I've made no secret recently that I thought Trey Burton would make the Eagles final 53-man roster. He was, by far, my favorite UDFA signing, and a player whom I thought was worthy of being drafted. Luckily, he ended up an Eagle, and now it appears he'll be staying an Eagle -- at least through Saturday. Les Bowen was first to report it just minutes ago:
Tight end Trey Burton is on the Eagles' 53, I'm told. Good for him. Minor surprise...— Les Bowen (@LesBowen) August 29, 2014
Here's the thing: This isn't as minor a surprise as a majority of the beats might have you think. Versatility and the ability to play special teams. If you're not a starter or even the primary backup at a position on Chip Kelly's team, you better provide both. Burton does that in spades. He can play any non-QB and non-OL position on offense and on every special teams unit. Burton personifies what Kelly looks for in back-end roster players, and now he's earned his way onto the team.
What's nice about Burton is that he truly is a Swiss Army knife player. At Oregon, Kelly designated that kind of weapon in his offense as the TAZR. What Aaron Hernandez did for the Patriots, that's what Burton can do for the Eagles -- sans PCP abuse, multiple murders and being an all-around piece-of-shit human. Also, keep this in mind, as Jimmy Kempski pointed out last night:
James Casey will count for $4M against the cap in '15 w/ no penalty to cut. Worth keeping Burton as 4th TE to be 3rd TE replacement in a yr?— Jimmy Kempski (@JimmyKempski) August 29, 2014
As opposed to, say, Henry Josey, who's behind a laundry list of running backs who could very well be Eagles through at least 2016, Burton could have a chance to be a valuable, regular contributor in this offense as soon as next season. James Casey will almost surely be cut, while Brent Celek will be 30 -- with a ton of mileage and countless huge hits absorbed throughout his career. Given Celek's age and usage, it's not absurd to surmise his snaps will see a further decrease in the coming seasons. That would leave the window wide open for Burton to step in behind Zach Ertz and fill the role as a complementary pass-catcher in this offense who can also line up in the backfield and present significant matchup problems for the defense. Want to know exactly what I have in mind for Burton in Kelly's offense? Voila, here's his six-touchdown performance against Kentucky as a freshman at Florida in 2010.
There aren't many guys out there who can do what Burton did in that game, and I imagine this tape -- despite it coming during his freshman season -- was watched and held in high regard by Eagles front office personnel and members of the coaching staff.
So, yeah, Trey Burton, thanks for making me look like I have even one iota of an idea that I know what I'm talking about. It's always appreciated! I hope he sticks on the roster and gets a chance in this offense because I truly believe it's perfect for this skill set and, ipso facto, that the Eagles have a unique gem of a player on their hands.