Bismarck Native Trying To Make Eagles
Everyone in Bismarck knows the name Carson Wentz, but if one Bismarck High School alumnus has his way, people may soon know the name of another local product on the Philadelphia Eagles roster.
Jay Liggins — a 6-foot-2 defensive back who was a two-time All-American at Dickinson State University — signed with Philadelphia as an undrafted free agent immediately after the NFL Draft. Since then, he's spent the past two months at rookie camp, organized team activities and mandatory minicamp.
Liggins route to a potential NFL roster spot is difficult and rare, but not impossible. Legendary players such as Walter Payton, Mel Blount and Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson all played in the NAIA. College football and the NFL has grown quite a bit since then, so Liggins may find more inspiration in more recent NAIA prospects like Damon Harrison, Austin Ekeler, and Kenny Moore.
Moore in particular should be a player Liggins hopes to emulate. A fellow defensive back, Moore went undrafted and signed as a free agent with the Patriots in 2017. He ultimately didn't make the Patriots squad, but was quickly signed by the Indianapolis Colts. Recently Moore became the highest paid slot corner in the NFL after he signed an extension with Indianapolis.
For now Liggins must make the most of his opportunity with the Eagles. He'll get a chance each practice to face off against a premier talent in Wentz, not to mention players like Zach Ertz, DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery.
"Physically, in terms of strength and speed, I don't feel overmatched. It's more the mental part where a lot of these guys have been doing it their whole careers and I'm still learning technique and learning the playbook and stuff like that," Liggins told the Bismarck Tribune. "Those guys (Ertz, DeSean Jackson) they're very savvy. They know how to run routes and how to create space."
We'll definitely be rooting for Liggins as the NFL preseason arrives. It'd be awesome if two boys from Bismarck could make the same roster, but it'd be just as cool if Liggins ends up on another NFL squad. This will definitely be a story worth monitoring.