At this time last year, Kadron Boone was heading into his senior season at LSU, looking to build on a career year as a junior.
Now he’s fighting for a spot on the Eagles’ roster.
After catching 26 passes for 348 yards and four touchdowns in 2012, Boone had just seven receptions in 13 games last season, leading to a precipitous fall off of NFL draft boards. But a sub-4.5 40-yard dash time at LSU’s April 9 pro day drew the eyes of several teams, including the Eagles.
Boone still did not hear his name called in May’s NFL draft despite the impressive workout. The Eagles took a chance on the 6-foot, 202-pound receiver, signing him as an undrafted free agent. One NFL scout told CSNPhilly.com that the Eagles found a steal in Boone, saying, “He’s gonna make that team.”
The ups and downs have taught Boone lessons that he has carried into Eagles training camp.
“I think it taught me a valuable lesson in life,” Boone said Monday after practice at Lincoln Financial Field. “Just take advantage of the opportunities that you’re presented.
“I’m just bringing that mindset over. In my first year, it’s going to be all about finding my way whether it’s on special teams, whether it’s offense. Whenever I get an opportunity to showcase my talent, [I’m trying to] make the best of that opportunity.”
As a senior, Boone turned his seven receptions into 129 yards and two touchdowns. With 2014 draftees wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (first round to the Giants), running back Jeremy Hill (second round to the Bengals) and wide receiver Jarvis Landry (second round to the Dolphins) also lining up on LSU’s offense last year, opportunities were hard to come by.
“I didn’t get a lot of opportunities in my senior year,” Boone said. “But the ones I did, I made a play. Whether it was a big block that led to a touchdown or whether it was a big catch on third down or whether it was a touchdown.”
Now Boone’s playing with another talented crop of offensive weapons, and he recognizes the experience that surrounds him. He’s trying to soak it up like a sponge, learning from pass-catching veterans like Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper and Brad Smith.
“With them being in the league, if I do something in practice, they’ll correct it,” Boone said. “Anytime I have a question, I’m able to go up to those guys and ask them a question.
“If you watch us together, we critique each other. So, it’s not just [Maclin] telling me what I messed up on. If we see something, we’ll tell him, ‘Hey this is what we saw on your part.’ Just critiquing each other, and that’s the close bond we already have.”
Along with the vast talent around him, Boone has found comfort in another area: the fans. Playing high school and college ball in the football-rabid South, he knows all about passionate fan bases.
“It was great to see the turnout that we had here today,” Boone said after the team’s first open practice to fans. “Ever since I’ve been here, I’ve been hearing about how they’re the best fans. You can see the dedication that they have to us.”