The first day of open media availability for Philadelphia Eagles minicamp was Thursday, with an early look at the depth chart on both sides of the ball. Philadelphia had 7-on-7 drills during the open portion of the media session, along with a few other interesting developments as the defending NFC champions eye the Super Bowl title.
Of course, this is just one practice session of six (all voluntary) with no mandatory minicamp (the Eagles are the only NFL team that doesn't have one). A few quick observations from the hour-long session open to the media:
- Even with 7-on-7 drills, we got an early look at how the secondary could look on Day 1 of training camp. Reed Blankenship and Terrell Edmunds were the starting safeties, while Justin Evans and K'Von Wallace were on the second team.
- If you're wondering where Sydney Brown is, don't panic. The Eagles take time acclimating their rookies and Brown was rotating with Wallace on the second team toward the end of 7-on-7.
- Darius Slay and James Bradberry were the starting corners, but the Eagles were getting a look at Zech McPhearson in the slot (Avonte Maddox is still the starter there). Kelee Ringo and Josh Jobe were on the second team, but Jobe also got some first-team looks.
- Bradberry and Maddox were at practice and in shells, but watched the majority of 7-on-7 drills. The Eagles used that opportunity to get an extended look at McPhearson and Jobe.
- Slay had a good day in the 7-on-7 session, breaking up deep passes to Dallas Goedert and A.J. Brown. Brown had a strong back-shoulder catch against Jobe a few plays later, as one of the game's best receivers showcased to Jobe how hard it is to defend him. Even at 32, Slay more than holds his own against the dynamic pass-catchers in the Eagles' offense.
Linebacker depth chart
- Nakobe Dean and Nicholas Morrow are the starters at linebacker. Morrow revealed after practice Dean has the green dot, so he's calling the defense. Shaun Bradley and Davion Taylor were on the second team at linebacker.
- Nolan Smith got some linebacker reps (sort of). The Eagles dropped him into coverage while rotating edge rushers in on 7-on-7s, while having him rush the passer on another play. Smith did play the "JACK" in Kirby Smart's defense at Georgia, dropping back into coverage one a few formations -- so this is nothing the rookie first-round pick can't handle.
- Christian Elliss picked off a Marcus Mariota pass intended for Tyree Jackson, a good read on a poor Mariota throw. Elliss rotated with the second team and is someone to watch in training camp.
- The Eagles signed Ty Zentner as an undrafted free agent to compete with Arryn Siposs for the punter job. One of two Eagles to wear No. 10 (rookie quarterback Tanner McKee is the other), Siposs' job is far from safe.
- In this open session, Siposs clearly had the edge on Zentner. Five punts were recorded for each player and here were the hang-time numbers:
- Why is the punter battle noticeable? Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni was watching each of the punts and observing both players. It's June 1, but Siposs has the edge over his rookie counterpart.
Running back depth chart
- The Eagles have two new running backs set to have a significant role in the offense in Rashaad Penny and D'Andre Swift. So who was the player who got the first-team reps in 7-on-7? None of them.
- Philadelphia had the veterans who have been with the team the longest take those snaps first, so Boston Scott was getting the first-team reps with Kenneth Gainwell and Trey Sermon following. Don't look too much into it, as Penny and Swift are both expected to be major players in the running game come September.
Who wasn't here?
- Keep in mind this is a voluntary minicamp, so players don't have to be here. DeVonta Smith, Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, Lane Johnson, Josh Sweat and Haason Reddick were the starters absent from practice. Cox was shown working out with the team Tuesday and Smith has been in the facility throughout the offseason.
- Avonte Maddox was there, but he was off to the side. Derek Barnett was absent as well.
- With Johnson absent, Jack Driscoll was the starting right tackle. Cam Jurgens started at right guard.
Jalen Hurts update
- Hurts certainly bulked up his upper body this offseason, particularly around the shoulders (he had a sprained AC joint last year). Having a stronger upper body will be vital for Hurts to stay healthy through the grind of a 17-game season and deep playoff run.
- Watched Hurts monitor the second team when the first team was getting a rest and the quarterback has an eye on everything. Hurts was watching the coverage and the receivers break point, getting the feel for guys he will be throwing the ball to this fall. The quarterback doesn't miss an opportunity to study, even when he's taking a knee.