Three Reasons Washington Huskies defensive tackle Elijah Qualls Will Start for the Philadelphia Eagles
By the time the Philadelphia Eagles arrived at the sixth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, many fans were emotionally spent. It’s honestly the only conclusion possible to explain the lack of headliners over the Eagles selection of Washington Huskies defensive tackle Elijah Qualls.
Elijah Qualls arrives to the Philadelphia Eagle fresh from a solid NCAA football season, where he displayed remarkable adaptability in playing down lineman in the middle, to two point stanced edge rusher.
Holes to Fill
Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Eagles are looking for a defensive lineman to pair up with star Fletcher Cox. They have done plenty to address the void left by former Eagles Bennie Logan. But in the face of Beau Allen’s season finishing injury, questions linger over whether it was enough. The team signed defensive tackle Charles Walker , and traded for defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan. But Walker is a health risk, already suffering three concussions. Jernigan simply fell out of favor with the Baltimore Ravens after his playing time was reduced.
More from Huskies in the NFL
- Pro Husky Shaq Thompson out for season with leg injury
- Washington football alums making waves in Week 3 of the preseason
- Washington football: Previewing the top rookie Huskies in the NFL
- Washington football: Top 3 former Huskies in Madden NFL 22
- Washington football: Pro Huskies show out in Week 2 of the preseason
Enter Elijah Qualls
Enter defensive tackle Elijah Qualls. He is a solid defensive lineman who played against the nations best in the PAC-12. In fact, he played so well that he was moved in to fill the void of the team’s edge rusher JoJo Mathis after Mathis fell to injury.
Qualls accepted the new responsibility, and learned to play defense without his hand in the dirt. Many players would resist such a change, knowing how it would impact their ranking in the upcoming NFL Draft. But Qualls did not hesitate, placing team first.
Reason I: Similar to former Eagles DT Bennie Logan
Elijah Qualls stands at 6-foot-1 and weighs in at 313 pounds. Bennie Logan stood at 6-foot-2 and weighed in at 309 pounds. Logan did 30 reps at the bench press. Qualls did 33 reps. The two players had a very similar college football background. Both players excelled at playing in the trenches, and both were happy to allow other players on the team to get the highlight reel.
Selflessness in the modern NFL is a rare but highly valuable skill. The ability to elevate the play of teammates it a trait that both Bennie Logan and Elijah Qualls possess.
Reason II: Versatility
Like many professional sports, versatility gives a huge advantage in the NFL. Elijah Qualls is a defensive tackle. But he is agile enough to flip to the defensive end if the situation warrants it. In fact, he can even set in a two-point crouch on the edge, and turn everything inwards towards pursuit.
That is incredible valuable on a defense. It pressures the quarterback to make the right reads of who is and isn’t rushing on a pass play. It’s also great for the roster in that Qualls becomes the player who can slide in or out, depending on how injuries occur through the course of the season.
Reason III: Plays To His Responsibilities
Washington Huskies Elijah Qualls was coached by Chris Petersen. That means, he embodies a well disciplined player. When a coach tells him what to do, he does it. When the team needs him at nose tackle, he is a human fireplug who cannot be pushed around. When he is assigned the edge, he sets up like a police blockade, diverting all traffic back to the middle of the field.
That also means he will not be a problem if he is assigned to a rotation. That also means he will deliver.
Qualls Similar To Logan
Elijah Qualls is not a household name to Philadelphia Eagles fans. But come to think of it, neither was that of Bennie Logan. In fact, it required about half of a football season before Bennie Logan emerged as the starting defensive tackle of this team. It could be a similar tale for Elijah Qualls as well.
Elijah Qualls will eventually start for the Philadelphia Eagles at defensive tackle. But to be honest, it may take some time. You see, it takes time to understand just how good Qualls can play.