Shittu put together a solid training camp, consistently generating pressure up the middle, and adding some juice to the reserve unit. Shittu wrapped up his first preseason having amassed six tackles, 1.5 sacks and one pass defended. Nearly making the roster, the team decided to make fellow rookie Destiny Vaeao a member of the 53-man roster instead. After being waived during final cuts on Sept. 3, he was signed to the Eagles practice squad the following day.
After spending the entire 2016 season on the practice squad, Shittu set his sights on cracking the 53-man roster in 2017. Unfortunately, a knee injury he sustained that spring landed Shittu on Injured Reserve, derailing his plans of cracking the 53-man roster in his sophomore campaign. After spending the entire season rehabbing on Injured Reserve, Shittu earned a Super Bowl ring as a member of the 2017 Eagles.
Shittu appeared strong and healthy when he returned to the NovaCare Complex for spring practices. Demonstrating his leadership, Shittu was often seen communicating with the younger players during OTA and minicamp practices. His efforts even caught the attention of his head coach:
“I’m thinking of — even [Aziz] Shittu, who came back from an injury a year ago, has had a really nice spring,” Pederson said.
A vested veteran now entering his third NFL season, the 24-year old enters camp once again battling for a depth spot – only this time at defensive end. While Shittu has versatility working in his favor, some of the reserve linemen he is contending with have NFL experience: Steven Means, Destiny Vaeao, and Elijah Qualls.
While it will take a monumental effort to open the season on the defending Super Champions 53-man roster, Shittu has been around long enough to know what it takes. If he is able to eat up space and clog running lanes – and prove to be good for an occasional sack or two – Shittu may be receiving a different kind of phone call in September this time around. While most typically tune out after the first half of preseason action, watch No. 90 closely – because he will be playing with a lot on the line.
If everything goes according to plan for Shittu, fans will soon find out why the Eagles have been patiently waiting.
On Thursday, before the final practice of the long spring, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson was asked if there were any players lower on the depth chart who have stood out over the last few weeks.
Pederson started by mentioning some players who came into the league last year. Eventually, he named six guys.
Let’s take a look at each of them.
Probably a name you haven’t heard in a while, but Shittu has stood out as much as any defensive tackle can in non-padded practices.
Shittu came to the Eagles as an undrafted free agent from Stanford in 2016. But thanks to that stupid college graduation rule he missed all those spring practices. That allowed another undrafted rookie (Destiny Vaeao) to get in front of him and Shittu never recovered. He was brought back to the practice squad in 2016 and then signed a futures contract before last season, but then suffered a knee injury in May and was placed on IR.
It appears he’s healthy now and is showing some of that burst that made him intriguing to the Eagles in the first place.