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Why the Eagles kept 3 undrafted rookies on their roster


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Why the Eagles kept 3 undrafted rookies on their roster


Before the 2022 draft, Eagles general manager Howie Roseman mentioned that the Eagles were going to be particularly aggressive going after the undrafted pool ... and they were.

It paid off.

Because when the Eagles announced their initial 53-man roster on Tuesday it included three undrafted rookies: CB Josh Jobe, S Reed Blankenship and OL Josh Sills.

All three of those players earned their roster spots this summer over players who have been here, players with more NFL experience and players who had more guaranteed money in their contracts.

In fact, of the initial group of UDFAs, the Eagles paid out $200,000+ in guaranteed money to four players and Jobe, Blankenship and Sills weren’t included. Jobe and Sills each received $135,000 guaranteed (seven players got more) and Blankenship received just $55,000, the second lowest total of the group.

So why did they make the roster? They all earned it. And a five-man draft class turned into eight.

This is just the initial roster and there will be more moves coming. But let’s take a closer look at each UDFA who made it for now:

Josh Sills, OL, Oklahoma State

Sills, 24, beat out Jack Anderson, Le’Raven Clark and Kayode Awosika — among others — for a roster spot. During this training camp, Sills played tackle and guard and played both at a high level.

"When you talk about Sills, he's 6-5, he's 330 pounds, he has long arms. He's powerful, he's versatile,” Roseman said. "He can play inside or outside. I'm not putting him in Canton -- I'm starting to listen to my own description, and it sounds unbelievable.

"But the guy has talent in his body, and I think when you talk about Jack (Anderson), they play different positions really. So, we kind of tried to figure out what we had, what we were looking for, and it was a tough call.”

Anderson seemed like the likely candidate to make the roster as the Eagles’ 10th offensive lineman but Sills made it instead. While Anderson offers the Eagles guard/center flexibility, Sills can play tackle and guard. That’s a better fit to round out the roster.

Sills is a little older than most rookies but that’s because he spent four years at West Virginia before transferring to Oklahoma State for 2020 and 2021. He played guard and tackle for the Cowboys.

Josh Jobe, CB, Alabama

Many thought Jobe would be a mid-round draft pick but perhaps his stock was hurt because he played through a turf toe injury in 2021. But the Eagles liked what they saw on tape from the guy who started two years for one of the best programs in the country.

"This is a big, long, instinctive corner, a physical corner who's played at a high level in the SEC,” Roseman said. "I was saying the other day I'm watching guys even in this year's draft and I see Josh in man coverage with these guys.”

While Sills and Blankenship could be considered surprises, Jobe isn’t. About halfway through training camp he earned the outside corner spot opposite Zech McPhearson on the Eagles’ second-team defense and never gave it up. He beat out two UDFA corners who got more guaranteed money (Mario Goodrich and Josh Blackwell) and a bunch of guys who were here for part of last season. But there was no question by the end of camp that Jobe had earned a spot.

The only question about Jobe was his health. He injured his elbow in the second preseason game and hasn’t practiced since. He has been wearing a big brace on his arm so we’ll find out soon if a trip to IR is coming.

Reed Blankenship, S, Middle Tennessee State

Before trading to bring in C.J. Gardner-Johnson on Tuesday, the Eagles’ situation at safety looked pretty bleak. But at least they had Blankenship. While the other safeties fighting for rosters spots had their ups and downs during the summer, Blankenship steadily improved, made plays and avoided major blunders.

"With Reed, Reed is an interesting guy,” Roseman said. "Reed is a five-year starter. You don't see many of those guys going.”

"With 419 tackles,” Nick Sirianni chimed in.

After a while, the Eagles couldn’t ignore how well Blankenship performed this summer. Roseman on Tuesday even compared Blankenship to former Eagles safety Quintin Mikell, who was undrafted in 2003, thrived on special teams and eventually became a Pro Bowl safety.

“[Blankenship] has physical tools, but he's always around the ball, and credit to him and our coaches for putting him in position to make plays,” Roseman said. "We wanted to recognize that because we had a smaller draft class, we wanted to give everyone an opportunity to make this team.”


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