‘Dazzling’ Prospect Named Surprise Candidate to Make Eagles Roster

Nick Sirianni

Getty The Eagles may have found a gem in undrafted free agent cornerback Eli Ricks.

The Philadelphia Eagles could have a “dazzling” prospect surprisingly make the 53-man roster.

As suggested by Glenn Erby of Eagles Wire, one of the undrafted free agents with the best chance to make the Eagles’ roster is none other than former University of Alabama cornerback Eli Ricks. Erby not only notes Ricks’ lengthy collegiate experience — he played at LSU before transferring to Alabama prior to the 2022 season — but also that he’s a “high-profile prospect” with inconsistent results.

“A talented player with an All-American pedigree, Ricks started at LSU playing in 2020 and 2021 and transferred to Alabama for the 2022 season,” writes Erby. “Ricks played 25 games during his collegiate tenure, compiling 44 total tackles, five interceptions, and two touchdowns. A high-profile prospect, Ricks offers a dazzling pedigree with inconsistent results. He could be a key contributor if he can tap into that potential while learning from Darius Slay and James Bradberry.”

Eli Ricks Was No. 1 Cornerback Prospect in Country

The 22-year-old Ricks was one of nine undrafted free agents the Eagles signed following the conclusion of the 2023 NFL Draft. While Ricks may not have been drafted, it doesn’t mean he wasn’t one of the best prospects in the country coming out of high school. The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder was a five-star prospect and the No. 1 junior cornerback when he committed to LSU back in 2018.

It’s worth noting that Derek Stingley Jr. — a No. 3 overall draft pick of the Houston Texans last season — was the No. 2 cornerback prospect in the 2019 class behind Ricks.


“LSU has also landed the No. 2 cornerback in the 2019 class, Derek Stingley Jr. from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, potentially creating one of the country’s more formidable secondaries in the years to come.”

Why Eli Ricks Has Legit Chance at Making Eagles’ 53-Man Roster

There’s little doubt that Ricks has the most potential of any of the Eagles’ undrafted free agent signings. In fact, he was projected to be selected in the fifth or sixth round, as NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein noted in his scouting report of Ricks leading into the draft.

“A long-limbed cornerback with an impressive physical profile, Ricks is in need of more experience to sharpen his skills and recognition,” writes Zierlein. “He is a press-man cornerback with a relatively smooth pedal and an ability to push and punch receivers with accuracy from long distance. He’s often a step slow to find top gear when opening to run laterally or vertically, but he’s a human blanket against short and intermediate routes without much wiggle to them. Ricks needs to be more assertive against the run and could struggle on an island, but his traits and press talent should fit in the right scheme.”

The question is, is there enough room on the roster for the Eagles to retain Ricks?

Even following the release of veteran safety Andre Chachere, there are still 15 defensive backs under contract. When ignoring the five safeties on the roster, Philadelphia has 10 cornerbacks on the roster — including Ricks.

Keep in mind that the Eagles retained six cornerbacks entering the 2022 season. Darius Slay, James Bradberry and Avonte Maddox are essentially guaranteed locks on the 53-man roster. That means Ricks will have to beat out veterans such as Greedy Williams and holdovers such as Josiah Scott to make the roster.

If Ricks shows any of the potential that once made him a five-star prospect and a second-team All-SEC selection back in 2020, there shouldn’t be any doubt that Philadelphia will find a spot for the young cornerback.


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