UDFAs Who Can Make Roster II
The Philadelphia Eagles are beginning the slow climb into football season, and are initiating nearly a third of the team into the team’s football training camp. Some players are seasoned veterans who will show up to learn the system, but who will keep a little in reserve for the actual season. Some players are drafted, and will perform to their best of their ability to jockey for the hierarchy of playing time. A starting roster spot can be had for the best performers, while many will find themselves in a reserve/rotation situation in the 2014 NFL season. How much time they are given depends on the trust in their performance which will be built now – in training.
Still, as we’ve discussed with in last week’s article, there are undrafted free agents who are flat out fighting to stay afloat in the NFL ocean. These prospects are more than just “long shots” to join the Philadelphia Eagles. Each player has a unique story, a unique combination of skill and promise, that stood out from hundreds of other hopefuls. But even more, to the team, they are the future. Whoever can earn the elusive right to remain on this team’s roster becomes part of this team’s legacy. From that point on, they are expected to answer the bell when opportunity to play occurs. They will be expected to block, run, tackle, or even score against the best of the NFL. It has been my pleasure to tell you a little of their story and continue to do so this week with three new players: Offensive Guard Josh Andrews, and running backs Henry Josey and David Fluellen.
Offensive Guard Josh Andrews
Josh Andrews is the third of three offensive guards signed after the draft, and is the only “natural” guard. He will be in direct competition with Karim Burton and Donald Hawkins (see story at http://insidetheiggles.com/2014/06/07/undrafted-free-agents-can-make-roster/), but competition is nothing new to the 6′ 2″ 311 pound guard from Oregon State. He’s one more prospect in the category of educated and versatile. He obtained his degree in sociology and brings the ability to play all three interior positions to the table. While he has not been a front-runner as a projected NFL guard, he continued to be extremely talented and consistent during his time with Oregon State, starting 30 games in a row. When asked about his goals in preparing for Oregon State University Pro Day, and when he was confronted with the understanding that he did not appear on any mock drafts, Josh was pretty pragmatic about the situation:
“I’m just trying to make a team to be honest with you. I’m just hoping to have the opportunity to make it to the next level. That’s my goal.”
As we attested to the fact that the Eagles are no stranger to finding undrafted players ending up as starters, the first hurdle for Josh is now behind him. While he will face a steep uphill climb, Andrews is solid with the task, drawing upon his mother’s example in life to persevere:
“She was a single parent and had to do a lot of sacrificing for my brothers and I. She had to be both the mother and father in our household. I’m thankful for everything she has done for us.”
As far as life after football, well Josh has that question answered as well. He would like to be a parole office, and work with setting young persons back onto the right path. It’s a message that becomes more and more powerful coming from Andrews as his success in the NFL builds. To this, with both starting6 offensive guards on the wrong side of 30, the Eagles will give EVERY opportunity to someone who knows the interior offensive line position.