Eagles Sign Villanueva, Former U.S. Army Ranger


Nick Glennon

The Philadelphia Eagles made a unique free agent splash on Monday afternoon. The team announced the signing of former U.S. Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva.

Villanueva last played football in 2009 for Army. He has ridiculous size as he weighs in at 277 pounds and stands six feet nine inches tall. To put that in perspective, he would make Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski look small if they stood next to each other. At Army, Villanueva didn’t really have any major role on the team until his senior year when he converted to wide receiver and named an offensive captain. During his senior year he led the team in nearly every receiving statistic as he had 34 catches for 522 yards and 5 touchdowns. However, it appears the Eagles have different plans in mind for Alejandro as right now they have him listed as a defensive lineman.

Despite being only 25 years old, he already has a very distinguished military career. He graduated from U.S. Military Academy at West Point with a bachelor in Science in Systems Engineering. After college, Villanueva would move down to Fort Benning in Georgia to participate in the Infantry Officer Basic Course, Basic Airborne Course and the U.S. Army Ranger Course. He then moved to Fort Drum in New York where he served in the 10th Mountain Division. Villanueva was eventually deployed to Afghanistan three different times where he served a total of 20 months and earned a Bronze Star Medal for Valor. Most recently, he was promoted to captain earlier this month.

The Eagles first got a chance to see him showcase his skills at the super regional combine in Detroit and obviously saw something they liked. The addition of Villanueva gives the Eagles a unique prospect who’s still in his early 20’s and also boosts team morale. Villanueva could provide the Philadelphia locker room with a unique sense of leadership that perhaps no other team in the NFL can boast. However, first he must actually make the team. Minicamps are coming up soon and Alejandro will have to show the Eagles something impressive. He’s a longshot to make the team and the odds are against him but it will be interesting to see what happens to him. Whether or not he makes the team, Villanueva is an excellent American and people should respect and admire him for following his dreams.