Penn State presence strong in NFL Draft for Philadelphia Eagles

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

Between the draft and free agency, the Philadelphia Eagles added four former Penn State Nittany Lions to their roster.

The 2019 NFL Draft is in the books, and the Philadelphia Eagles walk away with five new players via the draft, and a plethora of new talent added in the post-draft free agency period. Howie Roseman and company appear to have really bolstered the Eagles roster over the past few days.

One common trend that appeared for the Eagles throughout the draft was the flux of Penn State Nittany Lions to be added to the roster. Two were added through the draft, and two more were added as undrafted free agents.

Miles Sanders, Shareef Miller, Ryan Bates, and DeAndre Thompkins will all be making the move from Happy Valley to the City of Brotherly Love. It has been a while since the Eagles have drafted a Penn State player, but they made up for it by picking up four this past weekend.

The last Eagles player to hail from Penn State was former offensive linemen Stefen Wisniewski. Wisniewski, as many remember, was a member of the Eagles the last three seasons and was a key cog on their Super Bowl winning team two seasons ago.

Hopefully, the new class of Penn Staters can enjoy similar success as Wisniewski in Philadelphia.

For a segment of Eagles fans that hails from Penn State, myself included, they couldn’t be any more thrilled with four former Nittany Lions getting set to suit up for their beloved Eagles. It’s not every day that you can see a player you cheered for in college get the opportunity to play for your hometown NFL team.

While adding these former Nittany Lions is exciting on the surface, it is what these players can bring to the Eagles that really should be getting fans excited.

Sanders is someone who Eagles fans have been clamoring to ever since the Penn State and Eagles respective seasons ended back in January. He is someone who can be a game changer out of the backfield and should contribute from day one.

After waiting two years behind Saquon Barkley, Sanders shined in his one season as the lead-back at Penn State. Sanders combined for only 375 yards in his first two seasons, but in 2018 he ran for 1,274 yards, adding nine touchdowns and 24 receptions.

Sanders could be someone the Eagles look to as a pass catcher considering Jordan Howard’s one-dimension style as a run only back.

Miller always dreamed of playing for the Eagles as he grew up in Philadelphia. In 2018, Miller racked up 7.5 sacks in what was his redshirt junior season. Miller should contribute early on for the Eagles as a rotational defensive end.

The other two, Bates and Thompkins, are wild cards who will have long-shots at making the Eagles roster. Bates has a much higher chance of making it than Thompkins, but both will have their work cut out for them nonetheless this summer.

Bates has some versatility which should help the 6’4” 301 pounder in terms of making the Eagles roster. He will be competing for a depth spot, and if he makes it, may not be active on game days.

Thompkins has the longest shot of all to make the Eagles roster. He was never much of a playmaker at Penn State as he only recorded 25 catches for 329 yards and two touchdowns in 2018, but was looked at as a veteran leader by James Franklin.

Whether two, three, or all four former Nittany Lions make the Eagles roster, it is still nice to see these players realize their dreams and even cooler for it to be in the City of Brotherly Love.

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The “We Are” chants heard on Saturdays in Beaver Stadium will now be traded in for “E-A-G-L-E-S” chants on Sunday’s at Lincoln Financial Field. So let’s be sure to welcome our newest Nittany Lions to the Eagles!