Rookies Beginning to Make Mark for Eagles, Then There's Travis Fulgham

Ed Kracz

Nine of the Eagles’ 10 drafted rookies have seen playing time this season, with some of it has been born from necessity. Like Jack Driscoll, for instance.

The fourth-round pick from Auburn would have likely made his transition to the NFL behind Brandon Brooks and/or Lane Johnson. Now, he will make his second start at right tackle on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens with Johnson out and likely to miss Thursday’s game against the New York Giants, too.

One, Casey Toohill, isn’t on the team any longer after the Washington Football Team nabbed him after being released last week to make room for Vinny Curry, which isn’t a good look for general manager Howie Roseman, who wanted to get younger but instead opted to cut the 23-year-old Toohill to keep the 32-year-old Curry.

Toohill played one game earlier in the year, getting 22 snaps.

The one rookie who hasn’t seen any time yet is sixth-round offensive tackle Prince Tega Wanogho, who is on the practice squad.

It’s a bit surprising that Wanogho wasn’t elevated for this game since the Eagles are light on tackles for Sunday.

If something were to happen in-game to Driscoll or Jordan Mailata, the Eagles would have to turn to Brett Toth, who they just signed last week after his release from the Arizona Cardinals.

Jeff Stoutland must be a magician. The Eagles offensive line coach has had ready all the reserves that have been called upon, and, last week against Pittsburgh, the line was part of an offensive outburst of sorts, with the Eagles putting up 29 points against what is supposed to be a vaunted Steelers defense.

As for the offensive rookies, WR Jalen Reagor was developing nicely until a thumb injury in Week 3 shelved him until probably after the Eagles bye in three weeks, quarterback Jalen Hurts’ role seems to grow each week, and he completed his first pass as a pro against the Steelers, an 18-yard strike down the middle to Richard Rodgers, receiver John Hightower has played 210 snaps, and WR Quez Watkins made his NFL debut last week with five snaps after starting the year on Injured Reserve.

On defense, the waiting continues for linebackers Davion Taylor and Shaun Bradley to help more on defense, though both are contributing heavily on special teams, and safety K’Von Wallace has played 47 snaps.

“There’s a lot more in store for this class,” said Wallace. “All of us are hungry. All of us are humble. You’ll never hear any one of us boast about what we can do, how we can do it. And we can start over someone else and play more.

“This class is special. This is a class that has class. And we’re humble, and we’re always going to work. We all stay connected. We communicate. But we take our job very, very seriously. This is a job, at the end of the day. All of us are hitting the books. All of us know what we can do.

“You’ll never see any rook, especially in my class, not know what to do, that’s not going to pay attention to detail, that’s not going to be on time to meetings, late, or anything. We all got a special role, whether we’re playing or not, and that’s just being here … (scout team, etc). Yeah, we all got our own personal goals, and we’re going to achieve that one day. But everyone’s time is going to come. You can’t question it or rush guys’ time.”

Then there’s the impact that one of the team’s non-drafted newcomers is having, and that is WR Travis Fulgham, who had the monster game against the Steelers. Fulgham played three games with the Lions but didn’t have a catch last year in 63 snaps.

“I feel like I’ve always been ready to play in this league as soon as I came in day one, but three games in Detroit, just didn’t see any targets,” he said. “If the ball was thrown my way more, I definitely would’ve made those plays.”

Fulgham said he heard from friends nonstop during the week, even from his elementary school teachers.

“I feel like I’m a playmaker,” said Fulgham. “Whenever the ball’s in the air, just go ahead and make the play. It doesn’t matter where the ball is, I have a big catch radius, whether it’s one hand or two hands, just come down with the ball.”

So, Fulgham was asked what would he say to people who think last week was a fluke?

“Guess we’re just going to have to see.”

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