The Philadelphia Eagles are a bit short at the wide receiver position after losing Jeremy Maclin and Arrelious Benn to torn ACLs before the first preseason game. The Eagles' front office has no plans to add another body to boost the numbers, so the coaching staff is improvising with players from other positions.
One position where the Eagles are abnormally deep is tight end, a position with seven players on the active roster, which currently consists of 87 players. One of those players is Clay Harbor, a 2010 fourth-round pick out of Missouri State, who is either third or fourth on the depth chart behind veteran Brent Celek, 2013 second-round pick Zach Ertz and free agent addition James Casey.
The 6-foot-3 Harbor, who was in the 240-pound range when he entered the NFL, worked with the wide receivers on Sunday.
"We know we have seven tight ends, and he (Harbor) already knows how to play inside because all of our tight ends know how to play the slot," head coach Chip Kelly said on Sunday. "So, he's probably the fastest of the tight ends. So until really there are some cut downs and some guys available, we think the best route for us is the guys we have. So if we can cross‑train Clay a little bit, and get him to play outside receiver.
"Now we believe he knows how to play inside and understands a lot of route concepts. So it's a matter of the more versatile you can be, the better impact you can make. He's a big body. He's physical. Not worried about him blocking corners, and he's the one tight end we have that's got really, really good speed. So it will be interesting. We'll try to get him some reps this week so he can feel comfortable, and hopefully we can get him in a game out there."
In three seasons with the Eagles, Harbor has 47 receptions for 421 yards and four touchdowns. Harbor played sparingly as a rookie, but according to official playing-time documents, logged over 30 percent of the snaps in each of the last two seasons. Demonstrating a little versatility could help him earn a spot on the Eagles' 53-man roster and, if it doesn't work out in Philadelphia, will make him more appealing to teams in a possible trade before the rosters are trimmed to 53.