Josh Huff cried tears of joy when he realized he the Philadelphia Eagles drafted him last year. At the time, Huff was very excited to be reunited in the NFL with former Oregon head coach Chip Kelly.
Josh Huff did not cry tears of joy during his rookie season. After suffering a significant shoulder injury in mid-August and then struggling with big mistakes upon his return, he was instead crying tears of frustration. Via Tim McManus of Birds 24/7:
"There were actually times in practice when I would cry because I know the type of plays I can make, I know the type of teammate I can be but it just wasn't there," [Huff] said during a phone conversation with Birds 24/7. "I would go to [Jeremy Maclin, who served as a mentor] and cry and he would simply tell me, 'Just be patient. Wait your turn. I know what type of talent you have, the coaches know what type of talent you have, just be patient and continue to work.'"
It's easy to see why Huff was frustrated. He made a number of costly mistakes in his limited playing time. He fumbled in the red zone against the Arizona Cardinals. He tipped a pass against the Houston Texans which led to an interception. He dropped four passes despite being targeted just 17 times.
At the same time, it wasn't all bad. He flashed legitimate talent at times. He returned a kickoff for a touchdown in the preseason and then again in the regular season. He showed great potential as a blocker. He also did this (via @OhWowHmm):
Moving forward, the Eagles really need Huff to step up. The team lost Maclin in free agency and the wide receiver corps is very thin. Jimmy Kempski reports that the franchise continues to be high on Huff, so the former Oregon Duck going to get a chance to prove himself.
There's certainly reason for optimism. According to the McManus article, Huff has spent the offseason working hard with a trainer (who is his cousin) named Rischad Whitfield who is nicknamed "The Footwork King". Whitfield has a very glowing review of Huff:
"Oh, god. He is shredded. Shredded. Weight-wise he is still around the same weight [between 200 and 207] but he is a lot more explosive."
It's not uncommon for NFL players to make a big leap in development heading into their sophomore seasons. The Eagles will hope Huff can fall in line with that trend. He has a very ong way to go to prove himself, but so far the signs are pointing in the right direction.