Eagles Outlook: 5 undrafted free agents who have the best chance to make the final roster
Now that we’re about two weeks into Eagles training camp, the 53-man roster is starting to come into focus.
Of course, there’s still plenty of time for the team to dwindle their 90-man camp roster down to 53. They’ll have until Tuesday, August 30 to do so. While most of the starting spots are solidified, there’s still plenty of questions surrounding the crop of undrafted free agents the Eagles acquired throughout the offseason.
The team announced the signing of 12 UDFA prior to minicamp and they’ve sprinkled in a few more once training camp got underway. Along the fringes of the roster, there’s plenty of opportunities for a handful of the undrafted rookies to claim a spot on the final 53.
Here are five undrafted free agents who have the best shot to earn themselves a roster spot.
RB Kennedy Brooks
Whether or not the Eagles opt to keep four running backs on the roster is still up in the air. But it is the likely scenario given how much the team ran the ball last season. If the offensive coaching staff goes that route, former Oklahoma back Kennedy Brooks could snag the fourth and final spot in the backfield.
Without Jordan Howard in the fold, the Eagles backfield lacks the north-south, bruising running style that Howard provided. Of all the backs currently at camp, Brooks is the closest to fitting the power back archetype.
Standing at 5-foot-11, 215 pounds, Brooks has excellent contact balance. Whether he’s in the open field or trying to find a hole to burst through, the Oklahoma product rarely goes down on first contact. Per Pro Football Focus, Brooks averaged 3.95 yards after contact in 2021 while forcing a total of 60 missed tackles, 18th among backs with at least 50 attempts.
The trio of Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, and Kenneth Gainwell is great, but adding a bigger, more powerful back to the fray would round out the Eagles backfield perfectly. Brooks can be that guy.
QB Carson Strong
Nevada’s former gunslinger Carson Strong hasn’t gotten off to the best start at camp, according to reports. He’s been splitting third-team reps with 25-year-old Reid Sinnett and by most accounts, Strong has been outplayed thus far.
Nevertheless, the Eagles gave Strong $320K guaranteed for a reason. If it weren’t for the concerns surrounding his knee injuries, Strong probably would have been selected during draft weekend. He has a cannon for an arm and put up some insane numbers at Nevada.
During his final collegiate year, Strong racked up 4,175 yards through the air while tossing 36 touchdowns and completing over 70 percent of his passes. He’s not much of a threat to take off and pick up yardage with his legs, but Strong has the arm talent to make it in this league.
If Strong can string together a few nice drives during preseason play, he’ll probably solidify a spot on the final roster.
WR Britain Covey
Utah’s Britain Covey was one of the most intriguing undrafted rookies entering camp and he’s been turning heads ever since it began. He even got some run with the first-team offense last week as a slot receiver.
Standing at 5-foot-8, 170 pounds, Covey is obviously undersized for the position. He utilizes his quickness and burst to get open and shake tacklers in the open field.
Covey at Eagles camp
The 25-year-old rookie accumulated 52 receptions for 514 yards and three touchdowns during his final year at Utah. Where Covey really shines is in the return game, which is where he’ll likely get the most playing time if he’s still with the team come September.
In 2021, Covey racked up 427 yards on 29 punt returns (14.7 yards per return) and found the endzone twice. His 427 punt return yards led the NCAA last season along with his two punt return touchdowns.
With Philly’s struggles in the punt return game, Covey could prove to be the perfect remedy and round out the WR depth chart nicely.
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CB Mario Goodrich
Clemson’s Mario Goodrich got a nice payday upon signing with the Eagles following the draft, inking a $217K guaranteed deal. With that much capital designated to the undrafted Goodrich, the team has high hopes for him.
Goodrich was a bit of a late bloomer in college. Once he earned the starting role in 2021, he proved to be just as consistent as his Clemson running mate, Andrew Booth Jr., who ended up being drafted in the second-round by Minnesota.
On the year, Goodrich totaled nine pass breakups, two interceptions, 42 combined tackles, and one touchdown. When quarterbacks targeted Goodrich in coverage, he allowed a pedestrian 49.0 passer rating.
The Eagles have a whopping 12 corners on their current roster. With Goodrich’s versatility to play in the nickel and along the outside, he has a strong case to earn the final spot on the CB depth chart.
LB Ali Fayad
You can never have too many pass rushers in today’s NFL, and that’s exactly what undrafted rookie Ali Fayad brings to the table.
During his final year at Western Michigan, the pass rushing linebacker racked up 39 combined tackles (17.5 for loss) and 12 sacks. In the five years he spent as a member of the Broncos’ defense, Fayad totaled 53 tackles for loss and 28.5 sacks.
Per Pro Football Focus, Fayad has earned a 91.3 pass-rush grade and a pass-rush win rate of 19.8 percent since 2020. He also posted the second-best PFF pass-rush grade during the East-West Shrine Bowl.
Fayad’s skill set fits perfectly with what Gannon wants to do at the SAM position. Aside from Haason Reddick, the rest of the depth chart at the position is pretty questionable. Fayad still has an uphill battle as an undrafted player, but if he can put some good tape together during the preseason, he could convince Gannon and Co. to keep him around once the regular season starts.
Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Inquirer