The Eagles love the fact that they multidimensional players in the secondary. That versatility has helped already this season, as Jaylen Watkins chipped in at cornerback in the first two games, and it could be a factor for the defense on Sunday against the Giants.
With Watkins (hamstring) and safety Rodney McLeod (hamstring) "day to day," according to head coach Doug Pederson, and with safety Corey Graham also nursing a hamstring injury – he did not practice on Wednesday, but watched from the sidelines – the Eagles are down to only a few options. With that in mind, they were glad to be awarded safety Trae Elston off of waivers from Buffalo on Wednesday.
Elston, who will wear No. 35, is at the NovaCare Complex learning a crash-course version of the defense and special teams in preparation for Sunday's game. He's in game shape, having appeared in both of the Bills' contests this season. Elston has good size at 6-0, 190 pounds and he's known as a physical player.
Originally signed by New Orleans after the 2016 NFL Draft, the University of Mississippi product was released by the Saints in September of 2016, added to Tampa Bay's practice squad that October and released a month later. Elston joined Cleveland's 53-man roster last December but stayed there only two weeks. He finished the 2016 campaign on the Browns' practice squad and signed a futures contract with the team after the season.
After being released by the Browns, Elston hooked on with Buffalo and stayed with the Bills until earlier this week.
Elston is now in the safety mix with the Eagles.
What does it all mean for Sunday? Well, with McLeod and Watkins facing a battle to play and with Graham a question mark, the Eagles have Malcolm Jenkins and Chris Maragos and now Elston healthy. It wouldn't be a surprise to see Graham start alongside Jenkins, however, if his hamstring injury progresses well this week
It may not be a long-term concern, but depth at safety is an issue for this week against a Giants team with a potent passing attack.
The Eagles will take on division rival New York Giants in the Week 3 home opener. Check out their key players to watch.