5 Eagles underdogs who could steal starting jobs this Summer

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PHILADELPHIA, PA – JULY 30: Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Milton Williams (93) during Philadelphia Eagles training camp on July 30, 2021 at Novacare Complex in Philadelphia, PA (Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire)

The Philadelphia Eagles will descend upon the NovaCare Complex on July 25 for the first day of training camp. The defending NFC champions are devoid of controversy with Jalen Hurts firmly entrenched as the starting quarterback.

This year, he has the $255 million contract to prove it. Hurts is one of the NFL’s fastest-rising stars. He set the foundation. He threw up the ladder. And now everyone has to follow him up to the next rung.

“It’s a day-by-day thing, and I think everybody is taking that approach and we’re excited to just kind of continue that progression,” Hurts told reporters on June 8. “The main thing is to come in conditioned, prepared, and crisp so we can get things rolling.”

5 Sleepers Looking to Steal Starting Jobs at Eagles Training Camp

LB Christian Elliss

The undrafted kid out of Idaho was the surprise darling of OTAs where he consistently made plays at weakside linebacker. Elliss, a special-teams ace in 2022, got some first-team reps and showed starter potential. He intercepted Jalen Hurts for a pick-six, then broke up another pass in coverage. At 6-foot-3, 231 pounds, he is significantly bulkier than Nicholas Morrow (6-foot, 216 pounds). And a lot hungrier. Elliss appears to have a real shot at unseating him.

S Sydney Brown

The Eagles invested a third-round pick (66th overall) in the thumper from Illinois, so they clearly see a bright future for him. Brown is a sideline-to-sideline safety who flew all over the field at OTAs. He’s physical. He’s fast. He’s a ballhawk. And he’s the hardest worker in the room. Brown will have every opportunity to steal the starting spot away from veteran newcomer Terrell Edmunds. (Yes, we’re assuming Reed Blankenship is locked in at free safety).

RB Trey Sermon

Don’t laugh. Stay with me. It’s easy to look at the depth chart and hype up the battle between D’Andre Swift and Rashaad Penny for RB1. They are far and away the two most talented backs on the roster. However, it has been a tad strange to hear all the hype swirling around Sermon. The former third-round pick is going to get an extended look at camp, maybe even get a crack with the first-team offense. Remember, the former Ohio State standout ran for 331 yards in the 2020 Big Ten Championship, which is the most ever in a single game by a Buckeyes player.

HOUSTON, TX – AUGUST 25: San Francisco 49ers running back Trey Sermon (28) carries the ball in the second quarter during the NFL preseason game between the San Francisco 49ers and Houston Texans on August 25, 2022, at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire)

WR Olamide Zaccheaus

It almost seems like a foregone conclusion that Zaccheaus is going to win the starting slot job over Quez Watkins. He’s coming off a career year in Atlanta: 40 catches for 533 yards, 3 touchdowns. The Philly native is only marginally slower than Watkins (0.14 seconds) and boasts stickier hands. He’ll have to earn Jalen Hurts’ trust to win the starting job, but it’s there for the taking.

DT Milton Williams

The Eagles are stacked along the defensive line, so guys are going to rotate in like bullets on Rambo’s M60. It doesn’t really matter who technically starts the game. But, for argument’s sake, let’s put it out there that Williams could beat out Fletcher Cox. The third-year tackle is a much better run stopper, plus he’s a freak athlete who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.63 seconds and the three-cone drill in 6.96 seconds. Williams is in for a big year.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) reacts following an NFL football game against the New York Giants, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, in Philadelphia. The Eagles won 22-16. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire