They were selected one draft pick apart, so it is only perfect that offensive lineman Tyler Steen (third round, No. 65 overall) and safety Sydney Brown (third round, No. 66 overall) signed their first NFL contracts simultaneously on Thursday morning at the NovaCare Complex. The timing was perfect for both – wake up, get to the office in a timely fashion, take care of the contractual side of the business, and then get to work becoming a better football player with a chance to contribute in 2023.
Steen and Brown are the fourth and fifth '23 draft picks to sign with the Eagles, joining No. 1 pick defensive tackle Jalen Carter, sixth-round draft pick quarterback Tanner McKee, and seventh-round selection defensive tackle Moro Ojomo. Only two 2023 draft picks, second first-round selection linebacker Nolan Smith and fourth-round pick cornerback Kelee Ringo remain unsigned.
For Steen and Brown, the path to earning playing time in their rookie seasons is apparent but they both have a lot of work to do to reach that point. Steen was a left tackle in his college days at Vanderbilt and Alabama and he is expected to get a look from Offensive Line Coach Jeff Stoutland at both the tackle spots and inside at guard. The Eagles customarily cross-train their offensive linemen and value versatility, and Steen could be among the candidates to compete at the right guard spot, which is the only position along the offensive line not returning an established starting player.
"Whatever the coaches want me to do, I'm excited about the chance," he said. "I'm here to compete and to improve myself every day. I know I have a lot to learn, a lot to absorb, so that's my focus."
Brown played five seasons at Illinois and was a highly productive player and now he has a chance to push for time with a safety group that is openly competing for playing time. The Eagles will have two new starters at the safety positions for 2023, so Brown is digging in.
"Right now, it's about learning the defense, competing, and just being the best version of myself every day," Brown said during the team's Rookie Minicamp a couple of weeks ago. "Proving myself. Earning respect. That's my mindset going into this. It's not, 'Yeah, there's an opportunity to start.' It's about what I do to earn the respect of the guys around me, especially the guys who have been here for much longer than I have."