Deontay Burnett finally has a chance to shine for the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 3.
Despite initially joining the team under rather unusual circumstances – as a Christmas Eve practice squad signee by way of San Francisco – Burnett suddenly found himself a starter for the Eagles’ final game of the regular season – catching two balls for 48 yards as Carson Wentz‘s on-the-fly safety blanket possession receiver.
When the season ended and the Eagles added four new receivers to the roster over draft weekend, it was pretty safe to assume that Burnett would eventually fade off into the sunset; looking for his fifth team to latch on to in only his third professional season.
More from Section 215
- Philadelphia Eagles: Will Fuller just screams Howie Roseman trade target
- Philadelphia Eagles: 5 teams that could potentially trade for Will Parks
- The Philadelphia Phillies need to find their own version of Daryl Morey
- Philadelphia 76ers: Are we sure Doc Rivers even likes Tobias Harris?
- Philadelphia Eagles: No, a reunion with Daryl Worley isn’t in the cards
Only here’s the thing: Burnett was not going to let that happen.
Slotted in behind Greg Ward on the inside for the bulk of training camp, Burnett consistently found ways to remain relevant in an otherwise bloated position grouping made only slightly less so by Marquise Goodwin‘s decision to opt-out and Alshon Jeffery’s continued absence due to a 2019 Lisfranc injury. Had there been a preseason, fans would have likely been banging the table for Burnett like they did for Daeshon Hall in 2019, making it all the more tricky to risk losing him on waivers.
Fortunately, when Burnett was subjected to waivers, he snuck through and was able to sign with the Eagles’ practice squad.
In Week 1 and Week 2, the Eagles opted to protect Burnett with one of their four spots, but in Week 3, the team opted to take things in a different direction, elevating Burnett to the active roster alongside 2020 UDFA Grayland Arnold.
Much like Josh Adams, Boston Scott, and Greg Ward before him, Deontay Burnett finally has a chance to prove to the Philadelphia Eagles once and for all that he’s far from just a practice squad player.
With only four healthy receivers cleared to go for Week 3, Burnett is not only expected to be active for game day, but could factor heavily into the offensive game plan as the Eagles’ second interior receiving option behind Ward. That may not seem like a big enough offense snap share to even have a “revenge game”, but in relation to the Bengals’ defensive backfield, that may not be the case.
With only one objectively great cornerback on their roster in William Jackson III, who will all but certainly be locking horns with DeSean Jackson for much of Sunday’s contest, the Bengals’ defensive backs are nothing to write home about. If Burnett does see the field in Week 3 in a four wide receiver set, he’ll likely be lined up against failed Vikings second-round pick Mackensie Alexander, or even ex-Alabama cornerback Tony Brown, who was largely a special teams-only guy for the Green Bay Packers over the last two seasons.
For Burnett to “take revenge” on Howie Roseman and the Eagles’ front office for passing on him for a spot on the initial 53 man roster, all he really has to do is replicate his Week 17 performances from last season and he’ll already have more yards than both JJ Arcega-Whiteside and John Hightower through three games – though, to be fair, that duo currently has caught a combined one ball for -2 yards on six targets, so, in a way, Burnett is already the best performing receiving option of the three.
Under the league’s new practice squad rules, Deontay Burnett has at best two games to prove to the Philadelphia Eagles that he deserves a spot on the 53-man roster. While it’s entirely possible another receiver could go down due to injury and Burnett gets signed outright to take his spot, an encouraging showing in Week 3 could go a long way to prove once and for all that the USC product is a legitimate NFL wide receiver who can be an asset in three, four, and even five receiver sets. Get out your masks folks, it looks like ‘Underdog Szn’ came early this year.