Philadelphia Eagles: Is the Britain Covey hype legit?

(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

If you’ve been keeping up with the Philadelphia Eagles this offseason, you’ve certainly seen the name Britain Covey a time or two, and for a good reason – he might just be the hottest dark horse name on the roster.

After addressing basically every major position of need on the team’s starting lineup in either free agency or the draft, Howie Roseman largely used the undrafted free agency period to add depth and potentially address one of the most underrated needs on the team – kick/punt returner.

Sure, the Birds currently have Jalen Reagor, Greg Ward, and Boston Scott under contract, all of whom have been known to return a kick or two from time to time, but none of the performers are particularly good at that aspect of the game and Philly has maintained one of the least dangerous return games as a result.

In Britain Covey and his fellow UDFA/Olympic hurdler Devon Allen, the Philadelphia Eagles have hope, with the former more likely to crack the 53 man roster due to his recent experience as a top-tier return man and his utility in the passing game too. But is the hype warranted? Let’s try to find out.

Can Britain Covey crack the Philadelphia Eagles 53 man roster?

Britain Covey isn’t your traditional UDFA rookie. For one thing, he’s 25, married, spent five years at his collegiate home of the University of Utah, and took time off from his college run to go on an LDS mission to Chilli that cost him the 2016 and 2017 CFB seasons.

And yet, as a return man, Covey can go; during his final season in St. Lake City, Covey led the NCAA in punt yards and punt touchdowns and finished just two returns short of being the top performer in that category too. Granted, Covey wasn’t quite as prolific in the kick return game, returning just 12 for 360 yards – with his 30 yards-per-return average ranking eighth in the NCAA – he did bring back one return for a touchdown, which only 50 other players could say nationwide.

While that production alone wasn’t able to overcome his mediocre offensive numbers, topping out at 637 yards as a receiver, or his lack of size at 5-foot-8, 170 pounds, in the leadup to the 2022 NFL Draft, Covey was enough of a priority for the Eagles to give him $137,500 in guaranteed money with a $12,500 signing bonus, which ranked seventh on the team among 12 UDFAs.

Assuming Covey can bring that production to South Philadelphia, it’ll look like a bargain.

Now, as you probably didn’t know definitively but could have certainly assumed, the Philadelphia Eagles haven’t gotten three special teams touchdowns in the same season as a whole, let alone from a single returner since all the way back in 2014, when Darren Sproles brought back two punts for touchdowns and the, um, dynamic duo of Chris Polk and Josh Huff each returned a kick for a touchdown. Nick Sirianni’s team didn’t have a single return touchdown, and over five years, Doug Pederson’s squad combined for just three, which would be kind of funny if it wasn’t so sad.

If Covey can just become the Eagles’ version of Braxton Berrios, even without the offensive production, he might just earn a long-term deal when his current contract expires, let alone just make the initial 53 man roster.

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On paper, the Philadelphia Eagles are pretty darn loaded at wide receiver. Their top four spots are all 100 percent locks barring injury, and the prospects of retaining Greg Ward or Jalen Reagor over a 25-year-old rookie just might not be in the cards for the 50th-ish spot on the roster. Then again, if the Philadelphia Eagles want to go all-in on a position of need, then giving a serious look at Britain “The Morman Missle” Covey to see if he can finally break the trend of underwhelming return man production should be a priority this summer.