Eagles Draft Washington DT Elijah Qualls With Final Pick

With their final pick of the 2017 draft, the Eagles selected 6-foot-1, 315-pound Washington defensive tackle Elijah Qualls.

He's the second Washington player the Eagles took in this year's draft. They selected injured cornerback Sidney Jones in the second round.

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Qualls had 77 tackles, 11 1/2 tackles for loss and 7 1/2 sacks in 30 career games.

"I for sure stop the run well," Qualls said at the NFL Scouting Combine. "And I'm actually a lot better pass rusher than a lot of people think. Typically a lot of our game plan as far as pass rushing was to keep the quarterback contained, so I really couldn't get after him like I'm capable of.

"I'm not going to say I'm one of the best pass rushers ever or anything like that-I've only been playing defensive line since I got to college. I'm still learning, but I'm a lot better than people do think."

Qualls was actually a running back in high school, but he said he got bored scoring touchdowns.

"I was 260 playing running back in high school," he said. "I had 1,300 rushing yards, though. It honestly became too easy, that's why I switched to defensive line. Scoring touchdowns wasn't exciting to me anymore, it was just something I expected.

"Then my last year, my coach came to me and said, ‘Hey would you be willing to play some defense?' My mindset was that if I played defense, I could get the ball back. So I played some defensive line, middle linebacker. I was recruited at both of those positions.

"I kind of just did a little research project trying to see what the long-term was like for both running backs and defensive linemen, and defensive linemen tend to last longer, have less severe injuries, and honestly on average probably make more money, so I decided to be a defensive linemen. Plus I like the challenge."

With Bennie Logan leaving as a free agent, the Eagles have Fletcher Cox, Tim Jernigan and Beau Allen and now Qualls in the mix on the interior of the defensive line.

"I feel like I can fit into any scheme," Qualls said. "I can do anything you ask me to, I played everything from zero to outside linebacker, so there's not much I can't do. It's just whether or not someone can accept me being a couple inches shorter than the person they prefer playing there.

"But I'm stronger than a lot of people, and my football intelligence is top-notch."

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