March 28, 2017
PHOENIX – In the 2016 NFL Draft, one of the Philadelphia Eagles' three seventh-round selections was DE Alex McCalister, who was something of a developmental project.
McCalister was a pass rush specialist in college at Florida, playing in less than 40 percent of his team's snaps over his last two seasons, mainly on passing downs. In 2015, he tied for the Gators' team lead with 6.5 sacks despite only playing in nine games. In 2014, he was second on the team to Dante Fowler Jr. with 6.5 sacks.
With a 6'6 frame, 36" arms, and very good athleticism, McCalister was able to get to the quarterback in college with his raw traits. In the pros, it was crystal clear that McCalister would need to add weight, and a more expansive repertoire of pass rush moves.
Not ready for action, the Eagles "redshirted" McCalister by placing him on injured reserve for the season. That allowed the Eagles to retain him while he put on more mass during the regular season and into the offseason.
Many fans have asked about McCalister's progress from Year 1 to Year 2. During a press conference at the NFL Annual Meetings in Phoenix, he became a surprise topic of conversation.
"Everyone is excited about him getting back and showing what he can do," said personnel head Joe Douglas. "A lot of natural pass-rush ability with Alex coming out of Florida. I think our sports science staff, our training staff, our strength and conditioning staff, they’ve done a great job with Alex throughout this beginning segment of the offseason. I can’t wait to get him back to OTAs and see how he’s doing."
So for those of you who have asked, there you go. McCalister is doing stuff and the Eagles are excited.
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