Washington Football DT Elijah Qualls stands out for Philadelphia Eagles

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 31: Elijah Qualls
ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 31: Elijah Qualls /

Washington Football defensive tackle Elijah Qualls is trying to impact the Philadelphia Eagles defense. If first impressions matter, he will flourish.

Washington Football defensive tackle Elijah Qualls was an enigma to the 2017 NFL Draft scouts and analysts. He played a number of positions, and played them all well. But the NFL model of defensive linemen is for a player to play one position well.  As such, the well-rounded candidacy of Qualls did not readily fit the square-slotted roles for NFL defensive linemen.

As such, he slid in the NFL draft.  From a projected third or fourth round prospect to the sixth round.  There, the Philadelphia Eagles could not resist the value.  He was a defensive lineman who can slide into any spot, and can make an immediate impact in the game.

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Qualls fit

As long as the defense of the Philadelphia Eagles is set, Qualls remains a reserve.  But this is a team still searching for a defensive identity.  You can tell it in the range of off-season moves to the defensive front. The team allowed long-time veteran Bennie Logan to walk away via free agency. The team signed defensive end Chris Long.  Then, the team traded for Baltimore Ravens starting defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan.

But in the opposite direction, defensive tackle Beau Allen suffered an injury, and will likely not be ready for the season opener. The team drafted a stellar defensive end Derek Bennett in the first round. In the end, the question has been raised, exactly how does Qualls fit?

Can’t keep talent off the field

Elijah Qualls was unable to participate in a majority of organized team activities due to NCAA rules, so the potential of the young defensive lineman was unquantified. While that may have worked to Qualls’ disadvantage so far, he’s making up ground quickly. A recent article from TheEaglesWire.USAToday.com’s Sean Douglas reveals that Qualls is turning heads with the team’s defensive coaches, including top dawg Jim Schwartz.

In his press conference, Schwartz had plenty to say about Qualls:

"“On one hand, he’s got natural leverage. On the other hand, he’s hard to handle for some of these guys. In fact, He’s got the low center of gravity. He doesn’t have great length. His arms aren’t the longest things in the world … but he’s active. He’s active, he’s got a low center of gravity, he’s hard to move out of there, and those are the things that will be beneficial to him.” -Schwartz in press conference"

Qualls was a swill army knife for the Washington Football team.  He is a naturally big man, and as such, many concluded he was a risk of being out of shape. But he is an EverReady defensive battery, always prepared to step up and step onto the football field.

Pass rush? Check!

Already impressed with Elijah Qualls is Eagles pass rushing coach Chuck Smith

While he did not have an opportunity to work with the team during OTA’s, he did get work with Smith, who already has labeled the young Husky “A Beast!”.

Smith already has designated one of the most undervalued defensive linemen he has ever worked with.  His entire assessment was full of praise, accolades, and “watch out for this kid” verbiage.

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But if you are a regular reader, you know that Qualls fits the Eagles scheme.  In fact, I had previously given three reasons why I believe Qualls will start for the Philadelphia Eagles . Qualls is the type of player who contributes across the entire defense. He may not bring 10 quarterback sacks, but the team will generate far more QB pressure with him on the field.

While fans may not see his impact in direct stats, coaches will love him. And they already do. He is more than a bench guy. Keep your eye on Elijah Qualls.