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Eagles host former draft pick on a visit

Third time’s a charm?

NFL: AUG 08 Preseason - Titans at Eagles Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles are hosting free agent safety Blake Countess on a visit, according to the NFL’s transaction wire.

Countess, as you might recall, was originally selected by the Eagles in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. He was waived in final cuts as a rookie before joining the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams then waived him last offseason due to a salary dispute and the Eagles claimed him off waivers.

Countess was poised to make the Eagles’ 2019 roster as a backup safety and special teams contributor before getting hurt and subsequently waived in training camp. He resurfaced with the New York Jets in October. Joe Douglas cut him earlier this year in March.

The 27-year-old Countess has made four starts in 43 games played since entering the league. He’s logged 54 tackles, three passes defensed, two interceptions, and one sack during that span. Countess has also received recognition in the form of an NFC Special Teams Player of the Week honor.

The Eagles potentially looking to re-sign Countess can be explained by injuries to their safeties and special teams contributors. Rudy Ford and T.J. Edwards went on injured reserve last week. Marcus Epps and Duke Riley missed the first two days of practice this week and might not play. The Eagles are reportedly getting Will Parks back, which is good news. But if Jalen Mills is going to remain at cornerback, the Eagles are only down to three healthy safeties: Rodney McLeod, Parks, and K’Von Wallace. Countess would give them a fourth.

The Eagles could avoid having to use a roster spot on Countess by signing him to their practice squad and elevating him for game day. But perhaps they want to keep him around as a more permanent fixture.

The NFL’s on-boarding process obviously doesn’t move as fast as it used to due to COVID-19 protocol. Countess won’t be available to play for the Eagles this week, assuming they plan on signing him. But they could look to bring him back into the fold regardless.

Countess isn’t the only former Eagles draft pick to visit Philly this week. As previously noted, the team hosted 2019 fourth-round selection Shareef Miller on Tuesday. The Eagles could look to sign Miller to their practice squad after losing Casey Toohill to the Washington Football Team.

In other news, the Eagles also tried out punter Matt Wile on Thursday. We wrote about how the Eagles curiously worked out former CFL kicker/punter Lirim Hajrullahu. Wile has had eight different NFL stints since entering the NFL as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2015. He mostly recently spent time with the Detroit Lions. Wile has experience handling kickoffs in addition to punts. Could just be a case of the Eagles doing some homework on players they might need to add if there’s a COVID outbreak in their specialist room.

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