crop of tight ends filling out the roster.
If that’s the route they end up taking, the camp battle will be between Jason Croom, Caleb Wilson, Hakeem Butler, and undrafted rookie Jack Stoll. Stoll may not have had a great collegiate career statistically, catching only nine passes in three games last season in a terrible Nebraska offense, but the Eagles did give Stoll $122,500 in guaranteed money. That’s a lot for an UDFA, which means the Eagles really wanted to get their hands on him.
Despite a lack luster stat line at Nebraska, Stoll stands at 6’4”, 240 pounds, he’s a willing blocker and has soft hands. He’s not some athletic freak like Butler, but he could prove to be the best of the bunch behind Goedert once camp rolls around.
I’m surprised there hasn’t been more chatter around this Iowa State pass rusher. He left his alma mater as the leading sack artists in school history, finishing his collegiate career with 22.5 sacks and 44.5 tackles for loss, both school records. And he also tied a school record for starts with 49.
JaQuan Bailey not only excelled as a pass rushing specialist during his time at Iowa State, but he really developed into an all around defensive end who could set the edge on running plays almost just as well as he got after the quarterback. The only knock on Bailey is his lacking athleticism. He’s not ‘unathletic’ by any means, but scouts may have viewed him as someone who was already playing up to his maximum athletic potential, which would explain why he went undrafted.
He’ll have a steep hill to climb to make this Eagles roster. The Eagles spent two draft picks on pass rushers in this year’s draft, Tarron Jackson and Patrick Johnson. Not to mention the handful of pass rusher that will presumably be in the starting rotation (Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Ryan Kerrigan, and Josh Sweat). But, his pass rushing skill set is intriguing enough to at least take a flier on. At worst, he gets signed to the practice squad and gets another shot down the line.
Former Wake Forest and Georgia quarterback Jamie Newman likely won’t be someone who contributes in year one — or maybe at anytime during his Eagles career — unless there’s a complete catastrophe at the quarterback position, but he certainly has a good shot to make the final roster.
The Eagles only have two quarterbacks on the roster outside of Newman, Jalen Hurts and Joe Flacco. Maybe the team elects to only dress two quarterbacks, which is a definite possibility, but sometime this season Newman will probably suit up and stand on the sidelines.
In order to persuade the Eagles to keep three quarterbacks on the opening day roster, Newman will have to impress during the preseason. Newman has some nice tools to his game. Standing at 6’2”, 235 pounds, Newman is a prototypical pocket passer that’s a bit underdeveloped. He throws a spiral and gets the ball where it needs to be. Newman also does a nice job at buying time in the pocket and allowing his receivers to get open.
There are a handful or areas that need work, like staring down receivers a little too long, holding onto the ball too long, and subpar decision making. But it’s not like the team is relying on Newman to be exceptional from day one. He was undrafted for a reason, and the organization scooped him up as a developmental piece I’m sure.
Given the lack of quarterbacks on the roster, all Newman will have to do is play well during camp and the preseason to ensure his roster spot.
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