Philadelphia Eagles: Anthony Rush made the most of his NFL debut

(Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images) /

After cycling through half a dozen defensive tackles since Week 1, the Philadelphia Eagles may have uncovered a gem in ex-Raiders UDFA Anthony Rush.

It happened, it finally happened.

After cycling through some half a dozen bodies in the weeks following Malik Jackson‘s Lisfranc injury, it looks like the Philadelphia Eagles have finally found an intriguing complement for Fletcher Cox – in the weirdest place possible.

That’s right, after signing veteran free agents (Akeem Spence), trading for youngsters in need of a change of scenery (Hassan Ridgeway), and shifting defensive ends inside regardless of down and distance (Vinny Curry), the Eagles top interior reserve was actually found on the Oakland Raiders‘ practice squad in rookie tackle Anthony Rush.

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Rush, a 6-foot-1, 350-pound UDFA out of UAB, initially signed with the Eagles post-draft but failed to latch on with the team despite receiving a $30,000 signing bonus.

From there, he joined the Raiders during training camp and promptly had one of the most dominant preseasons of any defensive lineman in the league.

Amassing 11 tackles in four games of action, Rush quickly captured the hearts of Raider Nation and looked like a potential dark horse to make the final 53 man roster, at least until the signing of Corey Liuget left him the odd man out.

Relegated to the practice squad, Rush bid his time waiting for a chance to join the active roster and received it on October 21st, only the offer came from Howie Roseman.

From there, Rush had to relearn Jim Schwartz albeit simple defensive scheme and prepare to earn his first defensive snaps six days and despite all of that, the Raleigh, NC native came out looking great.

No, he didn’t light the world on fire or record multiple sacks like Cox in his 19 defensive snaps, but the rookie did a fine job clogging up running lanes in a game where running the ball was vital. Rush also showed solid instincts as a pass rusher, collapsing the pocket from the interior and freeing up Cox to unload his aggressions on Josh Allen.

And now, with Week 8 starter Bruce Hector on the streets, Rush could be in-line for his first career start against the Chicago Bears at the Linc.

Granted, it’s not like Hector was waived specifically because of Rush’s performance, but when comparing the duo head-to-head, it’s not hard to tell which player has a higher NFL ceiling.

While it’s clear the Eagles are going to use Brandon Graham more and more often as an interior pass rusher after the addition of speedy Chris Long-type Genard Avery (more on that here), the Eagles still need a big body to clog up the paint on rushing downs and in short-yardage situations – at least until Timmy Jernigan returns to the field (if that ever happens).

Next. Genard Avery can replace Chris Long. dark

If a limited Week 8 performance is of any indication, Anthony Rush looks like he can fill that very specific role for the Philadelphia Eagles down the stretch and potentially carve out a nice niche with the club for years to come as a penetrating nose tackle.