The Eagles held their tenth and last practice of Phase 3 of spring workouts – otherwise known as organized team activities (OTAs). Thursday's session was open to the media. Here are some observations and notes:
- Every NFL job, technically speaking, is open in June. We're three months from actual football and plenty can happen during that span. But a quick gander at the Eagles' depth chart doesn't reveal much in terms of competition for the first team. Carson Wentz is the quarterback. The starting offensive line is set, as are the skill positions. There will be a rotation on the defensive line, but the first four are essentially established. Weak-side linebacker could be up for grabs, but Corey Nelson should have first dibs. And the safeties are written in stone. The cornerbacks, though, are a bit of an unknown. Jalen Mills, Ronald Darby and Sidney Jones are the likely top three. But Rasul Douglas and De'Vante Bausby could potentially supplant one of the three or make one expendable enough to trade. Even if Mills, Darby and Jones were to be the main three corners, there is some question as to who would play where. The first two are the incumbents, but Jones is the future. The Eagles didn't use a 2017 second round pick and allow the Washington product to sit for most of his rookie season to have him watch for a second straight year. But will Jones start outside, or play in the slot, or will he play outside with either Mills and Darby moving inside nickel personnel? At this point, it could be any combination of the three. Jones opened OTAs as the first-string slot. Bausby was there last week and some this week with Jones sidelined with an unspecified injury. Darby got his turn on Thursday and Douglas was bumped up to the first unit on the outside. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said that there will be a rotation – per usual – through training camp, but we should start to see some separation in August.
- Carson Wentz was about as involved as he was in Wednesday's practice. He still did side rehab work with a trainer during certain stages, but he was a participant in most phases aside from team drills. Wentz again took a handful of snaps during 7 on 7s and was efficient. He hit tight end Zach Ertz in stride on a slant and later flipped to running back Matt Jones for a short "touchdown" just over the goal line. Wentz threw high to Greg Ward on a post route into the end zone and the receiver awkwardly collided with Douglas. Ward fell face first to the ground and didn't move for a moment. Trainers arrived to assess his condition and after a few moments slowly turned him over. He eventually sat up, but had to be helped up and carted off. Ward later told reporters that he was fine and should be ready for next week's three-day minicamp. But there was a brief scare as he lay motionless. The rest of the players, meanwhile, simply turned and kept working at the other end of the field. Football must go on!
- Aside from Ward, not much else changed on the injury front. The following players were present but only watched: Jones, running back Josh Adams, running back Donnel Pumphrey, safety Ryan Neal, safety Chris Maragos, linebacker LaRoy Reynolds, linebacker Joe Walker, receiver Marquess Wilsonand defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. Linebacker Jordan Hicks and tackle Jason Peters were limited. Defensive end Brandon Graham, defensive tackleTim Jernigan and receiver Alshon Jeffery weren't at practice, but they were at the NovaCare Complex rehabbing their injuries.
- Center Jason Kelce and tackle Lane Johnson weren't at practice. The Eagles offered no explanation. The workouts are voluntary after all. Kelce and Johnson have been present for almost the entire spring. Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and linebacker Nigel Bradham were also once again absent, as were defensive end Michael Bennett and running back Darren Sproles, who have skipped the entire OTAs. Next week's minicamp is mandatory. It will be our first glimpse of Bennett and reporters' first chance to talk with him since his arrest in March.
- I haven't written much about running back Corey Clement this spring, but I wanted to touch on his steady performance during the open sessions. It's amazing to think that a year ago he arrived as an undrafted rookie with questions about his ability to catch the ball. Last season proved that he could be a receiver out of the backfield – and one that could make tough catches in the biggest of games – but he has shown little signs of slowing down. OTAs are more or less passing camps, and the running backs have received their share of passes. But Clement has looked the smoothest catching the ball and on Thursday he pulled in a variety of tosses – screens, crossers, wheels – from quarterback Nick Foles.
- What's up with Isaac Seumalo? The third-year offensive lineman once again didn't participate in team drills. While it hasn't appeared that he's injured, a source close to the situation said that the third-year offensive lineman has an upper body strain. Seumalo has participated in individual drills. He's jumped in for a handful of plays during the offensive installation period. And his only other involvement in drills has been as the lone center – read: he just snaps the football – during 7 on 7s. One theory for his limited participation was that the Eagles didn't want to risk injury to a player they're trying to trade. The injury basically shoots that idea down. But how much could Seumalo be worth if available? Teams have the film from last season. He could provide versatility. And offensive linemen are rare commodities in the NFL. I just don't see him fetching more than a low draft pick or some other team's failed project. Seumalo is only 24, so it may be too early to give up on the former third rounder, but his star has certainly fallen in two years. He could merely be a career backup.
- Here's a play-by-play (of sorts) from drills involving the first team units: With Kelce and Johnson absent, Stefen Wisniewski slid to center, Chance Warmack took Wisniewski's left guard spot, and Taylor Hart was up at right tackle. During the first set of team drills, Foles made two strong successive throws to receiver Mack Hollins and receiver Mike Wallace. The second toss was a little high, but Wallace impressively snagged it out of the air. He's had a nice spring so far and should be more than just a deep threat. Later, safety Malcolm Jenkins was matched up against Ertz in the slot. Foles threw to another target, but Jenkins was flagged for holding. The veteran pleaded his case to the officials – you got to love the intensity for just a practice in shorts and shells – but I thought that Jenkins clearly grabbed Ertz's jersey. A few plays later, Hart jumped early for a false start. Foles tossed a bubble screen to Wallace, but Douglas was there to touch the receiver down. A good read there by the second-year corner. Foles connected with Richard Rogers late in practice. The veteran has soft hands, but he doesn't always get enough separation at the top of his routes.
- The second team: Quarterback Nate Sudfeld once again took the repetitions with the second unit offense during team drills. He found receiver Shelton Gibson vs. the soft-playing Avonte Maddox. Receiver Tim Wilson dropped a pass. Sudfeld had trouble finding receiver Bryce Treggs and either threw wildly over his head of purposely ballooned the pass out of the bounds. Another of his passes was off target – did the receiver run the wrong route? – and a diving Stephen Roberts almost pulled in an interception.
- The third team: During 7 on 7s, Sudfeld flicked a dart down the seam to rookie tight end Dallas Goedert. It was probably his best pass of the day. Quarterback Joe Callahan tried for Wilson during team drills, but Mills was there and forced a wide toss.