According to Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, the Packers are set to host rookie wide receiver Brennan Eagles for a workout on September 2, which suggests they may have an interest in either adding (or replacing) a wideout on their practice squad. As of Wednesday night, Equanimeous St. Brown, Juwann Winfree and Chris Blair are the only three receivers signed to their 16-man practice squad.
Eagles is a 6-foot-4, 229-pound freak of an athlete who garnered more attention for his unique size and skill set than his overall production during his three seasons at Texas. While he still did some damage for the Longhorns with 61 career receptions for 1,026 yards and 11 touchdowns over 22 games, he often resorted to overpowering the opposing Big 12 defenders instead of beating them with crisp route-running.
Eagles previously spent three months with the Dallas Cowboys after signing with them in May as an undrafted rookie free agent. He was one of 14 Cowboys players to catch a pass in their first preseason game against Pittsburgh, but his one reception (in the fourth quarter) went for 25 yards. He did, however, also draw a holding penalty in punt-return coverage, an area where the Packers would need him to excel.
The Packers would need to make a corresponding roster cut in order to clear room for any potential signings. They will open the 2021 season against the New Orleans Saints in Jacksonville at 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday, September 12.
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Eagles Has ‘Rare Physical Gifts’
When Eagles opted out of the Alamo Bowl with Texas last December and declared for the 2021 NFL draft with a year of eligibility left, there were skeptics who questioned whether he was ready for the sport’s highest level. Another year with the Longhorns could allow him to fine-tune the other aspects of his games and develop into a more complete receiver.
As NFL draft analyst Lance Zierlein put it in his pre-draft profile for Eagles, the tape showed a receiver who was “one dimensional” and hadn’t even “mastered his one dimension” yet despite being a player with “rare physical gifts.”
Here’s what Zierlein wrote for NFL.com earlier in 2021:
Big receiver who tested well coming out of high school and is likely to do the same before the 2021 NFL Draft. This is an important bit of information, as height, weight, size and explosiveness always catch the eyes of NFL evaluators. However, the tape will show a linear route-runner who struggles to get off press. He primarily poses a third-level threat but has below-average contested-catch talent and suspect hands. Eagles is a one-dimensional wideout who hasn’t mastered his one dimension, but teams are often willing to take shots on players with rare physical gifts, which could land Eagles on a practice squad.
Would Eagles Push Out Another WR?
The Packers may not feel like taking a shot on Eagles, but it wouldn’t be the first time they took a long-shot chance on an unusual player if they did. Just look at 30-year-old Bronson Kaufusi, who made their practice squad as a tight end on Wednesday despite originally coming into the league as a third-round defensive end in 2016.
If the Packers roll the dice on Eagles, though, would it mean telling one of their current practice-squad receivers to hit the road?
Blair would be the most likely cut candidate if that were the case. While he hasn’t done anything to directly lose his roster spot — he did just beat out Reggie Begelton — St. Brown and Winfree have showcased more talent in their time with the Packers. Although, it is possible the Packers are ready to move on from St. Brown after three seasons of undelivered potential. Winfree is the only one who appears to be secure in his practice-squad role (unless the injury that held him out of the preseason is worse than believed).