Shelton Gibson’s Debut Brings Promise for 2018 Season
With a couple of veteran receivers sitting out the Eagles preseason opener, Philadelphia’s younger players had a chance to steal the show. Second-year wide-receiver Shelton Gibson managed to stand-out, recording two catches for 77 yards and a touchdown in the Eagles’ 31-14 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night.
Gibson's first catch of the night came with 1:58 remaining in the first quarter, when he hauled in quarterback Nate Sudfeld's pass for a 63-yard touchdown. Later in the game, Gibson caught a 14-yard pass from quarterback Joe Callahan.
“It was me and [QB] Nate [Sudfeld]," Gibson said. "Nate warned me about that yesterday; if they press, it’s going to happen, so that’s what happened."
It was an encouraging performance from the 2017 fifth round pick from West Virginia, who didn't make much of an impact during his rookie season.
“It’s just confidence, man; it’s just confidence," Gibson said. "Going out there and playing and having fun instead of just going out there to impress the coaches. No, just go out there and have fun.”
It was that kind of big-play that caught the Eagles eye, which is why they drafted him a year ago. Eagles head coach Doug Pederson seemed to agree with Gibson, that its all about confidence.
"The biggest thing is just confidence," Pederson explained. "He obviously had a chance to play in games last year, special teams. But I think that gives him a confident feel going into the season. He did some good things tonight. He's one of the guys that's competing and competing for a roster spot."
The Eagles drafted Gibson, in the fifth round out of West Virginia. The 23-year old has plenty of room to grow, and he took a big step in the right direction on Thursday night.
“Just being on this team last year helped me out a lot, seeing how they work every single day – seeing how [WR] Nelly [Agholor] works, how [WR] Alshon [Jeffery] works, seeing how [WR] Torrey [Smith] was working," Gibson admitted. "[It’s] having those vet guys talking to me every single day. It made me want to change in the off-season. I had to start at practice; I wasn’t having good practices. Everything will carry over to the game.”
For one game, it carried over and gave him a better shot at landing a roster spot on the team.