The expanded use of single-digit numbers in the NFL is likely to pass on the first try. The move could have at least one Philadelphia Eagles player changing his number in 2021.
The league will vote on a proposal by the Kansas City Chiefs to allow more players, specifically skill players (running backs, tight ends, wide receivers), to select jersey numbers ranging from No. 1 to No. 49. The rule change would also permit punters, kickers, defensive backs, linebackers to choose single-digit numbers, per NBC Sports’ Peter King. It could “sail through with 24 or more votes.”
Eagles running back Miles Sanders was one of the first to champion the impending proposal and hinted at switching to No. 4. Sanders has worn No. 26 during the past two seasons in Philly after wearing No. 24 at Penn State. He donned No. 4 in high school at Woodland Hills in Pittsburgh where he rushed for 4,573 yards and 59 touchdowns.
There is one problem with switching to No. 4, though. Sanders will have to broker a deal with kicker Jake Elliott who currently wears that number. The Eagles recently announced a flurry of number changes on the roster, highlighted by starting quarterback Jalen Hurts’ decision to take No. 1. Backup Joe Flacco will wear No. 7 in Philadelphia.
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ESPN Draft Guru Explains Micah Parsons’ Pick
ESPN draft expert Todd McShay jumped on a conference call with reporters on Monday and detailed why he thinks the Eagles should take Micah Parsons at pick No. 12. Simply put, the two best cornerbacks were off his board and Parsons was the best defensive player available. Plus, the Penn State standout is a “stud.”
“It’s so rare to have that guy,” McShay said. “He’s not just a sideline-to-sideline run defender. He can cover, and he also can rush the passer, so there are so few guys that you can get like that that can actually step in right away, be ready to play, and can be on the field all three downs, and then not only play the run but also do multiple things in the passing game.”
McShay admitted that a wide receiver might be the biggest need for the Eagles, but Parsons would be the ultimate consolation prize. He doesn’t believe the top pass-catchers in this draft (Kyle Pitts, Ja’Marr Chase, DeVonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle) will be available at No. 12.
“And Parsons is a stud,” McShay said. “That’s why I put Parsons there.”
Eagles Get Jaylen Waddle in Mock Draft
Meanwhile, Lance Zierlein of NFL.com believes Waddle might be on the board at No. 12. He had Parsons going to the New England Patriots at No. 15 and the Eagles stealing Waddle at No. 12. The Alabama receiver was teammates with Hurts in college and the quarterback has talked fondly of a possible reunion with the 5-foot-9, 180-pounder.
“He’s a heck of a player, a great friend of mine, and a little brother to me,” Hurts said of Waddle. “The things he can do with the ball in his hands, his speed, his athleticism, high-pointing the ball, there isn’t anything he couldn’t do.”