Cornerback Jordan Poyer got his first taste of the NFL during the Eagles' three-day rookie minicamp in May before he was sent back to the campus of Oregon State due to the NCAA's graduation rule. Oregon State did not graduate until June 15 and Poyer was 18 credits shy of getting his degree in elementary education after taking time off to prepare for the NFL Draft.
Poyer was one of only two rookies who was hindered by the rule along with former Stanford tight end Zach Ertz. The two returned to the NovaCare Complex this week for Rookie Development, which ends on Thursday. The one main difference between Ertz and Poyer, however, is draft status. As a second-round pick, Ertz's roster spot is largely secure for the 2013 season. The same can't be said for Poyer, who was a seventh-round selection despite earning All-America honors last year.
"For me, just give me an opportunity. I'll make the most of it. That's what I've always done," Poyer said. "It's good to be back here. I'm calling this my home now. Hopefully, I'm here for a long time."
Fully aware of the NCAA's graduation rule before the NFL Draft, Poyer returned to Corvallis, Ore. with a playbook from the coaches and trained at his alma mater for the past month. Poyer's work would begin around Noon each day when he would wait until the Oregon State staff was done preparing the current team so he could meet with secondary coach Rod Perry. A two-time Pro Bowl selection at cornerback, Perry has played or coached in three Super Bowls. Perry would break down film with Poyer and help teach him the Eagles defense.
"He's probably forgotten a lot more about football than I even know," Poyer said. "He's a great coach. He's fun to be around and fun to learn from. Just being able to talk football from him, he knows a lot about the game."
Following the film session, Poyer would train with Oregon State sports performance coordinator Bryan Miller. One of the other former Beavers who would take part in the workouts was another player in Poyer's predicament, wide receiver Markus Wheaton, a third-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Poyer and Wheaton would battle in one-on-one drills the same way they had in practice each day.
"He's one of the reasons why I'm here today," Poyer said.
During his return to Corvallis, Poyer was honored as Oregon State's Male Athlete of the Year. He tried to keep up with as much of the news surrounding his new team as he could. After finishing tied for second in the nation in interceptions as a slot cornerback last year, Poyer would relish the chance to play that role in Philadelphia.
"You're in the middle of every single play. You're able to read stuff a lot easier. Once I was able to grasp the position, there was nothing that could stop me," Poyer said of moving inside last season. "I felt invincible out there being able to drop in zone coverages, being able to play man and just understanding the whole defense not just the corner position. It helped me understand the game of football around me. I hope I get some chances to play nickel here."
Training Camp doesn't start for a little over a month, but Poyer understands he must battle every day to be ready when he returns. Thanks to the staff at Oregon State, Poyer feels that he has navigated the graduation rule predicament as smoothly as possible.
"For not being at OTAs, I think I'm at where I need to be," Poyer said.
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