The Eagles added competition at punter early last month, signing former Ray Guy Award winner Durant Brooks. But could the team be adding another punter to the mix?
Scout.com's Chris Steuber has learned that the Eagles are one of three teams that have scheduled workouts with Michigan's Zoltan Mesko, one of the top punters in the 2010 NFL Draft. Mesko will reportedly work out for the Chiefs on March 26, the Eagles on March 30 and the Patriots on April 14 or 15. All workouts will be conducted at the University of Michigan. Mesko has previously worked out for the Colts and Jets.
A four-year starter at Michigan, the 6-foot-5, 240-pound Mesko, averaged a career-high 44.5 yards per attempt this past season. The Romanian-born Mesko ranks second in school history with a 42.5-yard average, and he got stronger and improved his distance and hangtime every year.
"This off-season, Mesko participated in the Senior Bowl and Scouting Combine, and while he's considered to be a top specialist in this year's class, he's still developing and has to correct his directional punting," Steuber writes.
Mesko is currently the 2nd-rated punter listed on Scout.com's 2010 NFL Draft Rankings.
Specialists are not usually drafted. In fact, since 1970, the Eagles have selected a punter in the draft three times -- South Carolina's Max Runager in 1979, Florida's Ray Criswell in 1986, and Colorado's Mitch Berger in 1994.
Philadelphia's current punter, Sav Rocca, joined the Eagles after a stellar career in the Australian rules-based Australian Football League. Though he is the franchise's all-time leader with a 37.1 career net punting average, the Eagles, as evidenced by the addition of Brooks, may be looking to challenge that position. The 36-year-old Rocca is currently a restricted free agent.
Brooks, meanwhile, was drafted by the Washington Redskins in the sixth round of the 2008 NFL Draft after winning the Ray Guy Award for best collegiate punter in his senior year at Georgia Tech. In addition to winning the award, Brooks has also been tutored by Guy.
The 6-foot, 204-pound Brooks played in six games with the Redskins his rookie season and had a gross average of 39.6 yards per punt and a net average of 32.1 yards per punt. The Redskins replaced him midseason with Ryan Plackemeier.
Brooks finished his rookie season on the practice squad of the Green Bay Packers and signed a future contract with the Packers at the end of the season, but was released at the end of training camp. It was reported that Brooks had a tryout with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in December, but he did not play with a team during the 2009 season.
That the Eagles are looking at every way to improve their team is a good thing. And with a new special teams coordinator in Bobby April, the team wants to give him the best options to build a championship-caliber unit.
In terms of specialists, the Eagles have returning Pro Bowl players in kicker David Akers, punt returner DeSean Jackson and long snapper Jon Dorenbos.
-- Posted by Bob Kent, 9:33 a.m., March 21