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BALTIMORE -- Eli Ricks was a long shot to make the Philadelphia Eagles roster prior to the preseason opener against the Ravens. That all changed with a pick-six off Anthony Brown

Brown threw a pass and the undrafted free agent rookie cornerback was able to read the throw and take it the other way for six, the type of game-changing plays that get rookies noticed. 

Ricks earned the nickname "Pick-Six Ricks" when he was a five-star recruit at LSU. He lived up to that nickname in his NFL debut, which just happened to be his first interception returned for a touchdown in three years. 

"At least I know it still works," Ricks said with a big smile. "I hope I keep that name forever. Just gotta keep making plays."

The interception wasn't the only highlight of the night. Ricks was targeted five times in the preseason opener, allowing just one completion for seven yards. Opposing quarterbacks targeting Ricks were just 1 of 5 for 7 yards with an interception, compiling a 0.0 passer rating. Ricks also had two pass breakups.

"I'm just hoping to build on this performance, a little bit of this and a little bit of that, but it's a great start for me," Ricks said. "I really want to make a big splash in this game, and I want to feel like I can play free."  

There hasn't been much of an opportunity for Ricks to make splash plays over the past few seasons, missing seven games in his sophomore season at LSU before transferring to Alabama. Ricks admitted he had a lot of injuries in the middle of this lone season at Alabama and he wasn't himself. He didn't feel like he was 100% until Week 4 of last year, making five starts in 10 games. 

"I was waiting for my opportunity to show the world who I am still," Ricks said. "That's a little bit of what I have."

Ricks still has some work to do in order to make the roster in a very crowded cornerback room. Darius Slay and James Bradberry are starters, while Josh Jobe is the No. 3 and Kelee Ringo was a 2023 fourth-round pick. Avonte Maddox and Zech McPhearson are in the slot, so there's six slots at the position. 

Mario Goodrich has a case for a roster spot in the slot and Greedy Williams is a veteran with 21 games of starting experience. If anything Ricks significantly damaged the roster chances for Williams. 

Ricks didn't lock up a roster spot, but he isn't an afterthought anymore. He's in the conversation. 

"It's a crowded room for sure, great bits of stuff every day that I can learn from our veterans," Ricks said. "The atmosphere is great. Coaches are great and they treat us like a family. 

"It's a lot different than what I expected the NFL to have been, and it's great."