The Eagles’ preseason slate has come to an end following Thursday’s 27-13 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Nick Sirianni and his coaching staff are now left with deciding where and how everyone fits into the 53-man roster ahead of the Aug. 29 cut-off date.
While most of the roster was known heading into the game against the Colts, one special teams battle took a huge shift by the time the smoke cleared.
Heading into the offseason, Britain Covey was expected to handle a good chunk of punt and kick returns. After all, the 25-year-old wide receiver returned 33 punts and 10 kicks while suiting up in 17 games with the Eagles last year.
Having said that, Covey’s job is no longer as safe after fellow wideout Devon Allen’s performance on Thursday night.
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Allen was an absolute beast when it came to kick returns, returning four opportunities for a whopping 127 yards. His 73-yard kickoff return to open the contest was his biggest play of the night as Trey Sermon scored a goal-line touchdown on the ensuing drive.
For comparison, Covey’s best kick return in 2022 went for 26 yards.
After the preseason finale, it’s clear that Allen should be given Covey’s job. His background as a world champion hurdler gives him a unique skill set that most return men don’t have. Things are even more dangerous when you add his blistering speed (4.35-second unofficial 40-yard dash time) to the mix.
Another reason why Allen deserves a roster spot is his versatility. The Eagles clearly don’t see Covey as an everyday WR, highlighted by his playing just 19 offensive snaps without a target in 2022.
Meanwhile, Allen has already been targeted four times this preseason, hauling in three of those balls for 28 yards and a first down. Those aren’t exactly eye-popping stats, but they do prove that he’s capable of chipping in on the occasional passing play when needed.
This also isn’t the first time that Allen has made a case for himself during the final exhibition game. He caught a 55-yard touchdown pass in last year’s preseason finale, which convinced the coaching staff to sign him to the practice squad.
It isn’t easy for an athlete to switch sports, but it’s evident that Allen has some potential deep inside him. He’s far from a perfect player, but that upside makes him more dangerous than Covey.
I’m not even advocating that Covey be cut outright or anything because he was still a top-10 punt returner in most categories last year. If anything, Philly could use him in punting situations.
However, it’s clear that the Birds have something special with Allen, and to let him sit on the practice squad all year would be a mistake.
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