Eagles sign a former Delaware high school star at wide receiver
The Eagles signed former St. Elizabeth star Andre Patton to a contract Thursday, the team announced.
Patton, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound wide receiver, has been in the NFL since 2017, when the Los Angeles Chargers signed him as an undrafted free agent.
Patton, who played at Rutgers in college, was on the Chargers' practice squad for his first two seasons.
Then in 2019, Patton was promoted to the 53-man roster for the first time in his career. Patton played in 13 games that season with 6 receptions for 56 yards. Four of those receptions went for first downs.
The Chargers released Patton last August, and he was signed to the Arizona Cardinals' practice squad. But he was released from their practice squad in late October and signed a few weeks later to the Miami Dolphins' practice squad, where he remained for the rest of the season.
Patton has familiarity with both Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni and offensive coordinator Shane Steichen. Sirianni was the Chargers' wide receivers coach in 2017, while Steichen was the Chargers' quarterbacks coach for Patton's first two seasons, then the interim offensive coordinator in 2019 when Patton was on the 53-man roster.
Patton, who's 27 years old, becomes the oldest Eagles wide receiver, as he's a year older than Greg Ward.
In many ways, Patton's career has mirrored Ward's. Ward was signed by the Eagles as an undrafted free agent in 2017, and he, too, had to wait until his third season before he got his promotion to the 53-man roster.
It's not known yet what kind of role Patton will have with the Eagles. For now, the Eagles could use the depth. Both Ward and Jalen Reagor have been practicing on a limited basis this week, Travis Fulgham didn't practice Thursday with a lower body injury, and Quez Watkins has been out with a non-COVID-19 illness.
Patton, meanwhile, has always adapted. Back in 2017, Patton said this to Delaware Online/The News Journal about being on the practice squad:
"You have to stay focused and do what you can to help the other guys get ready to play. But you also get to learn. I see how these guys prepare and use their techniques. Being with them every day, it's easier for them to help me tweak my technique and help me get better, too.
"That's what I'm trying to do – get better every day."
The Eagles also signed safety Obi Melifonwu.
Contact Martin Frank at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter @Mfranknfl.