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Josh Huff Finding His Way In The NFL

Posted Jun 12, 2014

Josh Huff played under Chip Kelly at Oregon and has a strong bond with his coach, who served as a mentor on and off the field, but what happened in college does not mean much when it comes to proving yourself at the NFL level. While many outside observers may feel that Huff’s roots at Oregon give him a more favorable advantage in establishing himself with the Eagles, the rookie knows better.

"I’m just trying to improve each and every day, no matter what it is," Huff said. "I just have to continue to improve and show the coaches that and let them know that I can be a playmaker in this offense."

Taking part in Organized Team Activities has already shown Huff that the level of competition has been raised, so he too must raise his game in order to have the same impact for the Eagles that he did for the Ducks.

"There’s a couple of different things," Huff said of the different between college and the pros. "Of course, it’s the next level, so you have talent everywhere on the field. My best input is to just stay out of the way and continue to do work and show these coaches that I can make plays and show them that I’m a total team player."

Where Huff is realizing that he must make the biggest adjustment, however, is off the field. He is no longer a student-athlete who has to juggle his academic responsibilities with that of being a football player. Being a football player is his profession now, and Huff is finding that his amount of free time has increased considerably since he no longer has to go to class.

"I just have to continue to do work outside the field," Huff said. "I have to treat it as a job. It is what it is, you just have to continue to put work in off the field as you do on the field."

Instead of wasting that free time just watching television or playing video games, Huff is putting in extra work training and studying his playbook. The off-field habits he maintains are just as important as those he shows on the field, and Huff understands they will be manifested as he attempts to show his teammates and coaches that he can succeed at this level. He already knows that simply being drafted does not mean you have "made it," and that reality is reinforced by the fact that none of the rookies are practicing with the first-team offense or defense.

"I wouldn’t expect it to be different," Huff said of taking reps with the second- and third-team offenses during Organized Team Activities. "You have to prove to the veterans that you belong, you can’t just have a first-round pick and put him in there. That’s disrespectful to the veterans that have been here. You just find where you fit in and continue to work to make your way up the depth chart."

Huff, while listed as a wide receiver, is generally considered as a jack-of-all-trades player who can line up split out or in the backfield. So far, he is working exclusively in the slot, but at some point his versatility will come into play.

"I know a lot of positions, so it’s not really any different for me, whether it’s third team, second team or first team who I get reps with," Huff said. "It doesn’t really matter where I am, I’m just here to make my team better."

In addition to his familiarity with the scheme, Huff’s experiences at Oregon have set him up to seize a leadership position, especially among the rookies. He knows that is an aspect Kelly values and stresses, and whereas being able to find your footing on the field and getting used to the speed may take an adjustment period, being able to fill your role as a leader and help your teammates is something that can be assumed from the beginning.

"Yeah, for sure," Huff replied when asked if he saw himself emerging as a leader. "What Coach Kelly preaches is horizontal leadership. You don’t have to go to the position coach to ask about something, you can go to a rookie if he knows it. I just have to continue to work, we’re out here to help each other make the team. That’s my job, to help better my teammates and help better myself."

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