The Philadelphia Eagles announced the signing of undrafted free agent Khalil Tate on Sunday and it might have provided a hint with regard to how they will use him.
The former Arizona Wildcats quarterback is listed as a wide receiver by the organization:
Assuming that is not some sort of clerical error, it contradicts what Tate was saying during the pre-draft process when he told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that switching positions is “not my plan” and that he wanted to show scouts “that I can throw. The stigma behind me is that I’m just a runner. But when I get out here and spin the ball in front of them, it opens their eyes. That’s something that they didn’t know I could do.”
Clearly, NFL scouts weren’t too impressed by Tate’s passing ability, otherwise he would have been among the 255 players selected in this weekend’s draft.
While Tate has never played wide receiver at a competitive level, he flashed plenty of ability as a ball carrier at Arizona, compiling nearly 2,300 yards on the ground.
And with the Eagles prioritizing speed this offseason, his best chance of making the roster is to move to wide receiver, running back or some sort of gadget role that incorporates all three like former BYU quarterback Taysom Hill, who just signed a two-year, $21 million extension with the New Orleans Saints.
There is actually quite a bit of precedence when it comes to college quarterbacks transitioning to wide receiver in the NFL, most recently guys like Terrelle Pryor, Brad Smith, Antwaan Randle El, Julian Edelman, and Josh Cribbs. Tate certainly has the physical tools to do it, complementing his blazing speed with a 6-foot-2, 215-pound frame.
Part of the reason he enrolled at Arizona was because other schools that were recruiting him wanted him to be open to switching positions. He wasn’t interested.
But now it appears he might be, and it could be what revives his football career, one that is now far removed from October 2017 when he burst onto the scene by setting a FBS quarterback rushing record and earning four straight Pac-12 Player of the Week awards.
“Ultimately, Tate will require a long-term plan and patience, whether he plays quarterback or receiver,” wrote NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein, “and he’ll have to prove he’s determined enough to do what’s needed to make it.”