The Philadelphia Eagles made one major move on Tuesday — paging new starting quarterback Jalen Hurts — then sprinkled in a few minor ones. One of the more intriguing ones was the addition of cornerback Lavert Hill, an undrafted rookie out of Michigan.
The 5-foot-10, 190-pound “press corner with good instincts” spent most of the 2020 campaign on the Kansas City Chiefs practice squad. The team waived Hill on Nov. 24 but he never appeared in a game for Andy Reid’s squad. Ironically, his release made room for former Eagles guard Stefen Wisniewski.
Hill was an absolute stud during his four years at Michigan where he recorded six interceptions and 20 pass breakups. He was a three-time All-Big Ten selection, including first-team honors in 2018 and 2019. He was one of just four players in Michigan history to record multiple pick-sixes, returning two interceptions for touchdowns in 38 starts.
There were mixed reviews about his NFL potential at the NFL Scouting Combine, though, but the kid never lacked confidence.
“I’m a playmaker,” Hill told reporters, via Michigan Live. “I make plays on the ball. I’m quick, I’m fast — and I play inside/outside. I just do whatever for the team.”
Lance Zierlein of NFL.com wrote the following about Hill in a scouting report:
Undersized press corner with good instincts, ball skills and coverage strength, but a concerning lack of long speed. Hill’s body control and short area quickness put him in position to make plays on the football, but when forced to cover downfield, he begins to grab and pull to prevent big plays against him. He’s too small to stay outside but his strength could help balance out average suddenness against shifty slots.
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Eagles Protect 4 Players on Practice Squad
The team also protected four players from their practice squad on Tuesday including RB Jordan Howard, DB Elijah Riley, CB Kevon Seymour, LB Rashad Smith.
Howard saw his first action this year in midnight green last week, racking up 19 yards on four carries while splitting touches with Miles Sanders and Boston Scott. The bruising back could be a part of the long-term plans in the backfield now with Hurts under center.
Seymour was signed to the practice squad on Dec. 2 after getting cut by the Carolina Panthers. He has legitimate NFL starter’s experience but hasn’t appeared in a game since 2017. Seymour has 44 total tackles and seven pass breakups in 31 NFL games. Riley, the undrafted rookie safety out of Army, hasn’t seen any game action this year for the Eagles. He’s most likely being protected in case special-teams ace Rudy Ford (hamstring) can’t go again.
Smith’s name is an interesting one to watch following news that rookie linebacker Davion Taylor may be out for the rest of the year. Meanwhile, Nate Gerry underwent Achilles surgery and T.J. Edwards is dealing with a nagging hamstring injury. That means Smith could be elevated on Sunday and forced into significant defensive snaps.
Smith, an undrafted rookie out of Florida Atlantic, finished his college career with 302 total tackles (31 for loss), along with 11.5 sacks, six fumble recoveries and six interceptions. Smith was the second-highest graded (83.3) coverage linebacker in the country, according to Pro Football Focus.