The NFL has implemented a new rule this season that clubs can add two additional players on game day rosters each week. Philadelphia announced yesterday that it has protected four players from being claimed by other teams. Those four being Trevor Williams, Deontay Burnett, Sua Opeta and Joe Ostman. All signs point to two of these players getting the call up come Week one. Below we examine the two players that make the most sense:
Deontay Burnett – Wide Receiver
The Eagles only carry 4 healthy WRs into week one. First round pick Jalen Raegor is battling a shoulder injury which makes his status unknown. Quez Watkins is on IR, and Let’s not forget that while Alshon Jeffery is on the active roster, he is still recovering from a Lisfranc injury and has not practiced yet this offseason. That leaves just Desean Jackson, JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Greg Ward and John Hightower to catch passes this week. Burnett played for the Eagles last season and knows the offense. Not to mention, Burnett has had an above average offseason showing flashes of tremendous athletic ability. With the Washington Football Team having a depleted secondary, look for Burnett to get the call. So long as the receiver position looks the same come Sunday.
Joe Ostman – Defensive End
With Derek Barnett and Javon Hargrove both being banged up heading into week one, Ostman could be primed for a spot on the “55”. With another DE in Vinny Curry having the ability to slide inside and play DT, it could open up a limited role for an additional Defensive End. Look for Ostman to be a potential practice squad call up between now and Sunday at 1PM. Having the ability to call up two players on game day this season will loom huge for players like Ostman.
Elijah Holyfield – Running Back
Holyfield is the sleeper call up for this week. With Miles Sanders nursing a hamstring injury, and his status for game one unknown at this time, look for another RB to be signed off the Practice Squad. If Sanders cannot go, or has a carries limit, Holyfield could prove to be the big-bodied back Philly is looking for. Someone will have to gain the tough yardage if the Eagles are up in the 4th quarter. Guys like Boston Scott and Corey Clement are great in space, but don’t have the stature to be a bruiser if need be. Watch out for a potential shocker this week, as the Eagles carry three running backs on the practice squad, with Holyfield being the most experienced of the three.
All NFL teams are permitted to use this new rule for the 2020 season. It gives clubs more flexibility with the COVID-19 pandemic still lurking.
Something of note to add regarding the rule. A player may only be used in the “2 players in” scenario just twice this season.
The Eagles will certainly have to figure out who to call up on game day as the team has had its share of nagging injuries during this shortened preseason. Let’s wait and see what roster moves are made as we head into a much anticipated week One.