Philadelphia Eagles: Meet surprise tight end Josh Perkins

(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) /

With the tight end groups seemingly set, the Philadelphia Eagles surprisingly decided to keep four going into the season. But who is Josh Perkins?

Of all the positions on the Philadelphia Eagles roster, the one that felt the most set in stone for the majority of training camp had to be tight end.

After allowing special-teams ace/certified Philly sports legend Trey Burton walk in free agency and formally moving on from Brent Celek after 11 wonderful years together, it was obvious that the team’s tight end group would look a little different going into 2018, but those faces appeared more or less set from day one.

Between signing former Green Bay Packers and University of California veteran Richard Rodgers, and the team’s decision to trade up in the second round for South Dakota State stalwart Dallas Goedert, it seemed like the Eagles we’re pretty well set at tight end one, two, and three going to the regular season.

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However, apparently, no one told that to Howie Roseman, because in the trim down to 53, he decided to hold onto an additional player, third-year former University of Washington tight end Josh Perkins.

But who is the Philadelphia Eagles fourth-string tight end, and why did he make the team in such an already stacked position grouping?

Let’s get to know the Philadelphia Eagles fourth-string tight end and see if Josh Perkins actually has a legitimate chance of sticking around in the City of Brotherly Love after a fairly tumultuous start to his professional football career.

Ranked the 64th wide receiver prospect in the nation by ESPN coming out of high school, Perkins signed on to play football at the University of Washington, where he was asked to switch things up and play tight end.

After failing to log a stat as a freshman, Perkins appeared in 27 games over his final three seasons in Seattle, hauling in 66 catches for 991 yards and nine touchdowns, while serving as a Jake Browning’s primary safety blanket. Though Perkins was essential to the team’s reemergence as a legitimate PAC-12 powerhouse, his albeit limited offensive production simply wasn’t enough to get him drafted.

However, his services were fairly in-demand after the final selection in the 2016 NFL Draft had been made, with the former Husky taking his talents across the country to become a member of the Atlanta Falcons.

Over his two-year tenure with the Falcons, Perkins didn’t play much on the offense inside of all, only logging 72 snaps over eight games (one start) but he was fairly active on special teams, logging 105 snaps over his eight-game tenure.

As we all know, Roseman loves special teams players.

Now this is all well and good, but does Perkins actually have a legitimate chance of sticking around with the Eagles, or is he a prime candidate to be released should the team decide to sign a player like Braxton Miller or Breshad Perriman?

A week ago I would have said he’s an obvious placeholder, but now, Perkins essentially looks like a lock to be an Eagle for the remainder of the 2018 season.

Though it was initially a bit of a surprise that he made the 53-man roster as a fourth tight end, as the team looked pretty set at the position, the move was almost immediately vindicated by Rodgers placement on injured reserve. Now granted, the team could bring him back later in the season, but new NFL rules make it so that a team can only bring back two players from IR each season. With players like Timmy Jernigan, Chris Maragos, and even Mack Hollins currently on reserve, I doubt they would waste one of those two prime options on a third-string tight end.

For better or worse, Perkins looks like he’s going to be in Philly for a while.

And even if he doesn’t see the field much as a true offensive tight end, his special team’s experience is useful.

After making the Eagles 46-man active game day roster, Perkins logged six snaps against his former team, four on offense and two on special teams, a role I personally could easily foresee him filling week in week out for the remainder of the season.

Don’t get me wrong, Doug Pederson clearly likes to change-up his play-calling, and use three tight ends occasionally, but the addition of a second weapon like Goedert on the roster, when coupled with players like Halapoulivaati Vaitai and Isaac Seumalo, makes the need to rely on that sort of super heavy package a bit superfluous.

Why ask Perkins or Goedert to fill Celek’s former role as an inline blocker when you can just use an actual offense of lineman? Or better yet, why not just lineup Zach Ertz at left tackle, like the Eagles did on the goal line in Week 1?

While Burton’s transformation from a do-it-all special-teams ace into a legitimate swiss army knife offensive threat may askew history a bit, but for the most part, teams aren’t expecting their third-string tight ends to be a big-time offensive playmaker.

Though Burton parlayed his break out fourth season in Philly into an incredibly lucrative four-year $29 million deal with the Chicago Bears, that outcome seemed almost unimaginable when he rushed the ball five times for 10 yards as a filling in as an emergency running back as a rookie. Most young tight ends are relegated to reserve duty and have to work their way onto the field with a strong showing on special teams.

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While Josh Perkins may not be a do-it-all offensive weapon who can pass, catch, and rush the ball as a bit veritable offensive chess piece (that players currently on the practice squad), he is a more than capable third-string tight end with special teams upside who will likely log about 60 offensive snaps over the course of the season. But who knows, maybe with some extended time in Doug Peterson scheme, the Eagles may have found their next diamond in the rough?