Eagles minicamp practice observations: Spring winners and losers
The Eagles held their third and final mandatory minicamp practice Thursday. Here are some of the highlights and a spring recap.
The Eagles held their third and final mandatory minicamp practice Thursday. Here are some of the highlights and a spring recap:
1. The final practice of minicamp was a brief one – the Eagles worked out for 25 minutes before reporters were kicked out of the indoor practice facility. The players stretched, split into positions for drills and finished with 7 on 7s in the red zone. The highlight was a Carson Wentz pass to receiver Charles Johnson in the back of the end zone. The quarterback purposely threw a touch high, but Johnson managed to climb for the ball and get both feet inbounds. Even defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz begrudgingly gave the touchdown sign after the catch. Johnson’s path to the 53-man roster is a steep one, but he took advantage of others’ injuries, as did receivers Marken Michel and Greg Ward.
2. Despite the limited number of plays, there were a few dropped passes. Running back Boston Scott couldn’t hang onto a short Nate Sudfeld toss, and tight end Dallas Goedert allowed a Wentz flick to sail through his hands. Wentz tried to throw to J.J. Arcega-Whiteside’s back shoulder, but the receiver didn’t stop and turn, probably because cornerback Rasul Douglas had done a good job of shielding him. Cornerback Josh Hawkins had back-to-back plays that were emblematic of what many young players experience in camp. On the first play, Sudfeld went to Ward on a shallow cross. But Hawkins had him covered like a blanket and knocked the ball away. But on the next pass, slanting receiver Carlton Agudosi had a slight step on him and Sudfeld heaved a dart low and away from the corner.
3. DeSean Jackson didn’t practice. He didn’t look injured and was probably just taking a day of rest. The following injured players were either watching practice or absent: running back Miles Sanders (hamstring), wide receiver Nelson Agholor (“lower body,” per Doug Pederson), wide receiver Shelton Gibson (injury unknown), defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (foot), linebacker Nigel Bradham (hand), running back Corey Clement (knee), guard Brandon Brooks (Achilles) and cornerback Jalen Mills (foot). Safety Rodney McLeod (knee), cornerback Ronald Darby (knee), defensive end Derek Barnett (shoulder), and receiver Mack Hollins (groin) participated in individual drills.
While access wasn’t given for every practice, here’s one reporter’s assessment of spring workouts:
-- J.J. Arcega-Whiteside: The rookie receiver didn’t look overwhelmed and his touchdown catches suggest that he could have an immediate impact in the red zone.
-- Rasul Douglas: He quietly patrolled his side of the field and was rarely the victim of poor coverage. But has he done enough to supplant the incumbent starters on the outside
-- Dallas Goedert: He made waves during his rookie camp, but the tight end looks capable of making a second-year leap into stardom. He’s that good.
-- Avonte Maddox: Is he a slot, a corner or a safety? Does it even matter? Maddox may be destined to play inside, but he has the abilities to start outside.
-- Josh Sweat: He said he added 25 pounds of strength this offseason and it looked it during various rushes. Can the defensive end become a regular part of the line rotation?
-- T.J. Edwards: Of the Eagles’ undrafted rookies, he may be the best bet to make the 53-man roster. But he still has a lot to prove.
-- Charles Johnson: The NFL veteran gained a new lease on life with a stellar showing in the shortly-lived AAF. He carried that momentum into Eagles camp and made several standout catches.
-- Jeremiah McKinnon: The Eagles are deep at cornerback, but he still has practice squad eligibility.
-- Marken Michel: After two seasons in the CFL, the receiver is back in the NFL hopping to catch onto a roster. It may not be with the Eagles, but his stock is climbing.
-- Boston Scott: The Eagles need someone to replace Darren Sproles on punt returns and he could be the odd man in.
-- Josh Adams: Recovery from shoulder surgery limited his time, but when Adams practiced his flaws as a receiver resurfaced.
-- Sidney Jones: He had a solid camp and made several strong plays on the ball, but he ended camp behind Maddox on the depth chart.
-- Matt Pryor: It’s early, but Pryor didn’t get the nod to fill in for the injured Brandon Brooks at right guard.
-- Tre Sullivan: The addition of Andrew Sendejo dropped him out of the third safety role, and he appeared to do little to reclaim the job.
-- Paul Worrilow: He’s coming off a torn ACL and missed a week of practice when his injured knee flared up.
-- Vinny Curry: His role will be reduced, but the defensive end brought his typical energy to many workouts.
-- Zach Ertz: The Pro Bowl tight end makes it look so easy that his skills as a receiver can often be taken for granted. Ertz hasn’t regressed one bit.
-- DeSean Jackson: If there were any doubts about his speed, the receiver put them to bed during the last few weeks.
-- Jason Peters: He only showed for minicamp – not that his presence was needed during OTAs – but didn’t look out of shape and could be seen working with top pick Andre Dillard.
-- Carson Wentz: He was essentially sharp. Most important, the quarterback threw without constraints and ended the spring without any setbacks.
-- Derek Barnett: The pressure is on. Barnett has a lot riding on this season, so not doing anything beyond individual drills isn’t the ideal way to head into training camp.
-- Ronald Darby/Jalen Mills: The cornerbacks weren’t expected to practice much in the spring. Mills did virtually nothing on the field. But can either be ready by Week 1?
-- Jordan Howard: He didn’t miss a session and looked fine carrying the ball – of course, without pads – but skepticism about his pass catching remains.
-- Miles Sanders: A hamstring strain sidelined him throughout the spring. It wouldn’t be a big deal unless the Eagles were counting on him to contribute right away.
-- Halapoulivaati Vaitai: The move to guard could help his career, but will he be able to hold down the fort until Brooks returns, or will the Eagles fall back on the reliable Stefen Wisniewski?