While the annual NFL shopping spree on the waiver wire generally doesn’t draw a ton of attention, there are usually a handful of moves that look brilliant with the hindsight of just a few months. This year, the Philadelphia Eagles appear poised to be one of the big winners but also one of the big losers, according to Heavy NFL Insider Matt Lombardo.
In ranking the five most impactful waiver moves during roster cutdowns, Lombardo cited the Eagles retaining tight end Noah Togiai as one of the best moves. However, the Eagles also lost offensive lineman Jack Anderson on waivers, and to a division rival no less.
Lombardo thinks Anderson could have a quick impact on the New York Giants, perhaps even taking a starting job right away. That likely stings even more for the Eagles after losing backup offensive tackle Andre Dillard to a fractured forearm Thursday.
Keeping Togiai A ‘Victory’ For GM Howie Roseman
The Eagles have had success developing tight ends, Lombardo notes, such as Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert. He considers that part of the reason keeping Togiai in the building was a “victory” for the Birds’ front office. Keeping more young players at positions the coaching staff and front office have a track record of success in spotting and developing talent makes sense.
Whether Togiai can follow that path remains to be seen, and of course he was much less heralded coming out of college than Ertz and Goedert. Togiai was an undrafted free agent, whereas Ertz and Goedert were selected with second round draft picks.
Never the less, coaches are giving the improvement of the former Oregon State Beaver some attention. Offensive coordinator Shane Steichen has noticed Togiai’s progress throughout training camp.
“He’s been doing a nice job blocking, running routes, catching balls and it’s been showing up in the preseason games,” Steichen said in his August 24 press conference. “He has great growth right now and he’s doing a nice job.”
Togiai has yet to catch a regular season pass in five appearances, but this preseason he hauled in 7 catches for 46 yards.
Anderson Headed to Giants Starting Lineup?
Losing talent to a division rival is never ideal, but helping them fill a starting role is even worse. That might be exactly what happens, though, as offensive guard Jack Anderson has a chance to get into the lineup immediately.
Citing an injury to interior lineman Shane Lemieux, Lombardo notes that Ben Bredeson is Anderson’s lone competition for a starting job. “It seems like there is potential for Anderson to secure the starting job immediately, which would be tremendous value for general manager Joe Schoen and the Giants,” Lombardo writes.
There are two ways to think about the situation, though. While the Eagles face the unfortunate prospects of seeing one of their cuts fill a hole in a rival’s starting lineup, they’ve also got so much offensive line depth that their cuts are their rivals’ potential starters.
The Eagles have certainly had no trouble over the years developing young talent in the offensive trenches under offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland, who earned some credit from general manager Howie Roseman.
“Obviously, we talk a lot about Stout [run game coordinator/offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland] and how he coaches those guys, and that was probably the toughest position group for us to kind of cut down,” Roseman said during his press conference on August 30.