Eagles OTA Takeaways: Defense wins the day & new linebacker prospect emerges

Eagles devonta smith
PHILADELPHIA, PA – OCTOBER 03: Philadelphia Eagles Wide Receiver Devonta Smith (6) sets up for a play in the first half during the game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles on October 03, 2021 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

Voluntary workouts are now over from the Novacare Complex and the Philadelphia Eagles won’t be back on the practice field again until the start of training camp.

While overreactions should not be happening during this portion of offseason workouts, there is plenty to be excited about from the Eagles’ final practice on Thursday afternoon.

And one roster-bubble player seemingly has stood out from above the rest.

Christian Elliss dominates

Who had Christian Elliss being the OTA winner following the 2023 NFL Draft?

Elliss was an undrafted free agent with the Vikings, Eagles, and 49ers before coming back to Philadelphia last season. In a role that predominately found him on special teams, Elliss was considered a long shot to make the roster following the emergence of Nakobe Dean to a starting role this offseason.

Instead, Elliss has stood out throughout OTAs and especially on the final day. He had a pass breakup during the first period of seven-on-sevens and even picked off Jalen Hurts at a later drill. The 24-year-old linebacker has done a lot of great things so far this camp and could be seen as a dark horse candidate to make the roster in two months.

Smitty loads up for third year

DeVonta Smith has been the most consistent wideout the Philadelphia Eagles have had at the position in decades. The former Heisman Trophy winner has totaled over 150 catches and 2,000 yards in his first two seasons and has been one of the best draft selections the Eagles have made in a long time.

It appears the best is yet to come for him entering his third season as well.

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) is tackled by New York Giants safety Tony Jefferson (36) after making ac a catch during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

While James Bradberry and Darius Slay did not participate in practice Thursday, Smith continued to torch anyone guarding him. He caught a touchdown from Hurts on a double move and was open throughout the entire practice.

Philadelphia knows what they have at receiver this season but if Smith continues to develop like he has, it could be another scary year for the Eagles offense.

Terrell Edmunds is helping people forget CJGJ

Hey, remember when people panicked that the Eagles didn’t have a reasonable plan once Chauncey Gardner-Johnson left for Detroit in free agency? That seems to have gone by the wayside after OTAs.

Both Reed Blankenship and Terrell Edmunds have both stood out throughout practices with their play in pass coverage and their overall physicality. On Thursday though, Edmunds was the big winner with multiple pass breakups and continuously flying around the football.

CHARLOTTE, NC – DECEMBER 18: Pittsburgh Steelers strong safety Terrell Edmunds (34) during an NFL football game between the Pittsburg Steelers and the Carolina Panthers on December 18, 2022 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. (Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire)

With a name like Budda Baker still hovering around the city as a potential acquisition during camp, it’s good to at least know that the Eagles should feel confident in their current group of safeties.

No injuries following practice

It’s the most important thing to report after each voluntary workout and will be extremely important this season. The Eagles remain healthy after OTAs and should be heading into training camp with their entire team ready to go for the start of meaningful practices.

Nick Sirianni continues to help his players stay healthy during the offseason and the last few weeks are prime examples of that.

Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire