New Eagles Kicker Jake Elliott is Happy for an Opportunity
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — A powerful leg in a small package. That's the best way to describe the Eagles' new kicker, Jake Elliott.
The 5-foot-9, 167-pound Elliott was signed off the Cincinnati Bengals practice squad on Tuesday and by Wednesday he was practicing with his new team and making Donnel Pumphrey a little less self-conscious about his lack of size.
"It's a quick turnaround," Elliott admitted at his new locker after practice on Wednesday, "but a fortunate one for me. I'm excited for the opportunity."
And that's all it is the wake of the torn hip flexor that veteran Caleb Sturgis suffered in the season-opening win over Washington.
Although the Eagles are diving in head first with Elliott without being able to work him out because he was a member of the Bengals, the organization did its due diligence on other kickers available in case the fifth-round pick struggles.
An NFL source confirms the Eagles worked out three other kickers: former longtime Bengal Mike Nugent, ex-San Diego kicker Josh Lambo and the strong legged Marshall Koehn, who has gotten opportunities with Miami and Minnesota but has yet to break through, losing out to Kai Forbath with the Vikings this summer.
Elliott was the top kicker selected in the 2017 draft after a senior season in Memphis in which he connected on 21-of-26 field goals.
Despite the stature of a draft pick, something rare for a kicker Elliott said the Bengals make it clear he was going to have to compete with veteran Randy Bullock on an even playing field and the latter was just more consistent throughout the summer.
Bullock missed one FG in the preseason while Elliott was just 4-of-7. Cincinnati, though, still thought enough of Elliott's potential that it used a practice squad spot on him.
"(Bullock) kicked great and that's a credit to him," said Elliott.
Early returns at the NovaCare Complex were good as Elliott knocked through all eight of his attempts in the portion of the practice open to the media with his new battery of long snapper Rick Lovato and holder Donnie Jones.
On Thursday Elliott was back at it using AFL-style goalposts to hone his accuracy.
Now that Sturgis is on injured reserve that means the veteran will be gone for a minimum of eight weeks, giving Elliott two months to find his groove.
"I'm just here and willing to take any opportunity I can get," he said.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen