The Philadelphia Eagles are reportedly looking to the Arena Football League to perhaps find a diamond or two in the rough.
Adam Kaplan of ESPN recently tweeted that the Eagles will bring in Philadelphia Soul wide receiver Darius Reynolds and defensive lineman Jake Metz for a workout on Monday. The Soul claimed their second Arena Bowl crown with a 56-42 win over the Arizona Rattlers on August 26.
Reynolds is known for his acrobatics and showed off his skills with a circus catch in the end zone against the Rattlers. The 27-year-old also had an outstanding 2016 regular season, finishing sixth in the league in receptions (112), fifth in yards per game (96.5), and fourth in points per game (16.8). He finished with 42 touchdowns with 38 TDs coming on catches, three on kick returns, and another running the ball.
Reynolds went undrafted out of Iowa State in 2012. Shortly thereafter, Reynolds hooked on with the Green Bay Packers but he only lasted a couple of weeks with the team as a result of a failed physical. He then moved onto the AFL with the Iowa Barnstormers where he spent three seasons. Reynolds earned Second-Team All-Arena honors with the Barnstormers in 2014, after hauling in 126 passes for 1,884 yards and 39 touchdowns.
For his career, Reynolds has 339 receptions and 122 touchdowns. He played the 2015 campaign in San Jose with the SaberCats.
Metz went undrafted out of Division II Shippensburg University (Pa) in 2014. The 25-year-old defensive end had workouts that year with the Eagles, New York Giants and Detroit Lions, but ultimately landed with the Soul later on in the fall. The six-foot-six, 260-pounder produced nine tackles and a-half sack during his rookie season in 2015.
2016 was a different story for Metz. He was named the AFL’s Defensive Lineman of the Year as he led the league with 8.0 sacks and was second with 7.0 tackles-for-loss. He finished the campaign with 29.5 total tackles.
Here he is - the 2016 AFL Defensive Lineman of the Year, JAKE METZ!— Philadelphia Soul (@soulfootball) August 18, 2016
Wreaking havoc in the Conf Championship game. pic.twitter.com/FppVuiCUkB
The Eagles have poached players from the Soul before according to the Inquirer Daily News. In 2012, they added wide receiver Anthony “Tiger” Jones, although the receiver was released before the start of the season.
Philadelphia currently has 84 players on its roster heading into tonight’s game against the Indianapolis Colts. The Eagles must get down to 75 players by 4 p.m. on Aug. 30 and then down to 53 by 4 p.m. on Sept. 3. If either Metz or Reynolds signs with the team, they will likely be headed to the practice squad.
Philadelphia is far from set at wide receiver, per Tim McManus of ESPN. As of right now, the Eagles have 10 receivers on the roster and the only player guaranteed a spot on the roster is Jordan Mathews. Matthews led the team with 85 receptions for 997 yards and eight touchdowns in 2015. Matthews (knee) will miss tonight’s game but is expected to be back before the start of the regular season.
Philadelphia recently traded for 2015 second-round selection Dorial Green-Beckham and added veterans Chris Givens and Reuben Randle in the offseason. McManus noted that Green-Beckham, Givens, Randle, Nelson Agholor, Josh Huff, and undrafted rookie Paul Turner are battling for playing time and roster spots. Turner leads the team this preseason with nine catches for 78 yards.
The Eagles appear more set on the defensive line. Fletcher Cox and Bennie Logan are slated to start at defensive tackle. Vinny Curry, Brandon Graham, and Connor Barwin are among the top three defensive ends.
Where it could be interesting is along the line where there is a battle for the third and fourth defensive ends. Marcus Smith, the team’s 2014 first draft pick, entered the preseason third on the depth chart, but former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Steven Means reportedly could pass him.
Smith has just seven tackles and 1.5 sacks in his career but had a great preseason debut. The six-foot-three, 251-pounder returned from a concussion for the Eagles’ Week 2 preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and recorded two tackles for losses, a sack, and a quarterback hit. He has also drawn high praise from defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.
“The thing I’m most proud about with Marcus is that he’s done a good job in the run game. It’s a little bit like talking about Jaylen Watkins; he’s a very skilled athlete. He’s fast and he’s smooth. I think he was a quarterback when he first went to Louisville. I mean, that stuff shows. Where he’s really making good improvement is setting the edge of our defense [and] attacking tackles. He did that against a physical group from Pittsburgh. That was a great sign.”
Means has 11 games of NFL experience, recording six tackles. He has three tackles, one sack, and a force fumble through two games this preseason.
[Photo by Darren Abate/AP Images]