Eagles Minicamp Notes: Devin White clears the air, new playmakers are ready to roll

TAMPA, FL – DECEMBER 05: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Linebacker Devin White (45) looks into the offensive backfield during the regular season game between the New Orleans Saints and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on December 05, 2022 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire)

The Eagles newest addition to the linebacker group, Devin White, was ushered out of Tampa Bay last year in what can be loosely labeled a publicity stunt. The veteran linebacker wanted a contract extension, then mysteriously saw his snaps scaled back.

White was a non-factor in two playoff games (40 total snaps), with Buccaneersi coach Todd Bowles later saying that the one-time starter needed a “change of scenery.” Well, White has swapped those Florida palm trees for the concrete jungle of South Philly. It’s a prove-it deal for one year, worth up to $7.5 million if certain escalators are reached.

Call it a fresh start for the former No. 5 overall pick from the 2019 draft.

“I don’t know if I needed a change of scenery but I feel like it was definitely good,” White told reporters on June 5. “A breath of fresh air, to be able to start over, and work my way from the ground up. There ain’t nothing like life-humbling experiences and I feel like what I went through at the end of last year was very humbling for me, and it just put me back to the root of everything where I want to build myself back up. And I know I can do it. I did it coming out of high school. I did it coming out of college. I did it when I first got in the NFL and it’s time to do it again.”

White, reportedly benched for “attitude issues” in Tampa, admitted he didn’t handle things the best way in 2023. “I handled it more like a lawyer than a football player,” White said, referring to his contract issue. “It’s not on my mind at all [this year].”

Mekhi Becton Finally ‘Having Fun’ Again with the Eagles

New York Jets’ Mekhi Becton, left, talks with Connor McGovern during a practice at the NFL football team’s training facility in Florham Park, N.J., Thursday, July 20, 2023. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

It’s been a roller coaster for Mekhi Becton since getting picked No. 11 overall by the New York Jets in 2020. Multiple knee injuries cost him the starting left tackle job there. Four years later, Becton is fighting to make the Eagles’ roster as a primary backup on one of the best offensive lines in football.

“I feel happier for sure,” Becton said, contrasting his New York days to Philly. “I’m happier here. It’s like a big family here.”

Becton, who just turned 25 years old in April, is making the hard transition from tackle to guard under the expert tutelage of Jeff Stoutland. The move has injected new life into his 6-foot-7, 363-pound frame.

“Different adjustment for me. I’ve never played it [guard] before but it’s fun,” Becton said. “The action is more tight in there … tackle, they [edge rushers] get their chance to build up their speed but guard, it’s all hand work and you gotta be ready to fight in there.”

Cooper DeJean, Quinyon Mitchell Ready to Contribute

FILE – Iowa defensive back Cooper DeJean (3) returns an interception for a touchdown against Rutgers quarterback Evan Simon (3) during the first half of an NCAA football game, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in Piscataway, N.J. Coopr DeJean was named to The Associated Press preseason All-America team, Monday, Aug. 21, 2023.(AP Photo/Noah K. Murray, File)

Eagles’ fans might be expecting a lot out of rookies Cooper DeJean and Quinyon Mitchell. The franchise needs to get young at cornerback — in a hurry, with Darius Slay and James Bradberry starting to show signs of age — and invested two premium picks on the position in April’s draft.

While the Eagles tend to take it slow with most rookies, DeJean and Mitchell saw a lot of snaps at minicamp. Both guys are sitting back and learning from the Eagles’ veterans ahead of them on the depth chart, while making the most of every rep they get on the practice field.

“I think learning and asking questions to the guys who have been here, like Avonte [Maddox], he’s been a huge help for me to read,” DeJean said. “[Darius] Slay, um, just asking questions if I don’t understand things. So, they’re helping me make it less overwhelming, with taking all the different roles where I’m at.”

New Eagles defensive backs coach Christian Parker has been mixing DeJean at outside corner and nickel corner this summer. Meanwhile, Mitchell has been seeing looks as the Eagles’ dime linebacker.

“I’m pretty versatile to be able to play inside or outside,” DeJean said. “Wherever they need me. Right now I’m just trying to learn this defense. Learn as much as possible.”

“Just covering and stuff like that,” Mitchell said of playing linebacker. “Whatever they need me to do, I’m going to do it.” Oh, and one more thing. When asked what would make for a successful first year with the Eagles, Mitchell said: “Winning that Super Bowl.”

Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire