With 30 seconds left in Thursday night's 5-0 loss to the Browns in the third preseason game of 2018, the Eagles faced a fourth down just shy of midfield and needed a conversion.
Quarterback Nate Sudfeld scrambled out of the pocket and threw a desperation pass toward the sideline. That's where wide receiver DeAndre Carter, all 5-8, 190 pounds of him, fought off a Cleveland defender and made a crucial catch to keep the drive alive.
Although the Eagles were unable to drive farther after the reception, Carter's clutch catch was one of many impressive plays he made on an otherwise unnoteworthy offensive night for the Eagles. Vying for a roster spot, Carter made the most of his time Thursday by hauling in four receptions for 73 yards, more than doubling the yardage total of the Eagles' next leading receiver.
"It's a blessing," Carter told reporters in the locker after the game Thursday night. "I'm just trying to take advantage of my opportunity, do what's asked of me by my coaches, and make as many plays as I can."
In addition to the late fourth-down catch, Carter snagged 29-yard and 16-yard passes from quarterback Nick Foles in the second quarter. In the fourth quarter, he connected with Sudfeld on a 19-yard pass that brought the Eagles out from their own 10-yard line. Carter also received four punts for the Eagles including one he ran out for 29 yards.
"I think DeAndre's played really well," Foles said after the game. "He's one of the guys that I thought played really well tonight. He's played well throughout the preseason. For a guy who is newer to the team, I think he does a lot of great things. He's got a wide range where he can catch from. He uses his hands well, runs really good routes, so I've been impressed with how he's played."
Carter was training in his San Jose, California home a month ago before he was signed by the Eagles on July 28. After being signed as an undrafted free agent in 2015 by the Baltimore Ravens, the Sacramento State product has spent time on the practice squads of Oakland, New England, and San Francisco. He has never been on an active roster.
With wide receivers Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, Mack Hollins, and Bryce Treggs out for Thursday's game due to injury, Carter wanted to make the most of his time in his pursuit to make the 53-man roster.
"It's unfortunate we have a lot of guys out in the wide receiver room, I hope those guys get back quick, but for me, I just look at it as next-man-up mentality," Carter said. "I'm the next man up on the depth chart, next up on the plays, and the offense has got to keep rolling. We've been struggling, and I'm just trying to do my part to keep up going."