Every NFL team has a “second roster,” that being the practice squad—a group of up to eight players who are allowed to participate in every team activity except the big one: playing on Sundays.
Usually, the practice squad simulates players on the team’s opponent that week. It may sound like a rough job, but consider these three factors:
-They’re on the practice squad until they’re released or signed by another team
-They can only be signed by another team with the intent to bring them onto the active roster
-A player who spends an entire season on a practice squad makes $90-$100k for four to five months work
Not a bad gig, right?
The man in the photo, Danny Amendola, was on the Philadelphia Eagles' practice squad in 2009...until he was signed by St. Louis, where he racked up 43 catches for 326 yards in 14 games.
The next potential group of Amendolas is complete, as the Philadelphia Eagles officially filled out their 2010 practice squad on Monday.
The Birds signed five of the eight on Sunday, all of whom were victims of the team's final 53-man cuts on Saturday; once they cleared waivers, they were added.
The final three were added Monday, after the Birds had time to assess the list of players who were cut by other teams.
They may not all stay on there for a full season, but for now, let’s meet the men who will make up the first incarnation of the Eagles’ practice squad.
Signed in the offseason to a three-year deal, Shipley was brought in as insurance in case Jamaal Jackson’s ACL injury lingered into 2010 and kept the incumbent center on the sidelines as the season began.
Unfortunately for Shipley, Jackson was healthy enough to make the active roster, so the Penn State product was released.
Signing Shipley to the practice squad is a good move for the Birds; Nick Cole is now the starting right guard, so if something does happen to Jackson, it leaves Mike McGlynn as the only option at center.
Like Shipley, Reynolds was kept around due to the Birds’ offensive line issues.
A natural guard, the BYU product took some snaps at center during the preseason and can be a Nick Cole-like utility player if needed on the main squad.
Dallas is also the only one of the five Philly cuts to actually suit up for a pro game; he spent some time last year on the Birds’ practice squad, and was signed to the active roster in Week 17 last year after Jamaal Jackson was placed on IR.
Can you believe there aren't any photos of Martell Mallett in Getty Images? Yeah, so imagine Eldra Buckley there is actually Mallett.
The 2009 CFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, Mallett was one of the losers in the battle for the final RB spot won by incumbent Eldra Buckley.
He was actually waived by the Birds on July 31, but was called back to the 80-man roster a day later.
If Mike Bell goes down to injury, it’s likely that Mallett, who racked up nearly 1600 yards from scrimmage for the CFL’s BC Lions last year, will be the latest CFL to NFL success story.
Hall, a speedy, 180-pound receiver/return specialist, nearly made the team thanks to his explosiveness on the punt team; however, the addition of CB Jorrick Calvin and the preseason play of WR Hank Baskett left no room on the roster.
The Air Force Academy grad, who spent the last two years in the military, had an excellent preseason and is the likeliest of the five early signees to end up on the main roster sooner rather than later—especially if Calvin struggles or something happens to No. 1 returner Ellis Hobbs.
Owens, the second of three seventh-round picks by the Eagles in the 2010 Draft, battled incumbents Trevor Laws and Antonio Dixon for a backup defensive tackle spot (and played well in the preseason), but was the odd man out of the rotation.
The only defensive player among the first five, Owens will have plenty of opportunity to impress in the early stages of the season.
If the name sounds familiar from a few years back, it probably should.
Mills was a collegiate star at Tulane, where he became one of the best tight ends in NCAA history; his career totals, 201 catches and 2,389 yards, ranked second all-time among tight ends in Division I-A (behind BYU alum and College Football Hall of Famer Gordon Hudson). In his senior season, Mills racked up 87 catches for 1,235 and nine TD, leading all tight ends in the nation in each of those categories.
Garrett was drafted in the fourth round of the 2006 draft by New England, and has spent parts of the past three seasons in Minnesota.
Despite being in the league for four years now, Mills is a special case. He has only played in nine career games and has never been on an NFL active roster for more than eight in one season, so he still has practice squad eligibility.
The Eagles only have two tight ends on the roster, so if something happens to either Brent Celek or Clay Harbor, Mills will be right there in line for a shot.
Williams is a rookie receiver out of Tulane, where he recorded 74 catches, 1,113 yards, and seven touchdowns last season en route to Honorable Mention All-Conference USA Honors.
The speedster left Tulane with the fourth-highers reception and receiving yards totals in school history, and was signed by San Diego as an undrafted free agent this spring.
Williams had some good showings in SoCal this summer, including a 92-yard punt return for a TD in the team’s final preseason game; unfortunately, he was released on the Chargers’ final cuts, and now he is property of Philadelphia.
The final man signed on Monday night was Vaughn, who was released by New Orleans on Saturday.
Vaughn, a 6-foot-2 strong safety, was a fourth-round pick by the Saints in 2009 but spent last season on Injured Reserve.
He was a two-year starter at Wake Forest in 2007 and 2008, averaged 90 tackles in those two seasons, and was first-team All-ACC as a senior. He’s a heavy hitter who plays well in run support—a trait defensive coordinator Sean McDermott will love—but is terrible in pass coverage.
Much like Garrett Mills though, Vaughn could have a quick chance to make an impact; the Birds currently carry only three safeties, and two of them are rookies.