Can Joe Ostman make the jump in 2019?

The attention was a little much for Joe Ostman.

First, it came from Doug Pederson. 

"He gives us great looks, and really that's where it starts," the head coach said. "Our guys really, as I said, they do embrace it and they rise up and do a nice job in the game."

Then it was offensive coordinator Mike Groh.

"He embraces the number or jersey we put on him. We've played some excellent pass rushers over the stretch of games here. He's usually been that guy, whether it be Aaron Donald or Khalil Mack or Jadeveon Clowney or J.J. Watt, all these really great pass rushers that we've played against," he said. "Joe has helped prepare the offensive line for that challenge, and our offensive line has risen to the challenge."

It was the week leading up to the Divisional Round matchup against the Saints last season and the rookie free agent defensive end, who spent the entire year on the practice squad, was in the headlines. This was someone who wasn't even going to suit up in the actual game. But everyone wanted to learn more about the player whose role was to mimic the opposing team's star pass rusher in practice each day.

"When I heard those things, it did make me feel good because they didn't have to do that," Ostman said this past weekend at the Rookie Minicamp. "I'm just still trying to play as hard as I can every day."

A year ago, the defensive end was not selected in the 2018 NFL Draft. The Central Michigan product terrorized offenses to the tune of 45.5 tackles for loss and 26 sacks in college but was without a team when the draft concluded.

Ostman weighed his options and chose Philadelphia as an undrafted free agent. It didn't necessarily present the best opportunity to make a roster. Instead, Ostman wanted to go to a veteran-laden team where he could learn what it takes to succeed in the NFL. He craved the competition.

"I looked at is as there's going to be competition no matter where you go," Ostman said. "That was huge for me to be able to talk to those guys and have them help me."

A native of St. Ignace, Michigan, Ostman revered Detroit's own Brandon Graham, who starred at the University of Michigan before being selected in the first round by the Eagles in 2010.

Defensive end was one of the deepest positions on the roster last season, so Ostman was caught in a numbers crunch when it came time to craft the final roster. Ostman earned a spot on the practice squad and used his role to give the first-team offense fits week in and week out.

"Joe is the hardest worker we've got here, no question," All-Pro tackle Lane Johnson said during the season. "That guy gives more effort than anyone on the team."

This offseason, Ostman bulked up to 260 pounds, 10 more than in 2018, while strengthening his core and maintaining his flexibility with an eye on earning a spot on the 53-man roster. As a player without a credited season of experience, Ostman was able to be on the field for the Rookie Minicamp.

"I just want to do whatever to help the team and continue to get better myself in the process and that's what I'm trying to do," he said.

Related Content

Advertising