Doug Pederson made it to the NFL as an undrafted rookie out of Northeast Louisiana and spent more than a decade in the league as a backup quarterback. Now, as head coach of the Eagles, he has a say in deciding which undrafted rookies make the NFL. And he thinks this can be a good year for those players.
That may sound surprising to some people, as smaller training camp rosters and the elimination of the preseason provide fewer opportunities for undrafted rookies to prove themselves. But Pederson noted that practice squads have grown from 10 to 16 players, and he said the Eagles are eager to keep any player who can help them, regardless of how he got on the roster.
“I think that this is actually a good time to be a late-round pick and possibly a free agent, even these young draft picks,” Pederson said, via the Daily Times. “We’ve already had a week with them practicing on the grass. We’re going to get some really good opportunities here in these next coming weeks. They are going to learn a lot from the veterans. The way I have the schedule set up is for them to learn and to be successful. Once we get into the padded portion of training camp is where we really get to see where these guys are. We truly feel these young guys are going to be the ones who are going to have to help us throughout the entire season.”
The Eagles’ roster currently has 13 undrafted rookies. Most of them will get cut, but Pederson wants them to know they have a real opportunity in Philadelphia.