Eagles Claim ‘Mr. Reliable’ After Jaguars Release Ex-Florida WR

Josh Hammond

Getty The Eagles claimed former Jaguars undrafted rookie off the waiver wire.

One team’s trash is another team’s treasure, right? The Philadelphia Eagles claimed receiver Josh Hammond off waivers on May 17, one day after he was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The 6-foot, 194-pound target spent the past two seasons on the Jaguars’ practice squad. He saw 13 offensive snaps in two games last season with no catches, although his 12 receptions for 124 yards was tops for Jacksonville during the 2021 preseason. Hammond went undrafted out of the University of Florida in 2020 after making 87 catches for 1,138 receiving yards and six touchdowns in 49 games (31 starts).

The 23-year-old wasn’t invited to the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine and COVID-19 forced the cancellation of an official Pro Day. Hammond did showcase his talents at a private workout organized by his agent where he clocked 4.53 seconds in the 40-yard dash along with a 121.5-inch broad jump and 36.5-inch vertical leap.

Hammond was often overshadowed by his more famous college teammates like Van Jefferson, Kyle Pitts, Freddie Swain, Trevon Grimes and Tyrie Cleveland. What he lacked in statistics, he made up for in substance. The sure-handed receiver dropped only four balls in four years at Florida and played a stretch of 20 straight games without a single drop.

“He’s a leader on and off the field. He’s a college graduate,” said Florida wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales, via Pro Football Network. “Has an extremely fantastic work ethic. He’s got that passion to help others. He’s Mr. Reliable. He’s going to do everything right.”

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Eagles Have Depth at WR: 12 Guys on Roster

The Eagles are trying to turn a perceived weakness into a strength by stockpiling talent at wide receiver. Hammond’s arrival gives them 12 total players in the room: A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, Quez Watkins, Jalen Reagor, Greg Ward, Zach Pascal, John Hightower, Britain Covey, Jeric Wheatfall, Deon Cain and Devon Allen.

Brown and Smith are the obvious starters, with Watkins looking like the favorite to be No. 3 on the depth chart. He’ll battle Ward and Pascal for snaps in the slot and elsewhere, while Reagor’s name continues to pop up in trade rumors. The Eagles should feel pretty confident at the position heading into training camp.

“We were, I believe, 25th in the NFL in passing [last year], and you don’t ever want to be that low in anything because, again, you’re predictable to the defense,” head coach Nick Sirianni said after the Eagles traded for Brown on April 28, the first day of the draft. “Again, I’m not going to say numbers of what we want to be or anything like that because very rarely does it play out that way. But I know our passing game, that we know we needed to improve, took a big step forward tonight.”

Joint Practices with Miami Dolphins

The Eagles will close out the 2022 preseason on August 27 with a home date against the Miami Dolphins. Prior to that exhibition game, the Eagles and Dolphins will hold joint practices at the NovaCare Complex in South Philly.

Sirianni treated last year’s joint practices versus the Jets and Patriots like actual preseason games, using them to evaluate personnel and schemes instead of throwing his first-team unit into harm’s way. There is a general feeling that the Eagles will do the same thing this summer.

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