The Eagles offensive line, already one of the team’s strengths, will be getting an intriguing piece in the next couple of days, perhaps as soon as Sunday when the team returns to practice after its 24-10 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night.
Brett Toth, a 6-6, 290-pound tackle/guard, has been granted a military waiver and signed a reported three-year contract with the Birds, according to his agent, Alan Herman, who told as much to ESPN on Friday afternoon.
The Eagles released cornerback Jay Liggins to make room for Toth.
Toth, who graduated from West Point as a nuclear engineer in May 2018, fulfilled his first year of active military service.
President Donald Trump said this past May that he would allow military academy athletes to get waivers to join pro sports teams upon graduation. Toth did his one year of service because it took a year for President Trump to make that decision.
Toth was the first player from West Point to play in the Senior Bowl. He has 33 3/8 arms and 10 ¼ hands, which are both larger numbers by a small amount than Eagles first-round pick Andre Dillard.
The Eagles had a West Point graduate on their roster in the Chip Kelly head coaching days, but Alejandro Villanueva never panned out as a defensive end, a position Kelly tried to make him learn despite being an ofensive lineman during his days at West Point. Villanueva was released and picked up by the Pittsburgh Steelers, who turned him into a Pro Bowl offensive tackle.
Projected as a sixth or seventh round pick, Toth was a stalwart at the right tackle position for the Black Knights, starting all 26 games, 25 at right tackle and one as a sixth lineman/tight end.
This was NFL analyst Lance Zierlein’s overview during the predraft process in 2018:
“Toth's physicality and ability as a move blocker will appeal to zone-heavy rushing attacks, but it will take some time to adjust to a run scheme where he isn't constantly playing so far forward like he was at Army. Toth is an athletic guard/tackle prospect who will likely need a redshirt season to add mass and work on his fundamentals in pass protection.”
Clearly Toth will need to add bulk to his 290-pound frame, and he will likely end up on the Eagles’ practice squad. Of course, they may lose him should they try to get him through waivers at the end of the month.
Here’s more of Zierlein’s report:
Has room for more mass and muscle
Plays with good toughness at the point of attack
Fires out with good pad level and rolls hips under hands to lock out his base blocks
Has lateral quickness for cut-offs and reach blocks
Hustles in space and has athleticism to make it all the way up to safety on backside
Keeps eyes on second level targets and adjusts to their sudden, downhill shots
Adequate timing on combo blocks
Has potential in pass protection
Possesses range and agility to handle varied set points with coaching
Appeared to carry some natural anchor when matched against Nick Bosa from Ohio State
Flexibility helps with redirect blocks for edge rushers that climb around him
Fundamental of pass protection will need work
Has relatively low number of pass sets due to design of Army offense
Aided by high number of play-action throws
Pass slide is more of a long step
Opens gate too early allowing room for strong inside charge
Edge at the top of the rush appears soft
Needs to tighten up target point with his punch and keep hands inside
Plays too far forward when mirroring
Will have live in the weight room early in his career to add much-needed mass and strength
Zierlein also included this quote from an NFC team area scout: "I love this potential. Coaches see guys like this as moldable clay who they can build from the ground up because he's disciplined, coachable and athletic. He's the type of player that (Bill) Belichick goes after."