Despite a past with its share of rough patches, rookie Josh Huff’s maturity has shown through so far at Eagles OTAs.
Monday’s practice had ended, and while most players quickly filed toward the locker room, Huff caught balls off of the JUGS machine along with a few other wide receivers and defensive backs.
Huff was one of the last players off of the practice field.
“You have to prove to the veterans that you belong,” Huff said after practice Monday. “You can’t just have a [draft] pick and throw him in the fire. That’s disrespectful to the veterans that have been here. You just have put work in where you fit in and continue to work to make your way up the depth chart.”
Although he had an impressive senior season with the Oregon Ducks, catching 62 passes for 1,140 yards and 12 touchdowns, Huff had some run-ins off the field while in college, most notably an arrest for driving under the influence of marijuana. He was charged but later acquitted.
While the cross-country move from Oregon to Philadelphia may cause its own set of issues for some players, Huff said he’s settled in his new home, already comfortable because he has been on his own since he turned 18.
With the Eagles, the third-round pick in last month’s draft returns to a comfort zone: Chip Kelly’s offense. Huff played for Kelly from 2010-12 at Oregon. The familiarity has opened up an avenue for Huff to prove himself to his older teammates.
“What Coach Kelly appreciates is horizontal leadership,” Huff explained. “You don’t have to go to the coaches and ask, you can ask a rookie if he knows it. You just have to continue to work, and we’re all out here trying to make the team.
“That’s what my job is -- to help better my teammates and help better myself.”
With mandatory minicamps beginning on June 17, Huff saw the bulk of his snaps in OTAs from the slot with the third team offense. But he has been patient thus far, carefully biding his time with a simple philosophy.
“Just stay out of the way, do work and show the coaches that I can make plays and show them that I can be the total team player,” he said.
While he is fighting to move into a bigger role on offense, Huff could make a more immediate impact on special teams if he wins the job as kick returner. Solidly built at 5-foot-11, 206 pounds, Huff is an explosive athlete, running a 4.46 at the NFL combine. He also returned kicks at Oregon, averaging 23.0 yards per return for his career.
“I just have to continue to improve and show the coaches that I can play and let them know I can be a playmaker,” Huff said.