Sudfeld steps up & Darby returns: Takeaways from Wednesday’s Eagles OTA

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The Eagles rounded out their OTA program with a sunny practice down at the NovaCare Complex on Wednesday. Here’s all you need to know!

Absentees

As expected, Malcolm Jenkins was a no-show today, as was Alshon Jeffery. DeSean Jackson and Nelson Agholor were on ‘rest days’ and both book end tackles (Johnson and Peters0 were absent too.

On the injury front, the big name back was Ronald Darby, who returned in a limited capacity. He was joined by Mack Hollins, Corey Clement, and Josh Adams in a group rehabbing away from the action.

Second-round pick Miles Sanders was still absent, as was Brandon Brooks, Fletcher Cox, Jalen Mills, Derek Barnett, and Nigel Bradham.

Sidney Jones

In what is now a crucial offseason for Jones, the Washington product is wasting no time in making his intentions felt.

Jones has been a consistent standout during OTA’s and with both Mills and Darby absent for most of it, it’s just as well. Jones should resume his role as the team’s starting nickel corner, but there’s pressure from all angles, including Avonte Maddox. Jones is making the most of OTA’s, which can only be seen as a positive.

Red zone hype

The idea of the Eagles red zone offense is truly terrifying, and with TE Dallas Goedert and rookie receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside continuing to shine, the excitement is only growing.

Both players have been making snag after snag throughout the month of may, leaping, climbing, clutching their way into the headlines and earning praise from Doug Pederson and Mike Groh in the process. It will be interesting to see how both players progress through minicamp and into training camp.

Smallwood’s hope

He may have dropped a pass earlier in practice, but Wendell Smallwood has one ace up his sleeve that several other running backs don’t in that he’s grown extensively in pass-protection since entering the league.

This may be his lone calling card in an offseason of intense competition. Smallwood has developed year-on-year, but has it really been enough? The simple answer is no, with every main skill he brings to the table being amplified as a strength by those around him.

The RB4 battle is going to be a truly exciting one that spans the entire offseason. Miles Sanders is almost automatically a lock as a second round pick, while Corey Clement, Josh Adams, and Boston Scott will all be competing for roster spots, with the latter finding a very nice niche early on…

Boston Scott hive

You’ve seen the film room, you’ve read the primers, and now, the Boston Scott Hive rises. The former LA Tech running back has predictably filtered into a stern role early on, acting as the team’s primary punt returner.

Scott returned punts against the Texans last year as an Eagle after being poached from the Saints practice squad, much to the dismay of their fans. How high is his ceiling? We may only just be beginning to scratch the surface.

Sudfeld shines

On a day where Clayton Thorson was inconsistent and the arm strength of Cody Kessler received some analysis, it was the Eagles current QB2 who stepped up to the plate.

It goes without saying just how important this is for Sudfeld, who has a former third-round pick breathing down his neck, looking to capitalize on any mistake. So far, Sudfeld has made very few, and his attitude is impressive at this stage.

Darby returns

OTA’s ended on a high for Ronald Darby, who returned to practice in a limited capacity. He told reporters after practice that he hopes to be ready for training camp and beyond.

This is encouraging no matter how you look at it. Darby signed a one-year prove it deal in Philadelphia and will likely be the team’s CB1 moving forward for this season at least. Getting as much time on the field as possible, is pivotal, after missing so much time due to injury.

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

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