Philadelphia is turning into Stanford East.
With the selection of defensive end Casey Toohill in the seventh round, No. 233 overall, to cap off a hectic final day of the NFL Draft, the Eagles now have four former Stanford Cardinal on the roster, more than any other college.
"I think one of the things about Stanford that's so unique is just that brotherhood that's just like nowhere else," Toohill said in a videoconference call with reporters Saturday.
Toohill joins tight end Zach Ertz, wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, and offensive lineman Nate Herbig. Last year, Herbig signed as a rookie free agent following the draft and worked his way onto the active roster. Toohill has a similar uphill climb as the last of the team's 10 draft picks.
But if there's anyone who could break through, Toohill is a good player to bet on.
In his first year as a full-time starter, Toohill finished fifth in the Pac-12 with eight sacks and seventh with 11.5 tackles for loss in 2019, earning second-team all-conference honors. An outside linebacker in the Cardinal's 3-4 defense, Toohill will be able to put his hand in the dirt – which he did at times in college – and attack the quarterback in the Eagles' scheme.
"With Casey Toohill, he's a high-motor defensive end. And the thing that jumps off is his effort on tape," Vice President of Player Personnel Andy Weidl said. "His ability in the pass rush, to win, to get home, and in the run game, his pursuit to the ball and his effort. Just a high-motor guy. Plays with Eagle wiring and Eagle mentality. Great kid, too.
"He's someone we're proud of and excited to bring in here, and for everybody to get to know and watch him perform."
Toohill has the traits to do just that. The 6-4, 250-pound Toohill tested at the NFL Scouting Combine as the top athlete among the edge rushers, according to the SPARQ formula that takes a prospect's size into account.
He's also got the smarts. A three-time All-Academic Pac-12 selection, Toohill was a finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, known as the academic version of the Heisman Trophy.
"Football is a mental game. People may not think that stereotypically, but there are so many aspects of film study, just attention to detail, that I think really carry over to my studies," Toohill said. "The preparation, how I prepare for a football game is similar to how I prepare for tests at Stanford. There is not a whole lot of difference there."
Toohill met with the Eagles both at the Shrine Bowl and the Combine, so he knew there was some level of interest, but he didn't know if the Eagles – or any team – would draft him. He was quite happy and relieved when he got the call on Saturday.
"I love the Eagles organization. I love Philly. Just to be drafted in general is such an honor and something I've really worked for my entire life," Toohill said. "So it was just the culmination of a lot of hard work, but really it's just the beginning of the things I want to try to do and accomplish. Yeah, I'm really, really excited for the opportunity."