Wentz stuns while CB competition beckons: Ten takeaways from day one of Eagles OTA’s

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OTA’s are finally here and it was all guns blazing down at the NovaCare Complex. Here’s everything you need to know from the opening day of OTA action.

 

The gang’s all here:
Only two Eagles were absent from the first day of OTA’s, Darren Sproles and Michael Bennett. Carson Wentz, Jordan Hicks and everybody else seemed to be present which for a voluntary workout is a very promising sign that the reigning Super Bowl champions are doing anything but becoming complacent. We’re one step closer to Eagles Football and the team know that.

 

Is Carson Wentz actually a wizard?

The short answer is yes. Wentz is coming off of an ACL tear and has not yet been medically cleared to practice. This hasn’t stopped the prideful and hungry young quarterback from moving around and throwing passes in drills as if he was perfectly healthy. I don’t think there’s much that can keep Wentz down for long and this is an extremely encouraging sign.

 

Cornerbacks come out to play:

I’ll have a much deeper article on this dropping tomorrow, but OTA’s are absolutely critical for the Eagles secondary. The unit could face a complete reshaping following the departure of Patrick Robinson and when factoring in a healthy Sidney Jones, things become very interesting. On day one, Jones was used in the nickel and it’s safe to say that he did more than just turn heads.

The Washington product and former second round pick wasn’t just picking off passes, but going step-for-step with Nelson Agholor, one of the crispest route runners on the team. There’s no such thing as a corner who can be exempt from playing inside and it may even benefit Jones to get as many reps there as possible during the offseason as it will give the Birds’ some much needed optionality.

Another name to watch out for will be De’Vante Bausby, who spent last year on the practice squad and attacked the first day of OTA’s by making big plays. A potential threat to shake up the bottom end of the depth chart, Bausby will likely be drawing eyes all offseason long.

 

Worrilow exits early with worrisome injury:
Veteran linebacker Paul Worrilow clashed knees with fellow linebacker Corey Nelson when trying to break up a pass to Pumphrey. After a shocking silence, Worrilow was carted off and we’re still waiting for an update on the severity of the injury. Just because the pads are off, it doesn’t mean players are exempt from contact or any less susceptible to injury. If the injury is severe, this could be a huge dent in a linebacker corps already running thin on depth.

Talking of which, Corey Nelson also seemed to be getting first-team reps at WILL, which could be an encouraging sign. Although the absence of Mychal Kendricks could spark a little concern.

 

Learning from the best:
Jordan Mailata’s rookie minicamp went as expected. Regarded as a huge transitional period, the Eagles coaching staff were hard on the NRL star as he tries to pick up as much of the game and positional knowledge as possible. That didn’t change today but what did however, was the arrival of future Hall of Famer, Jason Peters.

Tough love is the best kind and Mailata is not only being coached intensely from one of the best offensive line coaches in the game, but he’s now being mentored in downtime by one of the best to ever play the left tackle position. If there’s ever a dream support network to groom an offensive lineman, it’s this one.

 

Shepherd’s warning:
Billy Brown was very much the darling of last offseason and his 51 receiving yards during the preseason didn’t go unnoticed. Although the tight end picture may have changed drastically since then, it hasn’t stopped Brown from picking up exactly where he left off.

Aided by the fact Richard Rodgers wasn’t looking brilliant in the same area, there could be much more competition at the tight end position than perhaps we first expected.

 

 

Don’t sweat it:
Josh Sweat has already been unanimously crowned as one of the sleepers in this year’s draft and he’s wasting no time in making his presence felt. Without pads, there’s only so much we can take away from these kind of situations, but there seems to be a lot of promise nonetheless.

Sweat will be battling hard for a spot in the Jim Schwartz DE rotation and he appears to already be showing the desired effort and explosiveness to at least throw his hat into the equation.

 

Rise of the underdogs:
Talking of sleepers, two names from last year who are in need of a big offseason are Donnel Pumphrey and Shelton Gibson. Two mid-round selections by the Eagles who struggled with consistency during Training camp and preseason play, the duo spent their rookie year on the sidelines for different reasons. But with both positions now heavily stacked, it’s now or never when it comes to making an impact.

The good news is that they’ve started a long and undulating campaign on the right foot. A lot can change between now and September, but both Pumphrey and Gibson have sent the right message as they try to cast their demons from a pressured rookie training camp aside.

 

A needed change?
The Eagles haven’t really seen the best of Isaac Seumalo yet, which is a little worrying given that the former third-round pick is now entering his third season. The question is, will he stay competing at interior guard or instead move inside as some had already predicted last year?

The Eagles at least seem intrigued by the idea and the former Oregon lineman does have the skillset to at least back up Jason Kelce if needed. Seumalo has experience playing the position and if Matt Pryor will now compete with Warmack for the backup role behind Wisniewski or Brooks, Seumalo’s best interests would be to secure the backup role behind Jason Kelce.

 

The quarterback battle heats up:
It’s a long and winding road, but Joe Callahan hit the ground running today. While Carson Wentz stole spotlights and hearts everywhere, it was the former Green Bay Packer who wanted to make sure he started to build chemistry with his new team, something Sudfeld will already have in abundance.

Callahan will have an interesting few months ahead and it will be exciting to see exactly how the QB3 battle pans out, but we can expect the former undrafted free agent to be right in the thick of the action.

 

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

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