Despite receiving plenty of praise for their performance in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles are gearing up for the start of their rookie minicamp. Eagles general manager Howie Roseman and his staff quickly went to work in the undrafted free agent market. Will they be able to continue their recent streak of finding gold in the UDFA market in 2023?
Which UDFAs Did the Eagles Sign? Contracts and Notable Names
- Joseph Ngata, WR, Clemson
- Ben VanSumeren, LB, Michigan State
- Jadon Haselwood, WR, Arkansas
- Brady Russell, TE, Colorado
- Ty Zentner, P, Kansas State
- Trevor Reid, OL, Louisville
- Mekhi Garner, CB, LSU
- Eli Ricks, CB, Alabama
According to Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2 Houston, former Clemson wide receiver Joseph Ngata reportedly signed a contract with the Eagles worth $230,000 guaranteed. It’s always important to watch which undrafted free agents receive the most guaranteed money. That will usually tell you which players the team view as potential final roster or practice-squad candidates. At 6’3”, 217 pounds, Ngata certainly brings some much-needed size to the wide receiver room in Philadelphia.
Wilson also reported the details of former Michigan State linebacker Ben VanSumeren’s deal with Philadelphia as well. While VanSumeren signed for $130,000 guaranteed with the Eagles, he likely has a better chance at making Philadelphia’s final roster than Ngata does.
One of the main weaknesses on the Eagles’ roster is their LB group. Although VanSumeren is raw, he possesses rare athleticism that could help him earn a spot on the final roster due to his upside.
Former Louisville OT Trevor Reid could be the most intriguing player in this group. It’s no secret that Philadelphia’s depth at offensive tackle behind Jordan Mailata and Lane Johnson is questionable. The Eagles selected Tyler Steen in the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft, but some believe he should move inside to guard. Reid is a freakishly athletic prospect who could make Philadelphia’s final roster if he impresses OL coach Jeff Stoutland.
While the details on their contracts haven’t been revealed, it’s surprising to see both Eli Ricks and Mekhi Garner sign with Philadelphia. Following free agency and the draft, the Eagles have a crowded CB room that is loaded with talent.
Both Ricks and Garner were expected to be Day 3 picks in this year’s draft. Unless they’re potentially making the switch to safety, I’m not sure how strong their chances are to make the final roster in Philadelphia at cornerback.
Who Will Be Attending the Eagles’ Rookie Minicamp?
- Charleston Rambo, WR, Orlando Guardians (XFL)
- Dalton Godfrey, LS, South Dakota
- Jaylen Hall, WR, Western Kentucky
- Garrett Maag, WR, North Dakota
- Chim Okorafor, OL, Benedictine
- Sammis Reyes, TE, Free Agent
- DaShaun White, LB, Oklahoma
- T.J. Cole, RB, Ouachita Baptist
- Bentlee Sanders, DB, Nevada
- Xavier Bell, S, Portland State
- Jordan Murray, TE, Hawaii
- Jasir Cox, S, West Virginia
- Toa Taua, RB, Nevada
All of Philadelphia’s draft picks and undrafted free agent signings will likely participate in their rookie minicamp. Yet, each NFL team will invite players on a tryout basis to their rookie minicamps as well. Philadelphia has reportedly invited the 10 players listed above this year.
Despite their Day 3 trade for D’Andre Swift, I’m intrigued by the Eagles inviting former Nevada RB Toa Taua. Pro Football Network’s own Tony Pauline spoke highly of Taua in his 2023 NFL Draft scouting report on Nevada’s talented running back:
“Taua is one of the more underrated RB prospects in this draft. He’s productive carrying the ball as well as catching it out of the backfield. He’s not super athletic, but he does everything well enough to make a roster as a third-down back or situational runner. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Taua surprises in camp this summer and makes an NFL roster,” said Pauline.
Former Nevada DB Bentlee Sanders caught my attention as well. While Avonte Maddox is a great slot cornerback, Philadelphia doesn’t have much depth behind him. Sanders played all over Nevada’s secondary, including safety and slot cornerback. He also offers value as a potential return specialist, as he returned both kickoffs and punts for the Wolf Pack. That type of versatility is extremely valuable when building a final roster.
When Is the Eagles Rookie Minicamp?
According to the 2023 Important NFL Dates on NFL.com, “Clubs may elect to hold their one three-day post-Draft rookie minicamp from Friday through Sunday or Saturday through Monday on one of the two weekends following the Draft.”
The two weekends that NFL teams are allowed to choose from are May 5 to May 8 or May 12 to May 15. Although there hasn’t been any official announcement from the Eagles, Philadelphia will host their rookie minicamp during the first permitted window from May 5 to May 8, per source.
In recent years, the media was permitted to attend both warmups and individual drills. Therefore, we’ll likely see the first images of Philadelphia’s draft picks, undrafted free agent signings, and the invited players wearing midnight green during the Eagles’ rookie minicamp this weekend.