Philadelphia Eagles: Greg Ward Jr. left it all on the field

(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

After successfully transitioning from a college quarterback to wide receiver, Greg Ward Jr. has left it all on the field for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Make no mistake about it, Greg Ward Jr. is very much a longshot to make the Philadelphia Eagles roster.

Sure, the 5-foot-10 converted Houston quarterback now in his third stint in midnight green has made impressive strides as a wide receiver in 2019, due in large part to his stint as a starter in the now-defunct AAF, but with four wide receivers a lock to make the final 53 man roster and no guarantee the team keeps six, Ward’s career in Philly may finally come to an end as soon as Saturday.

But if it does, at least Ward left it all on the field.

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Wearing the number six – a number reserved for quarterbacks not wide receivers –  Ward quietly worked his way up the Eagles’ depth chart and finished out the final game of the preseason as one of the team’s starters alongside fellow bubble receivers Mack Hollins and Marken Michel.

And while Ward may not have Michel’s 4.3 speed or Hollins’ size and skill as a gunner, he consistently made plays with the ball in his hand.

Actually, that’s not really true. Ward does, in fact, have a special skill, his ability to play quarterback both in emergency situations and on trick plays, and the latter was on full display when the Birds took their show on the road to Jacksonville to face off against Nick Foles new club.

Did the flea-flicker work? Well, no, but as Reuben Frank put it, teams don’t typically draw up dedicated trick plays for a player with no chance to make the final 53 man roster, so that alone is moderately encouraging for Ward’s prospects long-term.

Furthermore, while the Eagles are good at punt returner at the moment, as the aging duo of Darren Sproles and DeSean Jackson should log the brunt of the team’s snaps this season, Ward flashed signs of encouraging returnability as a member of the San Antonio Commanders, where he returned a punt 79-yards for a touchdown.

Could Ward eventually step in and become the Eagles’ long-term answer as a special teams return man? If so, that would be a major upgrade over the motley crew of largely ineffective returners the team has trotted out since Josh Huff (ugh) filled the role from 2014-16.

But regardless of special teams, if the Eagles are basing their final receiver spot on merit and merit alone, it’s hard to objectively examine the tape and not give Ward the nod even over a draftee like Hollins.

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With impressive shiftiness and surprising physicality, Greg Ward looks like a very intriguing backup option for Nelson Agholor in the slot – a deceptive need since Agholor is set to become a free agent next spring. While the Philadelphia Eagles have a plethora of tough decisions ahead over the next 24 hours, keeping Ward around shouldn’t be one of them.