September 12, 2017
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Philadelphia Eagles have signed rookie kicker Jake Elliott, who was a fifth-round draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals out of Memphis in 2017.
Elliott will replace Caleb Sturgis, who reportedly suffered a quad injury on Sunday. If the Eagles do indeed place Sturgis on short-term IR, he will not be eligible to return until Week 9.
Elliott's college stats:
Elliott was beaten out by Randy Bullock in Bengals training camp, and was on Cincinnati's practice squad. Elliott's scouting report, via NFL.com:
STRENGTHS: Very quick leg action on his follow-through. Kicks with excellent trajectory. Doesn't allow an early miss to wreck his confidence. Has had three of six onside kicks recovered including all three attempts over last two seasons. Had just one kick blocked over four years. Never allowed a kickoff return for a touchdown. Simply never misses chip shot kicks making every attempt inside of 30 yards for his career.
WEAKNESSES: Kickoff distance and hang-time are below desired NFL marks. Will need to add more distance to his kickoffs as a pro. Has a smallish frame and could have issues as a last line of defense on kickoffs. Has had issues hitting mid-range field goals with consistency. Initial jab step into approach is a little slow.
BOTTOM LINE: Elliott's lack of consistent leg strength and hang time on kickoffs could hurt his chances, but he's been a lights-out kicker for his career with the exception of a dreadful sophomore season. Elliott is a consistent ball striker with a repeatable follow-through who has proven to have the necessary range for teams looking for a consistent kicker beyond 50 yards.
While Elliott may have some upside, the Eagles' decision to sign a rookie with a career college success rate of 74.4 percent on field goal attempts from 30-to-39 yards out instead of a more steady short-term veteran is curious, to say the least. It's perhaps fair to wonder if the Eagles are bringing in Elliott as something of a try-out for the long term.
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