At least Bruce Hector has played in an NFL game.
The Eagles on Friday promoted Hector from the practice squad, adding him to a group of defensive tackles that also includes Fletcher Cox and two undrafted rookies who have never played a snap.
Hector, 25, played 82 defensive snaps in eight games for the Eagles last season as an undrafted rookie out of South Florida.
“He’s a guy that obviously has been in our system, knows the defense,” head coach Doug Pederson said on Friday morning. “Knows the front. If given — I know he's excited, if given the opportunity. It's something that you can see him in practice and he's been talking to the guys about it, like, ‘Man, hopefully this is my time,’ and if he does [play], he'll do well for us, but just, again, it gives us the added depth we need at that spot until we get some guys back.”
Earlier in the week, the Eagles cut veteran Akeem Spence. That came after they already lost Malik Jackson, Tim Jernigan and Hassan Ridgeway to injuries. Jernigan is expected to return this season, but the Eagles thought defensive tackle was a position of depth coming into the season and that unit has been decimated by injury.
The Eagles actually traded Hector to the Cardinals on Aug. 22 for safety/special teamer Rudy Ford. While Ford made the Eagles’ roster, Hector was cut by the Cardinals and then returned to the Eagles’ practice squad. He’s been there since.
After cutting Spence on Monday, the Eagles signed DT Anthony Rush (UAB) off Oakland’s practice squad and DT Albert Huggins (Clemson) off Houston’s practice squad. Neither rookie has played in an NFL game.
Here’s a look at the Eagles’ DT depth in Week 1:
Fletcher Cox (116 career games)
Malik Jackson (111)
Tim Jernigan (63)
Hassan Ridgeway (41)
And their DT depth in Week 8:
Fletcher Cox (116)
Anthony Rush (0)
Albert Huggins (0)
Bruce Hector (8)
On Friday morning, Pederson was asked if the two rookie defensive tackles would be ready to contribute on Sunday against the Bills.
“They are going to have to be,” Pederson said. “Otherwise, Fletcher is taking every snap on defense. They are going to have to play. That's why we brought them in here. We're excited to get them in here, get them working. They did a great job this week in practice. Another day today, tomorrow, and obviously we know Anthony (Rush), he's been here before, so he knows our scheme and that's a positive, too.”
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