Doug Pederson would not identify who enters training camp as the front-runners to start at cornerback because it's too early to start worrying about the lineup. But Pederson's depth chart at the position could look different come September because the Eagles might have a cornerback in Week 1 who is not yet on the roster.
"It's a position we continue to look outside, like we do every position," Pederson said Monday. "But we're going to look to try to bring in guys that we can to try to create as much competition at that spot."
Consider cornerback in 2017 like wide receiver in 2016. That was a weak position for the team in training camp last summer. The Eagles traded for Dorial Green-Beckham in August and claimed Bryce Treggs off waivers in September. All the ink spent on Rueben Randle, Chris Givens, and even Paul Turner went for naught come Week 1.
The Eagles released Dwayne Gratz on Sunday night, taking away one cornerback option. Pederson said that decision could help the young players such as Jalen Mills, but Mills was already well ahead of Gratz on the depth chart. C.J. Smith and Aaron Grymes are two players to watch behind Mills, Patrick Robinson, Rasul Douglas, and Ron Brooks. But other than Mills and Douglas, no one is a lock to make the roster. So pay attention to changes at the position leading up to Sept. 10.
Wide receiver Jordan Matthews and linebacker Jordan Hicks are expected to be limited when the veterans arrive for their first practice Thursday, Pederson said.
Hicks broke a bone in his hand during his honeymoon this summer and had a "minor procedure."
"He's a veteran player, understands his role," Pederson said. "I'm not going to rush him out there. Still going to go through our individuals, our seven-on-seven, as he gets up there."
Matthews presents a more curious case. The fourth-year wide receiver missed time in the spring because of knee tendinitis. He still hasn't fully recovered, and Pederson was evasive when asked for particulars about the injury. He said he's "not concerned" that the injury will extend into the season, although it has lingered for months.
"We've just got to stay on top of it, obviously," Pederson said. "We've been rehabbing all spring and summer. He was in North Dakota with the guys. He's another one we need to monitor as we go. Again, we don't play a game for a long time, so I'm not concerned."
The Eagles signed Canadian rugby star Adam Zaruba to a three-year contract, bringing him in to play tight end.
Zaruba, 26, is 6-foot-5 and 265 pounds. He joins a tight end group that includes Zach Ertz, Trey Burton, Brent Celek, Anthony Denham, and undrafted rookie Billy Brown.