Eagles Training Camp Notebook: Individual drills in the morning, Shepherd’s warning

NFL 2017: Eagles Rookie Mini Camp MAY 12
May 12, 2017: Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Shelton Gibson (80), tight end Romond Deloatch (83) and tight end Billy Brown (85) look on as the team runs drills during Rookie Mini Camp at the NovaCare Complex in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Christopher Szagola/CSM (Cal Sport Media via AP Images)

The second day of Eagles Training Camp has already been and gone. With just one more practice until the rest of the team arrive, opportunities for rookies and those lower on the depth chart to shine are even more valuable. Who was able to make the most of that chance today? Let’s take a look:


Hollins heats up:
The talk of both spring and summer so far has been how one of the Eagles drafted wideouts has taken to practice like a duck to water at the NFL level. Hollins continued his upward trend today with yet another impressive touchdown reception, and a work ethic that saw him on the field before any of the other wideouts.

The chemistry he’s building with Carson Wentz can only be described as impressive, and it looks as if the Eagles finally have a big-body option worth trusting in the way of Mack Hollins. It will be interesting to see where he fits into the rotation on Thursday, once the rest of the team’s wideouts including Matthews, Smith, Agholor, and Jeffery arrive on the scene.


Clement finds a one-up on his competition:
I have been a big advocate of Corey Clement ever since he signed with the Eagles. With the Birds seemingly wanting a mix of physical downhill runners, and versatile pass-catching backs, it has potentially left Wendell Smallwood in the cold. Especially as it now looks like that Clement has an ace up his sleeve.

Not only is the former Badger a dominant downhill runner, but he can juke, fake, and catch passes just as effectively. If this continues, it could mean big things for Clement, and a worrying summer for Wendell Smallwood.


Watford’s watching:
Greg Ward Jr isn’t the only former QB turned wide receiver, and he isn’t the only one turning heads either. David Watford, who has been on the team’s practice squad for quite some time, was able to make a big play today on a corner route.

The two are likely in direct competition, meaning the battle of former signal-callers has likely already begun. Can the big-bodied Watford keep in the eye of Mike Groh? He will need a big showing again tomorrow if he is to gain the upper hand when it comes to splitting reps on Thursday.


Cornerback competition is spicing up
The Eagles have a well documented cornerback competition, but until the likes of Jalen Mills and Patrick Robinson arrive, the undrafted rookies and guys lower on the depth chart have their chance to catch the eye of Cory Undlin. Today, it was Iowa State’s Jomal Wiltz who did just that, jumping a slant from Mack Hollins and helping Joe Walker to come down with a pick.

Meanwhile, Ron Brooks, who was starting opposite Rasul Douglas today, is showing that he’s 100% ready to fight for the starting nickel spot by making plays against one receiver who’s not to be overlooked, Marcus Johnson.

Finally, Grey Cup winner Mitchell White should have came down with an interception today, breaking up a pass intended for Mack Hollins. While ball-skills have never been a specialty for White, press coverage and playing aggressively certainly is. Something that was on show today.

The pieces are falling into place for an incredibly intense training camp fight between the Eagles defensive backs, and with one more day before the vets arrive, it’s time for the underdogs to shine once again.


The dark horse:
The one name who has constantly echoed around the NovaCare Complex during the offseason, is Marcus Johnson. The former Texas Longhorn continues his impressive offseason by making more big plays when it matters.

Johnson is one of the dark horses to make the roster, but he isn’t alone…


Ward continues his strong start:
…Greg Ward Jr has had his second consecutive day of impressing coaches and media alike, following on from an impressive spring.

Ward has been one of the big winners from the offseason so far, keep an eye out for the former Houston quarterback to be moving up the depth chart when the vets arrive on Thursday.


Shepherd’s warning induces a red sky:
Shepherd’s Billy Brown was noted as one of the big standouts yesterday, and today that trend continued…only this time he was joined by Tre Sullivan. A Safety and former teammate of Brown, it’s becoming clear why the Eagles were paying attention to the university.

The duo are both dark horses to make the final roster and to unseat anyone at their current position, but it’s becoming abundantly clear that neither should be written off.


Sidney Jones is spending his time on the sideline wisely:
The Eagles second round pick may be sidelined with an injury, but as opposed to spending his time on social media or unwisely, the cornerback is actively on the sideline, mirroring what the rest of his cornerback comrades are doing on the field.

It’s amazing to see that kind of work ethic from Jones, especially considering he’s physically limited. His head seems to be in the right place, and despite this being a small act to many, it will carry a lot of weight in the months to come.


After a strong offseason one year ago, Joe Walker is back with a vision to avenge the rookie year that never was. Setting the tone early on, Walker is making his case to be the third or fourth linebacker on the team’s depth chart come September.

With an interception and the coverage traits that made him so explosive as an Oregon Duck, it’s clear to see that Walker has not lost a step during his year away from the field.


Douglas flashes:
One of the big standouts from the offseason so far has been third-round draft choice, Rasul Douglas. The Eagles cornerback is likely competing for a starting role, but it hasn’t stopped him from flourishing on both special teams, and as a leader.

It’s been a long time since the Eagles have felt that kind of presence at cornerback, and even though, like Jones, the details are minute, it’s extremely encouraging.


Scramble time!
One of the big focuses this offseason for Carson Wentz especially has been mechanics. While I broke down just how far Wentz came in his rookie year as a dual-threat quarterback, adding that level of mobility and some designed quarterback rushing plays to the offense will be huge for the Eagles. Needless to say, footwork has been an early focus for the QB’s.

This may not sound like much, but helping Wentz to improve his pocket presence and confidence scrambling when needed, will be crucial when teams have to account for a QB rush on third and long.