Good afternoon. The draft is finished, and now the focus of the offseason is on the spring workouts. The Eagles will have rookie minicamp next weekend, and OTAs will begin May 21.

This is an offseason edition of the Early Birds newsletter. I want to know what you think, what we should add, and what you want to read, so send me feedback by email or on Twitter @ZBerm. Thank you for reading.

— Zach Berman

Northwestern's Clayton Thorson passing against Notre Dame during a game last November.
Jim Young / AP
Northwestern's Clayton Thorson passing against Notre Dame during a game last November.

Clayton Thorson’s transition to a reserve role

Clayton Thorson started all four years at Northwestern after his redshirt season. The Eagles’ fifth-round pick, and the first quarterback they’ve drafted since Carson Wentz in 2016, is now in a different situation. He’ll compete with Nate Sudfeld to be the No. 2 quarterback, and barring something unforeseen, his best chance of becoming a starter with the Eagles is as an injury replacement.

So how does Thorson make that adjustment after being the face of a program?

"It’s kind of just like high school,” Thorson said. “Going to college, you come in as the guy and obviously there are other guys there. I learned from Trevor Siemian my freshman year of college. I’m really looking forward to getting in there and learning from Nate and Carson and those great coaches. Just keeping myself ready to go at any moment.”

Of course, the difference is that Siemian’s eligibility expired. That won’t happen with Wentz in the NFL. But Thorson has the chance to spend a few years as Wentz’s backup if he proves trustworthy and Sudfeld signs elsewhere next offseason. If the past two years have proven anything, it’s that the backup quarterback is a chinstrap away from taking over the season. Thorson watched it from afar.

“It tells me a lot,” Thorson said of Nick Foles’ success. “It says a lot about that coaching staff and how they helped develop the guys who aren’t the starters. It also says a lot about Carson, too. I am sure it helped when Nick learned the offense: He was an older guy, as well. But it says a lot about the Eagles, and I am looking forward to stepping in there and getting some reps and learning from all those guys.”

The Eagles liked much about Thorson, including his personality, success at Northwestern, size, athleticism, decision-making, and arm strength. When Jeffrey Lurie said the Eagles wanted to get back to drafting a quarterback every year or other year, he said it won’t just be about how good that quarterback is, but how he’ll fit in the quarterback room. That’s an important part of Thorson’s transition to a reserve role.

“Obviously, Carson has the keys to the car, he knows it all, and I’m sure Nate does, too,” Thorson said. “So, I’m looking forward to learning from them, but also becoming good friends with them and supporting them and competing my butt off and so looking forward to getting to know them. I’ve heard such great things about that room, obviously to see Nick go away, I think it’s just a great opportunity for me.”

Meet the Eagles’ seventh-round pick

Instead of using their seventh-round pick on a draft prospect, the Eagles traded it to the Indianapolis Colts for defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway. Ridgeway, 24, was a fourth-round pick in 2016 who has had six career starts in three seasons. The Eagles could have taken a player in the seventh round who would be under contract for four seasons, but they didn’t see much difference then between a player they would draft and one they would sign as undrafted rookie. So they preferred to acquire a player they had their eyes on throughout the offseason, even though he’s entering the last year of his contract.

“We’ve been talking, obviously we all have a great relationship with the Colts organization, and their head coach and their general manager and their scouting staff,” said Howie Roseman, the Eagles’ executive vice president of football operations. “He’s a guy that we’ve been talking about for a long time with them. It just came at the end of the seventh round, and we had been talking about trying to find a fit, and they had kind of a player they wanted, and we’re continuing to look for guys who can help us up front, and we think this guy fits our scheme.

"We think he’s got a chance to develop into a good player for us. He’s young. He’s 24 years old. We have guys on our staff that were in Indy and drafted him. We have guys that were with him in Indianapolis. We feel we know the player.”

The Colts selected center Javon Patterson with the pick. The Eagles will now have Ridgeway compete with Treyvon Hester and Bruce Hector for the fourth defensive-tackle spot.

Miles Sanders’ nickname

The Eagles’ last great running back was nicknamed Shady. The next one might be Boobie.

Miles Sanders’ Twitter handle is BoobieMilesXXIV. It’s because his nickname is “Boobie,” a reference to the running back in the book Friday Night Lights, which was made into a movie. A television show was based on the book, too, but Sanders’ inspiration was the character in the movie. The character was played by Derek Luke, and growing up, Sanders’ friends said they saw a resemblance.

“I think that movie is legendary,” Sanders said. “You see how he runs in the movie, very elusive. And then people have said I look like Derek Luke. … I don’t think so, but yeah, I got that name when — actually it was pee-wee football and it just kind of built from middle school to high school to now, and then I knew it got bad when my mom started calling me Boobie. That’s all she calls me.”

Eagles draft pick Miles Sanders at a press conference Saturday.
HEATHER KHALIFA / Staff Photographer
Eagles draft pick Miles Sanders at a press conference Saturday.

What you need to know about the Eagles

From the mailbag

I wouldn’t rule it out. They have Derek Barnett, Brandon Graham, and Vinny Curry as their top three defensive ends at this point. They like a four-man rotation. Josh Sweat and Shareef Miller are next at that spot, with Daeshon Hall and Joe Ostman among the players trying to impress for a spot, too.

But if the Eagles believe they need a fourth reliable defensive end, a player such as Ziggy Ansah or Shane Ray could be appealing. Any player who signs must be satisfied with being a rotational player who takes 25-30 percent of the snaps, which can sometimes be a tough sell for an established player. My guess is the Eagles take time this spring to see what they have and get a gauge on players returning from injuries. But if they’re going to sign a veteran, I can see this as a position they address.