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Eagles practice squad news: Center cut, linebacker added

NFL: JUL 29 Minnesota Vikings Training Camp

The Philadelphia Eagles tweaked their practice squad on Thursday by releasing center Ross Pierschbacher and signing linebacker Christian Elliss, according to an official announcement from the team.

The Eagles signed Pierschbacher away from Washington Football Team’s practice squad in December last year. He seemed like a decent interior depth option to have around. But perhaps Landon Dickerson’s recovery had the Eagles feeling like Pierschbacher was expendable.

As for Elliss, he attended the University of Idaho before joining the Minnesota Vikings as an undrafted rookie free agent earlier this year. Our friends over at the Daily Norseman had a write up on him at the time of that signing:

This year’s Prospect X, per Kalyn Kahler at Sports Illustrated, was Idaho defensive end/linebacker Christian Elliss, the son of former Detroit Lions’ defensive lineman Luther Elliss and the brother of New Orleans Saints’ linebacker Kaden Elliss. He was one of the 11 Undrafted Free Agents that the Vikings announced they came to terms with yesterday.

Kahler’s story talks about how Elliss spent this Draft weekend with some pretty interesting tidbits of information in it. One of those is that Rick Spielman, who was a scout for the Lions early in his career, was actually part of the Lions’ staff when they drafted Luther Elliss with the 20th pick in the 1995 NFL Draft. Spielman spoke with Luther on the phone before the Vikings’ final pick at #199 and made it clear then that the Vikings were interested in signing Christian in the event that he didn’t get drafted.

The Vikings waived Elliss after their second preseason game in order to get their roster down to 80 players. He clearly didn’t do much to stand out this summer.

The Eagles’ interest in Elliss could stem from the fact that his new position coach, Nick Rallis, previously spent time with the Vikings. Elliss could have familiarity with how Rallis plans to use the Eagles’ linebackers. Might not be as much of an intriguing developmental project as he is meant to be purely a practice player.

Scouting report via

Elliss definitely has the bloodlines, but the tape doesn’t really stand out enough. He plays the game with a downhill mentality, using his play strength to his advantage in helping to stack up the running game between the tackles. He ran fairly well at his pro day, but doesn’t have that same speed in pursuit and his feet look heavy in change of direction. His run-game instincts are average and he lacks the reactive twitch to become a dynamic tackler in space.

The Eagles now have seven linebackers on the 53-man roster (though Davion Taylor has been limited in practice) and two on their practice squad.

NOTE: The Eagles technically didn’t need to cut Pierschbacher since they only had 15 out of 16 practice squad spots filled out. But it seems like Marvin Wilson is going to occupy that last spot if/when his signing becomes official.

See below for a current look at the Eagles’ 2021 practice squad.

Format: Position, player, (times protected this season), [times elevated this season]*

*Not counting COVID-19 elevations.

RB Jordan Howard (1) [0]

WR John Hightower (1) [0]

OT Le’Raven Clark (1) [0]

S Elijah Riley (1) [0]

RB Jason Huntley

WR KeeSean Johnson

WR Travis Fulgham

TE Nick Eubanks

G/T Kayode Awosika

OG Sua Opeta

DT Raequan Williams

LB JaCoby Stevens

LB Christian Elliss

CB Craig James

CB Michael Jacquet III

{DE Matt Leo — international exemption - doesn’t count towards limit}

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