Philadelphia Eagles: Which UDFA has the best chance to make the team?

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

After amassing an impressive war chest of players following the 2018 NFL Draft, which players actually have a chance to make the Philadelphia Eagles roster?

While the NFL Draft may be the best way to add young talent to a roster, undrafted free agents have been an incredibly important part of the Philadelphia Eagles roster over the last few seasons.

From Trey Burton in 2014 to Corey Clement in 2017, Howie Roseman and company have added essential pieces to the team in the minutes and hours after the draft, and after signing 17 players in 2018, the team once again has a chance to strike gold with their most recent class of undrafted free agents.

But of these 17 players, which actually have a chance to make the roster, or at least the Eagles practice squad?

With very few true holes on the team, this year may prove harder than others to find a spot as an undrafted free agent, but as the Eagles have proven over the last few years it’s not about where you’re picked, but how you play when you get on the field. So let’s evaluate the Eagles 2018 undrafted free agent class and identify a few players with a legit chance of making the team.

Philadelphia Eagles
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Josh Adams

Josh Adams may be the most well-known Eagles rookie period, and there’s a good reason for that.

While the team mostly focused on adding meat and potatoes players in the draft, with the lone exception being Josh Sweat from Florida State, Adams played his college ball at national powerhouse Notre Dame, and at one-point was even a contender for the 2017 Heisman Trophy.

As the lead back in the Fighting Irish’s run-heavy scheme, Adams rushed for very solid 1,386 yards on 191 carries over the 2017 season, but slowed down in the back half, only rushing for 100 yards in only one of the team’s final five games.

Though his performance still should have got him drafted, as he’s a big, violent runner in the vein of LeGarrette Blount, many scouts assumed that Adam’s performance was more linked to the team’s star-studded offensive line then the Warrington native’s own abilities, causing him to fall down draft boards.

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While no player is a lock to make the team in this year’s undrafted free agent class, Adams is about as close as you can get, and baring disaster, will at the very least end up on the Eagles practice squad. Though he will have to beat out players like Wendell Smallwood, and Matt Jones to become Duce Staley‘s short yardage back, don’t count out Josh Adams becoming the Corey Clement of 2017.

Philadelphia Eagles
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Toby Weathersby

After having some success with previous LSU UDFA Dillon Gordon, the Eagles have doubled down on another Tiger tackle in Toby Weathersby.

Though he received a 5th-6th round grade from during the pre-draft process, Weatherby’s lack of an elite trait, when linked with a string of missed games due to “heat-related headaches” dropped Weathersby out of the top 256 prospects, and ultimately caused him to go undrafted.

But does he actually have a chance make the roster?

Anything’s possible.

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While the Eagles did select a pair of tackle prospects in the draft in TCU swingman Matt Pryor, and Australian rugby player Jordan Mailata, they are obviously looking to add some depth to the offensive line, with at least one roster spot potentially up for grabs.

Pryor may be the popular name in the clubhouse to become the Eagles’ fourth tackle behind Lane Johnson, Jason Peters, and Halapoulivaati Vaitai, but if Weathersby performs well this summer and shows the versatility to play both inside and out, he could at the very least find a home for himself on the Eagles’ practice squad.

Philadelphia Eagles
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Joe Ostman

Though the Eagles are absolutely loaded at defensive end, especially after adding Michael Bennett and Josh Sweat earlier this year, one player who could throw a wrench into the team’s plans is ex-Central Michigan Chippewas‘ defensive end, Joe Ostman.

Over five seasons with the team, after receiving a fifth year of eligibility due to losing almost his entire junior season, Ostman absolutely dominated the MAC Conference as a pass rusher, recording 220 total tackles and 26 sacks over his half-decade in Central Michigan.

While he finished out the 2017 CFB season with the most sacks on any player in the nation (13), Ostman’s lack of an elite trait and prototypical size made him an odd fit for most NFL teams, with some going so far as to label him a tweener, a curse for many players hoping to latch on with a pro team.

But just because he’s a tweener, that doesn’t mean he can’t still be a productive player.

Though he doesn’t possess the size of a true 4-3 defensive end, and likely can’t make the transition to a full time stand up outside linebacker in the NFL, Ostman looks like an intriguing practice squad player who could one day become a solid special teamer in the vein of fan favorite Bryan Braman.

Philadelphia Eagles
Jeremy Reaves(Photo by Todd Bennett/Getty Images) /

Jeremy Reaves

After failing to land a safety in the 2018 NFL Draft and losing both Jaylen Watkins and Corey Graham in free agency, Jeremy Reaves could shock the world and end up playing a huge role with the Eagles this fall.

Though he played the first three years of his college career as a cornerback, Reaves moved to safety as a senior and really came into his own playing further off the ball, recording 104 total tackles, 1.5 sacks and three interceptions in route to being named the Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year.

A serious accomplishment.

Standing a solid 5-foot-11, 205 pounds, Reaves has the prototypical size of an NFL starting safety, and could become a wonderful addition to the Eagles big nickel package, effectively replacing Grahm as the team’s third safety.

The Eagles do love safties who started out their careers at cornerback.

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Though Tre Sullivan is still the favorite to win the Eagles fourth safety position alongside Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, and Chris Maragos, if the team does decide they want to add a safety who can slide down and cover in the slot on nickel and dime situations, Reaves may be the man for the job.

While Reaves will have to prove that he can remain competitive at the game’s highest level, his versatility, and experience all over the defensive backfield should put him in the running for a spot in Cory Undlin‘s DB room.

Philadelphia Eagles
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Bruce Hector

Once considered the deepest position on the team, the Eagles now have an opening at defensive tackle following Timmy Jernigan‘s offseason surgery.

Could South Florida‘s Bruce Hector step up and fill the void?

Though he only appeared in 31 games for the Bulls in three years of action, Hector was one of South Florida’s most consistent players, recording 90 total tackles, 28 tackles for loss and 18 career sacks at defensive tackle over his tenure with the team.

And he struck fear in the hearts of the quarterbacks of the American Athletic Conference.

Far from the traditional run-stuffing nose guard, Hector made a name for himself as an attacking tackle with the speed, athleticism, and relentless motor to make plays at the line of scrimmage.

Jim Schwartz‘s type of player.

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While the team was already absolutely stacked with defensive tackles when he signed, especially after adding Haloti Ngata during the offseason, the Eagles still gave Hector $60,000 in guaranteed money, the most of any player in their UDFA class. Though the signing was initially viewed as a depth move, Hector may actually find a place in the Schwartz’s defensive tackle rotation in 2018 if he shows out this summer.