Eagles Want to Add Brett Toth to OL Mix
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — The Eagles are already a footnote in the career of one successful former Army football player.
They hope to be much more in another's.
The Eagles could soon be signing Brett Toth, the former Black Knights offensive tackle who is seeking a waiver that would allow him to play in the NFL with Philadelphia. ESPN first reported the news and an NFL source confirmed it to 973espn.com.
Back in 2014 Chip Kelly got a glimpse at the 6-foot-9 Alejandro Villanueva and saw a five-technique, 3-4 defensive end even though the athletic Villanueva played tight end, offensive tackle and even a little receiver for the Knights.
Ultimately the Pittsburgh Steelers signed Villanueva to their practice squad after he was waived by Philadelphia and the rest is history, a move back to offense and two Pro Bowl selections at left tackle in Western PA.
Typically, Military academy graduates are required to serve 24 months of active duty but President Donald Trump said in May that he would allow academy athletes to get a waiver if they had an opportunity to sign with a professional sports team. Recently, Austin Cutting, a former Air Force long snapper, was granted such a waiver to sign with the Minnesota Vikings as a seventh-round draft pick.
Toth graduated in May of last year and was eligible for the 2018 draft but went undrafted and has already fulfilled one year of his service responsibilities.
At 6-6 and 290, Toth would be joining a team that is arguably the deepest in the NFL at the offensive tackle position, starting with future Hall of Fame left tackle Jason Peters and All-Pro right tackle Lane Johnson. From there you can add 2019 first-round pick Andre Dillard and Jordan Mailata. Meanwhile, Halapoulivaati Vaitai and Matt Pryor have been getting most of their work inside this summer inside but are natural tackles.
Because we are in mid-August the ceiling for Toth if the waiver comes through is likely the practice squad but it's clear offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland sees something in Toth due to his size and athleticism. When you are projecting Toth what really stands out is 33 3/8-inch arms which are very comparable to Dillard, who was measured at 33 1/2-inch arms.
Toth offers some position flexibility as well even though he is 6-6.
Johnson is expected to miss the rest of the preseason with a knee injury but is scheduled to be back by Week 1 while right guard Brandon Brooks, still rehabbing from offseason Achilles surgery, is set for a medical evaluation on Wednesday and hopes to be cleared for team drills.
Vaitai, who has worked at both left and right tackle in the past, has been the first-team RG during Brooks' rehab. Brooks is 6-5, Vaitai is 6-6 and Pryor, who has worked at both left and right guard in camp is the tallest of them all at 6-7, a clear indication Stoutland is willing to put taller players inside.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen