Joe Ostman has a small secret. The real name of the training camp standout who spent last season impressing on the practice squad is Edmund.
Edmund Eugene Ostman III — Joe for short — had another promising day during the Eagles’ practice Tuesday.
The defensive end from Central Michigan was signed by the Eagles as an undrafted free agent in 2018, and made it onto last year’s practice squad after being cut. Mimicking players such as Aaron Donald and Khalil Mack, he garnered praise from his teammates and coach Doug Pederson for giving the team’s starters good practice reps.
“He was just a guy that came every day consistent with his play for us in practice," offensive tackle Lane Johnson said. “You need that so you can simulate a game-type environment. He was probably the best guy to do that on the team.”
Spending so much time trying to emulate Pro Bowlers seems to be paying off for Ostman, whose grandfather of the same name was coined “Joe” long ago, in his second training camp. He’s been noticeably disruptive in training camp, which started Thursday.
“It helped me personally because I was working moves that I might not be experienced with,” Ostman said. “All those different pass rushers around the league have different go-to moves, so it was helpful for me."
The 260-pound edge rusher has been matched up mostly against offensive tackles Jordan Mailata and Andre Dillard during team drills, and he has been a handful for the two, getting both a “sack” and a tackle for loss Tuesday.
“He’s been a [pain],” Mailata said, laughing. “He’s such a great athlete and player, every time we do something wrong, we’re always talking. ... He’s tiny, but, man, he can move and he’s pretty strong. Overall, it’s been challenging; it’s been fun.”
Ostman has been getting some reps with the third-team defense as a “joker” — a player lined up in a two-point stance whose primary assignment is to rush the passer — in addition to his defensive end snaps.
“He’s slippery. He’s got a little bit of hybrid skills," Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said. “We’re just trying to move him around a little bit and see if we can carve out a role for him.”
Schwartz added that, while the coaching staff believes Ostman’s success on the practice field can translate to in-game situations, he’d like to see him produce in the preseason.
“There’s a big difference between looking good rushing in practice and then being able to finish them in games,” he said. “We have confidence that when we do get live to the quarterback in our preseason games that we’ll see the same thing.”
The Eagles have a lot of depth at defensive end, returning Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Daeshon Hall, and Josh Sweat and adding Vinny Curry and Shareef Miller. The team’s initial 53-man roster last season had five defensive ends.
Ostman could sneak on, especially with a chance to be a high-energy special-teams guy, but he’ll have to keep having days like Tuesday to have a chance.