Eagles draftees Ertz and Poyer play catch-up

Cornerback Jordan Poyer still needs a few credits for his degree from Oregon State, but was able to report.
Cornerback Jordan Poyer still needs a few credits for his degree from Oregon State, but was able to report. (AP)
Posted: June 19, 2013

Jordan Poyer took part in Oregon State's graduation on Saturday and flew to Philadelphia on Sunday, but he struggled to fall asleep that night in his airport hotel room. He was awake at about 5 a.m. when Zach Ertz walked into the room after taking a red-eye from San Francisco following his graduation from Stanford on Sunday.

By Monday morning, both Eagles draft picks were in the team's facility for the first time since rookie minicamp in early May.

Ertz, a tight end taken in the second round, and Poyer, a cornerback drafted in the seventh round, missed all of the organized team activities and the first minicamp because of an NFL rule that does not allow rookies to join their teams until their college terms are completed. Stanford and Oregon State have academic calendars that stretch into June.

"I think I missed a lot," Ertz said. "The reps are invaluable. . . . But I couldn't do anything about it, so I didn't really stress over it too much. I was in the playbook a lot, studied as much as I could. So I basically made the most of what I could."

Poyer said he watched film and studied the playbook but agreed with Ertz that nothing replaces the on-field work.

"I definitely was getting anxious," Poyer said. "I was wondering who's out there trying to take my spot."

However, Ertz and Poyer agreed that the missed time in May and June would not hurt them come September and October. They're in the facility this week, and everything is retaught during training camp.

Ertz, who graduated with a degree in management science and engineering, combined his workouts with three classes: bioengineering, optimization, and a senior project that included finding trends in the stock market.

Poyer took part in graduation but still needs a few credits to earn his degree in liberal studies. He worked out with his defensive backs coaches at Oregon State and with other NFL draftees in a similar situation.

Poyer kept in touch with Eagles cornerback Brandon Hughes, rookie safety Earl Wolff, and Ertz. Ertz said he was also in frequent contact with rookie quarterback Matt Barkley.

Ertz is expected to be a featured part of the offense despite the Eagles' logjam at tight end. Coach Chip Kelly will use multiple-tight end packages, and Ertz's versatility allows him to split outside, play in the slot, or play along the line.

Poyer's situation is different. A consensus all-American in 2012 who played against Kelly-coached teams each season, Poyer has talent that could be intriguing at an unsettled cornerback spot for the Eagles. But seventh-round picks have no guarantees to make the roster.

He is best as a slot cornerback, but he spent time learning the outside spots and familiarizing himself with the Eagles' special teams.

"Obviously, everybody knows I'm not the fastest and I don't have the power and strength to jump a 42-inch [vertical] like you see some other guys at the combine, but I also think I understand the game of football a hundred times more than a lot of players do," Poyer said. "I understand my body, I understand who I'm going against."

Ertz and Poyer will spend the rest of the week at the Eagles' facility, and they will attend next week's NFL rookie symposium in Aurora, Ohio. They plan to return to their college campuses to work out for the remainder of the summer before rookies report to training camp on July 22, when both will need to make up for lost time.

"We both wished we could be out here," Ertz said. "But we couldn't do anything about it. And I don't think there's anything to do about it."


Contact Zach Berman at zberman@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @ZBerm.

|
|
|
|
|