The Philadelphia Eagles were very active in the undrafted free agent market. The team signed 12 players in total and had some of the highest guarantees for UDFA signings.
In part two of our two-part Eagles Draft Primer series (you can find part 1 in which we profiled all draft selections, here), our Eagles staff writers profile each signing and what each player could offer the Eagles.
Pierrot Baptiste Jr. – CB Josh Jobe
The Eagles were able to sign possibly the top two undrafted free agent cornerbacks in Jobe and Mario Goodrich. The first of which garnered a 4th round grade from NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein.
Jobe was a four star recruit out of Cheshire, CT. Jobe looked to be an early draft pick following his junior season in which he started 13 games and registered 11 pass breakups, 55 tackles, and forced 2 fumbles. He returned to school in 2021 for his senior season where he struggled to catch on and dealt with a foot injury that kept him out of Alabama’s national championship game.
On the field, Jobe stands 5-foot-11 and weighs 182 pounds. He also adds a wingspan that measured in the 87th percentile at 32 & ⅝”. Jobe is a physical corner who’s at his best when he can get hands on the receiver he’s matched up on. Jobe also plays with some really tight hips. He isn’t the most athletic corner in terms of speed and quickness, but he is a very willing competitor. Jobe may be better suited for a position change to safety.
Pierrot Baptiste Jr. – Mario Goodrich (CB)
The other top UDFA cornerback the Eagles were able to sign was Clemson’s Mario Goodrich.
Over the span of his 4-year career at Clemson, Goodrich started 16 games and amassed 84 total tackles, 15 pass breakups and five interceptions over 1,116 snaps on 83 targets. As a senior, Goodrich earned a starting role and earned first team All-ACC honors where he put together his best season as a collegiate athlete.
As a one-year starter, Goodrich’s trajectory is pointing upward. He has room to grow and develop. At 6-foot even and 190 pounds with a 74 ⅝” wingspan, Goodrich possesses very good measurables for a developmental outside corner.
He isn’t the most athletic, evidenced by his 4.52 40 yard dash time. Like Jobe, Goodrich is at his best when he’s working with the receiver in front of him and he can be physical at the catch point. He, also like Jobe, may have some safety in his future. In fact, both corners remind me a bit of former Eagles cornerback/safety Jalen Mills a bit.
Parth Shukla – CB Josh Blackwell
Following the theme of defensive backs who were thought of in a better light before having a fall from grace, the Eagles signed CB Josh Blackwell, a corner with returner upside from Duke.
Blackwell started his career off with a strong freshman campaign (9 games played, 28 tackles, 6 pass breakups, 1 forced fumble) before missing two games during his sophomore year (10 games played, 29 tackles, 7 pass breakups), missing most of his junior season (2 games played, 4 tackles, 1 tackle for a loss) due to a surgery to repair his meniscus. Following this, he had a healthier senior season (11 games played, 35 tackles, 1 tackle for a loss, 7 passes breakups) but never quite lived up to expectations created during his freshman year. However, questions about his durability still linger, possibly contributing to draft stock.
Blackwell’s aggressiveness on the field clearly jumps out.
Blackwell is also a natural athlete, showcased by his 4.34 40 yard dash and 6.75 3-cone drill at 6-foot and 170 pounds. He has showcased this speed and athleticism in the return game as well, so this could also be an avenue towards his making the roster.
While in coverage, Blackwell struggles when asked to cover bigger receivers. Although he has a good knack for punching the ball out and forcing incompletions, receivers with size on him can out-position him, so with Blackwell’s size and speed the slot corner spot may be the best option for him. He also has a tendency to be undisciplined in zone and doesn’t always have a good feeling for developing route combinations. This all in addition to struggling with his backpedal and balancing between playing the ball and his man, showcases that while Blackwell has the requisite speed and physicality for the position, he is still very much a very raw defensive back.
There’s reason to hope that his struggles the last few seasons were due to stunted development as a result of various injuries. However, if he can stay healthy, he’s a player who could be on the rise once he’s under the tutelage of NFL coaches and veterans such as Darius Slay.
Pierrot Baptiste Jr. – SAF Reed Blankenship
Reed Blankenship is a high production prospect. The former 3-star recruit out of Lester, Alabama started in 50 games over his 5-year career (extra COVID year) at Middle Tennessee State. He amassed 419 total tackles, nine interceptions and 19 pass breakups over his time as a Blue Raider.
Blankenship is an animal against the run. He’s is constantly looking to trigger downhill and make a play in support. Against the pass, Blankenship also has experience in two high coverage shells and single high coverage shells. His feet are very active whether in coverage or in run support. Blankenship became Middle Tennessee’s all-time leader in tackles in 2021.
Reed Blankenship was a three time captain while at Middle Tennessee and it’s easy to tell why. The level of intensity that he plays with is one of his top qualities. I’d expect him to compete for special teams snaps early on in his career if he can catch on with Philadelphia
Mar’Quell Fripp-Owens – DT Noah Ellis
It’s clear that the Eagles have a plan for the defense. The organization seems to have bought into the direction in which the league is currently trending. Much like Brandon Staley and Vic Fangio — Jonathan Gannon is a firm believer in keeping the big plays in front of you and the rest will come. As proven by the Eagles being the team who allowed the least amount of explosive pass plays in all of football (6% per Sharp Football Analysis) but left some room to be desired in terms of the run defense. The way defenses are shifting is about dominating the numbers; a lot of cover two and match quarters coverage.
If you can find a way to even out the numbers in the box without giving up any ground on the back end, the odds then shift in your favor.
We’ve discussed what a prospect such as Jordan Davis brings to the table but recently signed UDFA Noah Elliss offers much of the same skill set. At 6-foot-4 and 359 pounds we’re talking about a mountain of a man and while Elliss may have attended Idaho, let it be known that he had offers from many big name schools such as Alabama, Oklahoma, USC, and almost settled on Mississippi State before ultimately deciding he wanted to play under his father who was the defensive line coach at Idaho.
Elliss spent much of his time as a two gapping nose tackle (the one tech) and also offers appeal as a 0 tech (head up over the center). He is a people mover and a gap stuffer. Elliss is almost impossible to single block him and is a relatively good athlete despite his 5.66 forty yard dash at the combine. He’ll need to continue to manage his weight and work on his technique to become a consistent producer but presents all the tools of what the modern defense is looking for.
Pierrot Baptiste Jr. – QB Carson Strong
If it weren’t for injury concerns, Carson Strong likely would’ve heard his name called in the 2nd or 3rd round. In my opinion, he was the most talented pure passer in this draft class. He was the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year in 2020 and he was the conference’s top offensive player again in 2021.
As stated, I think Strong was the best pure passer of the football in this class and his production backs it up. Over his last two years as a starter at the University of Nevada, Strong completed over 70% of his passes, passed for over 7,000 yards, threw 63 touchdown passes (compared to 12 interceptions) and averaged a 158.8 passer rating.
On the field, Strong displayed nice accuracy at all three levels of the field and the ability to throw receivers open. The touch and precision he throws with was (and I don’t use this word lightly) elite.
The guy can flat out do it all as a passer. His mental processing speed is another plus in his basket. Strong throws with a compact and conscience throwing motion and doesn’t waste any movements. He also did a ton of work pre-snap while at Nevada in terms of protection calls.
Strong has a very good shot of pushing and/or challenging Gardner Minshew for the backup quarterback spot if he can stay healthy. He’s that advanced as a passer coming into the NFL, there’s just one main knock on him (and it’s a pretty significant one): injuries.
It’s the reason he went undrafted and it’s an injury that he’s dealt with since high school. Strong experienced right knee discomfort while playing high-school basketball in 2017. There was a “clicking” in his knee, which led to him having a procedure that re-aattached cartilage in his knee with eight biodegradable nails to mend a crack in a bone in his knee. Strong also underwent more surgeries while at Nevada. In January of 2021, Strong had an arthroscopy to remove scar tissue in order to be able to play in 2021.
If Strong can stay healthy he’ll be a very viable backup quarterback but that’s a big IF.
Parth Shukla: WR/RS Britain Convey
You want special teams help? Britain Convey provides that and he provides it in bunches. Over the course of his five-year career at Utah, Convey earned five All-Pac-12 selections (four as a returner). Convey also offers some receiving prowess, as he led Utah in receiving yards in 2015, 2018, and 2020.
Convey took two years off from football as he went on a mission trip to Chile. However, he returned in 2018 and had his best seasons as a collegiate athlete. Convey hauled in 60 catches for 637 yards and a touchdown, was used on rushing plays 21 times and ran for 172 yards, and as a returner Convey returned 25 balls for 221 yards (good enough for 20.6 yards per return.
Convey will be 25 when his rookie year starts, however, for what most teams would be adding him for (special teams impact), it likely wouldn’t hinder opinions or plans for him. Convey returned 92 punts for 1,092 total yards throughout his 5 year career.
If he earns a job in the NFL, it will predominantly be as a return man, however, he has the juice to surprise a lot of people as a slot receiver.
Pierrot Baptiste Jr. – RB Kennedy Brooks
Kennedy Brooks is a hard-nosed runner who keeps his legs churning. Brooks was a patient and reliable back throughout his three year career at the University of Oklahoma. Coming out of Mansfield High School in Texas, Brooks was a 4 star recruit and earned offers from Texas A&M, Michigan, and the University of Washington. During his career at OU, Brooks rushed 472 times for 3,320 yards and 31 touchdowns in his time at Oklahoma.
As a junior, Brooks was an Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award semifinalist. Brooks offers RB2 upside and he seems to be a productive runner of the football in the short yardage game, but he also possesses the sneaky ability to bounce runs outside. The word that comes to mind the most when watching Brooks is reliable.
He consistently gets the job done. He isn’t a home run hitter or this aggressive physical back, but he manages to churn out positive yardage whenever the ball is in his hands.
At 5-foot-11 and 209 pounds, Brooks offers ideal measurebles for a change of pace back that could compliment the home run hitting style of Miles Sanders, the passing game impact of a Kenny Gainwell, and energizer-like back that is Boston Scott. Brooks offers something different from the other backs in the room, in that he profiles as a bit of a safety blanket at running back. He’s a reliable piece that doesn’t have a ton of glaring holes in his game.
Mar’Quell Fripp-Owens – G Josh Sills
Josh Sills is a former three star recruit out of Meadowbrook High in Ohio, who played both kicker and punter on top of his offensive line duties. He averaged 41.9 yards per punt, hit a 43 yard field goal which marked as his career long, and had 18 touchbacks on kickoffs. After initially committing to West Virginia, Sills spent the first four seasons of his college career in Morgantown, West Virgina where he started 24 games and was named as a second team All-Big 12 member as a sophomore.
A shoulder injury ended his 2019 season prematurely after just two games, which marked the last time we saw him in a Mountaineer uniform. In 2020, Sills landed in Stillwater as a graduate transfer and became a valuable chess piece along the offensive line, starting games at both tackle spots and at left guard. With 47 career starts, Sills is an ultra experienced player and was known as one of the leaders in the Cowboy locker room.
At 6-foot-5 and 330 pounds, Sills is built like a tackle but doesn’t have the feet to play the position consistently. At times it feels as if he’s stuck in quick-sand during pass protection reps. Sills isn’t the fastest guy which often limits his range when working off combo blocks and as the pulling guard. I absolutely love what he offers as a run blocker — he plows through defenders. Sills finished the season with a team high 21 pancake blocks. He’s a people mover and he plays with a solid base, upper body is much more powerful than the lower half.
Mar’Quell Fripp-Owens – G William Dunkle
Dunkle is former three star recruit who finished his time at Eastlake High as an offensive tackle but ultimately made the conversion to guard at San Diego State. This transition, however, wasn’t because the measurements don’t fit the bill of a tackle, as is the case in many transformations. Dunkle has started 30 games over the past three seasons and was named First team All-Mountain West in his final season as an Aztec. At 6-foot-5 and 329 pounds with 33 5/8″ inch arms, Dunkle is the ideal size for a NFL tackle, but his concerns or gifts to an extent extend into the mentality he plays with. Simply put, Dunkle is a run blocker and a damn good one at that. Does he play with the best technique? No. Can he consistently seal off defenders to create openings for backs in the run game? Not quite. But the kid loves to beat people up.
While he has the tendency to be maybe a bit too aggressive
But the kid can throw his weight around! It isn’t the normal out in space blocker the Eagles typically look for but offers some appeal in the category as long as his assignment doesn’t athletically put him out of position.
Sills play is really reminiscent of how the Eagles utilized Nate Herbig against the Giants when Jason Kelce went down. He’s probably is better suited for a gap scheme but has some reps as a zone blocker that get the juices flowing. I’m not a big fan of what he brings to the table as a pass protector — as I said he’s a run blocker. He often leads with his head when initiating contact and isn’t super aware in terms of extra rushers or who to pick up when. Yet with all that said, he hasn’t allowed a sack in 1,012 snaps so there’s that.
Ultimately, while I don’t believe he possesses starting caliber traits, Dunkle can be the ideal swiss army knife the Eagles seem to keep around. First, Halapoulivaati Vaitai and next Matt Pryor. As Jeff Stoutland’s next big project, maybe Dunkle can come of service as the primary reserve for Philadelphia’s offensive line at some point.
Cover Image Credit: Steven M. Falk / Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Photographer