In college at Florida, Trey Burton was Mr. Everything. He was a running back, a quarterback, a tight end and a wide receiver. The only position he didn't dabble in on the offensive side of the ball was a spot on the O-line.
He understood that his versatility was an attribute that could initially confuse teams. His agent warned him that being drafted was unlikely, but it didn't mean it would preclude a future in the NFL.
"When I was interviewing agents and trying to figure out who I wanted to go with to represent my family and I, the guy that I ended up going with, one of the best in the business, he straight up told me, 'It's going to hurt you that you don't have a position, but our goal isn't to get into the NFL, get drafted and only play a couple years. Our goal is to be in the NFL for a long time,'" Burton said. "He said, 'Where it's going to hurt you in the draft, it's going to help you for your career.'
"That's something we truly believed in and I was extremely frustrated for a majority of the draft process knowing that I probably wasn't going to get drafted, seeing all these people go by me who I felt personally I had played better in college than, but it all worked out in the end. I'm extremely happy to be here."
Now in his second NFL season with the Eagles, Burton signed with the team as a rookie free agent and eventually settled in as a tight end. He and his wife, Yesenia, both thought long and hard about which team would be best to sign with and without even looking at the roster, they chose Philadelphia.
The decision proved to be the correct one. Burton has been a special teams standout and is now contributing more on the offensive side of the ball. He recorded his first reception in the game against Detroit, which was good for 43 yards.
"I've always been a fan of Coach (Chip) Kelly ever since he was at Oregon," Burton said. "I was in high school watching him and watching the way that they do things. Didn't really get to catch too many games because they're on the west coast and I was on the east coast and all that, but the games I did get to watch, just seeing how his teams played and they were always in the big game.
"His offense always intrigued me and I figured that I'm not the typical offensive player - tight end, wide receiver, running back, whatever you want to call me. He doesn't run a typical NFL offense, so I figured that I would have the best fit here."
Also on the Eagles Insider Podcast:
Three-And-Out at the 3:25 mark
Enemy Intel at the 29:17 mark
Game Time at the 38:03 mark
Mailing It In at the 44:46 mark
Each week, Fran Duffy and NFL Films senior producer Greg Cosell take an in-depth look at the All-22 tape from the week prior, breaking down what worked, what didn't and what lies ahead for the Eagles. In this week's Eagle Eye in the Sky Podcast, the two keyed in on some notes from Philadelphia's disappointing 45-14 loss to the Lions and previewed the team's upcoming meeting with the New England Patriots.
One of the big storylines from Philadelphia's Thanksgiving Day defeat in Detroit was the loss of cornerback Nolan Carroll to a season-ending ankle injury and the elevation of rookie Eric Rowe into the starting lineup. Matched up early and often with All-Pro wideout Calvin Johnson, Rowe had his ups and downs. And although Johnson finished with eight catches for 93 yards and three touchdowns, the two thought Rowe showed some promising flashes.
"I think there's a difference between perception and reality," Cosell explained. "The perception is that he got toasted, and I don't think that's the reality after watching the tape. In fact, I thought that he actually handled himself pretty well overall. The two touchdowns that I'm sure people thought were his fault – the first one was not really his fault. … In fact, he actually played that coverage really, really well. … And then the second touchdown, he actually had really good coverage, but that was just a great throw, and a receiver who's 6-5 going up and getting the ball."
Against the Patriots, Rowe and the rest of the Philadelphia defense will face a Tom Brady-led offense that ranks second in the NFL in yards gained and points scored. But New England will also be without two of its top offensive weapons. Receiver Julian Edelman went down with a foot injury in a Week 10 win over the Giants and remains sidelined as a result, and tight end Rob Gronkowski injured his knee last week and will also miss Sunday's game. Wideout Danny Amendola is questionable to play against the Eagles, and running back Dion Lewis was placed on Injured Reserve with a torn ACL last month.
"All of their playmakers who made plays for them early in the season are no longer in the lineup," Duffy said. "I'm interested to see how the Eagles try to match up, and then also, if they do try to match up man-to-man, and they feel comfortable with their matchups one-on-one, will we see more pressures? Because we saw a ton of blitzing from Bill Davis against the Detroit Lions."
Although the Patriots' offense has been the primary engine behind the team's 10-1 start this year, the defense has been very good as well. New England ranks 16th in the league in yards surrendered (349.6), but just fifth in points allowed (19.3) per game. In four of their 11 games this year, the Patriots have held their opponent to one or fewer touchdowns, and they've given up more than 27 points to an opponent just once since Week 2. Denver scored 30 in its win over New England last week, but only reached that total in overtime. They've also notched 35 sacks on the year, a number that ranks second in the league this year.
"It's a very disruptive defense," Duffy said. "Their front seven is aggressive when they want to be, and we saw a lot of delayed blitzes this past week against Denver, but (it's impressive) all the different ways they align players."
At the 28:30 mark of the show, former Super Bowl-winning head coach Tony Dungy joined Duffy to break down the intricacies of the Tampa 2 defense. To close things out, Fran Duffy was joined by Tony Pauline from DraftInsider.net to talk about college football and look ahead to the 2016 NFL Draft. That conversation begins at the 30:45 mark of the podcast.
While the final month of the NFL regular season gets underway, this weekend marks the unofficial first round of the College Football Playoffs. The conference championships will be decided providing one final chance for schools to earn a spot in the four-team national tournament. On the Journey to the Draft Podcast presented by AAA, Fran Duffy offered his scouting report on six players who will be playing in the conference title clashes.
1. Michigan State WR Aaron Burbridge: "Every single time I've watched Burbridge, I've been really, really impressed because he's not an A-plus athlete, but a very good route runner (with) very strong hands, good after the catch, does a lot of little things well. Every time I've watched him, he's reminded me a little of Anquan Boldin."
2. Stanford QB Kevin Hogan: "He does some things every time I watch him that make me think, 'Wow, that's an NFL-type play.' It's not because he makes this great throw from a 25-yard dart from the opposite hash on an outbreaking route. It's more ... he's sees the linebacker lined up over the tight end in the slot, but he shaded a little bit inside with a safety stacked behind him. He reads that there's going to be a pressure. He goes to the line of scrimmage, changes up the protection to pick up the blitz, takes the snap, drops back, hits that tight end on a crossing route and almost scores a touchdown."
3. Alabama LB Reggie Ragland: "I love Ragland. I think he's the total package at linebacker. He's athletic. He's physical. He can come downhill. He's instinctive. He has everything you want from an intangibles standpoint. He's a great leader off the field. ... I'm really, really excited about what that kid can be. He should be a first-round pick."
4. Florida DL Jonathan Bullard: "Bullard has probably been my favorite player on the Florida team this year and going back to last year just because he's a great run defender. I think he's special because he's got the ability to be effective in both a one-gap scheme and a two-gap scheme. He's got the ability to penetrate in the opposing backfield. He can hold up at the point of attack as a two-gapping defensive end."
5. Houston CB William Jackson III: "Some people are talking about Jackson as a potential sleeper first-round pick, as a guy who could sneak into the back end of round one. I was excited to watch him. ... I came away wanting a lot more. I didn't see the athleticism. I didn't see the instincts. I didn't see the physicality or the technique. It was only one game (against Louisville). I do want to watch more."
6. Clemson DE Shaq Lawson: "He's been ridiculously disruptive. A guy who every time I've watched him, I've come away very, very impressed. I'm not ready necessarily to say that he's a top 20 pick, but he uses his hands really well. He's able to hold up at the point of attack. He's not like (2015 first-round pick from Clemson) Vic Beasley."