The Philadelphia Eagles have a new kicker. The team signed Jake Elliott from the Cincinnati Bengals’ practice squad, according to a report from NFL insider Ian Rapoport. Update: The Eagles officially confirmed the move on Tuesday afternoon.
In order to make room for Elliott on the 53-man roster, the Eagles placed Caleb Sturgis on the injured reserve list. This means Sturgis will be out for the next eight weeks but he’ll be eligible to return to the roster after that. It also sounds like the Eagles might be using one of their two “injured reserve - designated for return” spots on their kicker. Note that the decision on those spots is determined if/when the player is ready to return.
The Bengals selected Elliott in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft. The 22-year-old rookie really struggled this offseason, as noted by our friends over at Cincy Jungle.
This seemed like a decision made months ago when Cincinnati spent a fifth-round pick on Memphis kicker Jake Elliott, making him the first kicker drafted this year. The Bengals are also very keen on keeping their draft picks as rookies, giving them ample time to showcase their full potential.
That’s why it seemed like a done deal that Elliott would be the Bengals’ kicker come Week 1 of the regular season. However, the Bengals also re-signed veteran Randy Bullock earlier in the offseason, which ultimately gave them insurance in case Elliott turned into a disaster.
Well, that scenario may be playing out. Elliott had an up-and-down training camp that saw him miss several field goals, as well as an extra point, something the Bengals saw far too much of in 2016 with Mike Nugent.
In the process, Bullock has made just about every kick in camp and looked like the superior kicker. That continued Wednesday as Bullock was perfect on all of his attempts, while Elliott was a disaster.
Elliott made four of seven field goal attempts in the preseason.
So, yeah, not very encouraging. Here’s a scouting report from NFL.com.
Strengths - Very quick leg action on his follow-through. Kicks with excellent trajectory. Doesn't allow an early miss to wreck his confidence. Has had three of six onside kicks recovered including all three attempts over last two seasons. Had just one kick blocked over four years. Never allowed a kickoff return for a touchdown. Simply never misses chip shot kicks making every attempt inside of 30 yards for his career.
Weaknesses - Kickoff distance and hang-time are below desired NFL marks. Will need to add more distance to his kickoffs as a pro. Has a smallish frame and could have issues as a last line of defense on kickoffs. Has had issues hitting mid-range field goals with consistency. Initial jab step into approach is a little slow.
Bottom Line - Elliott's lack of consistent leg strength and hang time on kickoffs could hurt his chances, but he's been a lights-out kicker for his career with the exception of a dreadful sophomore season. Elliott is a consistent ball striker with a repeatable follow-through who has proven to have the necessary range for teams looking for a consistent kicker beyond 50 yards.
Here’s a very discouraging scouting report from Mike Tanier where he compares Elliott to Buccaneers 2016 second-round pick Roberto Aguayo.
Found my Jake Elliott predraft report. Was worried it might look like this. pic.twitter.com/wgMSNyf9ih— Mike Tanier (@MikeTanier) September 12, 2017
Here’s Elliott confirming that he’s signed with the Eagles.
Fly Eagles Fly!— Jake Elliott (@jake_elliott22) September 12, 2017
DEVELOPING STORY - CHECK BACK SOON FOR MORE UPDATES.