On March 30, the Philadelphia Eagles signed wide receiver Ifeanyi Momah. The Boston College graduate went undrafted in 2012 and spent all of last season rehabilitating his torn ACL.
But the Eagles didn't just land any ordinary receiver. They landed a giant.
Momah stands at 6'7" and weighs 239 pounds. He is a football player with the frame of a basketball power forward. Size certainly isn't everything, but Momah also recorded a 4.40 40-yard dash.
Just to put things in perspective, only five wide receivers recorded a 40 time of 4.40 or faster in the 2013 NFL Combine. And out of those five, the tallest was Kenny Stills at 6'1". Momah is a whole half-foot taller.
Of course, the Eagles have had tall receivers in the past. Hank Baskett immediately comes to mind as a big-bodied receiver who didn't live up to the lofty expectations. But Baskett was 6'4"—a whole three inches shorter. And Baskett recorded a 4.50 40-yard time. Momah is more physically gifted, at least in terms of a couple of key measurables.
There is another former Eagle to whom Momah compares: Harold Carmichael. Quite possibly the best receiver in franchise history, Carmichael measured in at 6'8" and 225 pounds during his playing days and recorded a 4.6 40-yard dash time.
|Ifeanyi Momah||Harold Carmichael|
239 pounds ||
The two measure up far more closely, except Momah is about 14 pounds heavier and is faster.
From 1971 to 1983, Carmichael helped lead the Eagles to their first Super Bowl, making four Pro Bowls in the process. It may be foolhardy to assume that Momah will be the same, but what's interesting is the former Eagles great has taken a strong interest in the rookie.
According to Bob Grotz of The Times Herald, Momah discussed how Carmichael began personally mentoring him from day one:
He’s about a half-inch taller than me...The first day I got here I went in his office. He grabbed me, actually, and was telling me all the things in this league I could do with my height. And I’m trying to go out and use all that stuff and make sure that I use my height.
It's one thing if fans see a little bit of Carmichael in a young player. It's another thing if Carmichael himself sees it.
With Carmichael in the mix, Momah is getting an excellent mentor. He will still need to make the roster, but expect Momah to get every opportunity to do so this summer.
There is still lots of work to be done on Momah. Even if we assume he is 100 percent recovered from his ACL injury, Momah needs to do a better job securing the ball. He often uses his body to make catches rather than his hands.
But hands can be improved with coaching and practice. And the good news is Momah already plays with a great deal of physicality. This is evident by him having played significant minutes at defensive end in college, before committing to wide receiver in 2011.
Momah was also on the verge of a breakout season in 2011 before his unfortunate injury. In the first game of the season, he led the team in receiving with eight catches and 157 yards, before blowing out his knee. In an interview with Dave Spadaro of PhiladelphiaEagles.com, Momah said, "I was planning on really tearing it up that year" in his first full season as a wideout.
If Momah can pick up where he left off, the Eagles could be getting a very special player. Very rarely do wide receivers possess his combination of size, physicality and speed. If he can put it all together, the Eagles could finally be looking at a go-to receiver, a player they have lacked since the departure of Terrell Owens following the 2005 season.
When asked by Spadaro what ideal role Momah saw for himself in 2013 in Philly, Momah was modest:
I see myself just being a consistent player...I just want to be consistent, and get on the field and play. You know, whatever opportunity that comes forth, I plan on going at it full speed and head on.
One thing's for certain, the Eagles have big plans for Momah. Big plans.