Cross-training linemen & competitive corners: Takeaways from’ Tuesday’s Eagles OTA practice

Doug Pederson, Carson Wentz
Philadelphia Eagles’ Doug Pederson, left, and Carson Wentz talk during organized team activities at the NFL football team’s practice facility, Tuesday, May 21, 2019, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Cross-training

With Peters and Johnson absent, it paved the way for some intriguing opportunities for the Eagles offensive line depth. Pederson spoke about the idea of cross-training some of his players at rookie minicamp and we saw our first example of how that may look today.

It’s interesting to see Halapoulivaati Vaitai getting experience at right guard, but it makes sense. Also in his final contracted year, Vaitai has just seen Andre Dillard storm onto the scene and if there’s a better chance of survival working inside, then he may find an easier path to a long-term future as a backup guard, or at least show he can fill the void if needed.

Mailata played on the left hand side during preseason last year and Dillard was a left tackle coming out of college. Again, it’s worth noting how Pederson is already moving both players around.

Another name to keep an eye out for over the next few weeks will be TCU’s Matt Pryor. A fifth-round selection one year ago, Pryor is a sizable prospect who has experience at every spot on the offensive line, but will likely see plenty of right guard action this offseason.

Oh, and Stefen Wisniewski was REALLY happy to be back in Philadelphia after re-signing recently.

Brace for impact

Carson Wentz has been cleared as a full participant for OTA’s and to the joy of just about everyone, he was going through drills today without a knee brace on, now over a year removed from that heartbreaking ACL Tear in week 14 of 2017.

Wentz looks fluid and more importantly, comfortable. The Eagles quarterback didn’t look anywhere near as comfortable in 2018 and that may well have played a role in the injury he suffered later on that year.

It’s really encouraging to see Wentz move around so freely and with an entire offseason to gel with his new offensive teammates and Mike Groh, who was working with Nick Foles as QB1 one year ago, this may be his most important offseason yet.

#GoedErtz

My favorite hashtag of 2018 returns with a bang, with Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz both turning heads during the first practice. While we’ve come to expect that from Zach Ertz, it’s nice to see Goedert, who was targeted 7 times in the red zone last year, catching five passes, with three of them being touchdowns, showing even more signs of developing into an elite receiving tight end.

Goedert ended his rookie year as a real dominant weapon in the red zone and we can expect much of the same in his sophomore season.

Putting the cartridge in the slot

Yes, this is an Arcega-Whiteside pun. The Eagles showed a real affinity to ‘big slot’ receivers during the pre-draft process, but surprised many with the selection of 50/50 specialist, JJ Arcega-Whiteside out of Stanford. There are so many reasons to be excited, but the idea of moving JJAW in the slot is an interesting one.

This could well be something we see in 2019. Alshon at WR1, DJax at WR2, and Sega in the slot, with Goedert/Ertz at tight end. That’s filthy. Just, filthy. Expect to see Arcega-Whiteside move around the line of scrimmage frequently in his rookie season, with Pederson looking to exploit matchups across the board.

The return

I recently published a film room video/article on how Boston Scott could be a dark horse to make this roster and he’s kicked off OTA’s by neighing in agreement. Probably.

Scott getting the early shoo-in at a return spot is truly exciting. Read the above article/watch the above video to find out why. The former LA Tech receiver is built like Darren Sproles and is explosive in many of the same ways. An offseason name to watch, Scott was poached from the Saints practice squad last year and made an impact almost instantly as a returner against the Texans. Was this a sign of things to come?

Mandatory Photo Credit: AP Photo/Matt Slocum

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