As any longtime reader of BGN knows, every year we hand out the prestigious Na Brown award to the new (or previously irrelevant) player who came into camp as a relative unknown, but managed to exceed his expectations significantly thanks to an impressive training camp. It is named after former Eagles wide receiver Na Brown who had legendary camps, but never really did anything in the regular season.
Past winners of the award include: Lorenzo Booker, Hank Baskett, Riley Cooper (twice) and Damaris Johnson. Last offseason, there was no one clear winner of the award due to a relatively average camp from most of the young talent on the roster. This offseason expectations have been raised for the team but there seems to be little chance of a "diamond in the rough" making an impact during their first training camp/preseason.
That said, below are eight players that could be in the running for the award if they continue to make strides in practice and in game action.
Quron Pratt, WR, Rookie
The rookie out of Rutgers has had his name tweeted quite a few times by beat writers over the last week or so. It seems that he has made ground by going from a long shot to a possible practice squad player or even a sixth wide receiver on the active roster. While you may not know much about the undrafted free agent, he did produce 31 catches for 493 yards and a touchdown as a senior. The 6-foot, 195 pound receiver gained 1,061 yards on 86 receptions during his career at Rutgers and he also had a kick return for a score on his resume. He was the 2013 Rutgers Most Valuable Player.
Travis Long, OLB, 2nd season
The darkhorse of the entire roster is Long. The coaching staff reportedly loves him and he was a talented player in college before an injury derailed the end of that career and the start of his professional one. Long is now fully recovered and has had a year in the defense as a practice squad player. He is competing against Josh Kaddu, Casey Matthews and others for that extra linebacker spot. A solid performance in training camp could force the team to finally trade Brandon Graham.
Joe Kruger, DE, 2nd Season
Kruger's nickname should be the "The Great Unknown." A seventh round pick last season, he spent the whole year on injured reserve. Kruger showed flashes at different positions at Utah but he really doesn't have a natural fit. However, if he can find a way to get to the passer, he'll definitely stick to the roster.
Taylor Hart, DE, Rookie
The fifth round pick out of Oregon is a Chip Kelly guy, who is likely to play a reserve role this season on defense. He is more than likely to make the team, probably more than anyone else on this list. Hart seems to be a smart player with size, which could be an attribute that really get expressed in the preseason. He has the opportunity to earn early snaps with a quality performance.
Davon Morgan, S, 2nd Season
Morgan is a former IFL defensive back who impressed coaches during a rookie minicamp workout. He has a Phillip Hunt-like quality about him but on a much lesser scale. If he can perform similarly to how his college teammate Eddie Whitley did last offseason, he may have a shot as a special teams player.
Daytawion Lowe, S, Rookie
The guy no one talks about in the battle for the fifth safety spot is a rookie who played a ton in college. Lowe was signed by the Eagles after the draft and he had a productive career at Oklahoma State. He recently had an interception in practice and could be helped due to Keelan Johnson missing part of training camp and Ed Reynolds missing out on most of minicamps and OTAs.
Ifeanyi Momah, WR, 2nd Season
Momah is the guy everyone gets excited about because of his size. By all accounts, he has greatly improved this offseason and looks to be pushing for a practice squad spot at the very least. He has improved his hands and ability to play to his size and may be a darkhorse for the sixth wide receiver spot. Can he show he belongs on special teams? This will be a huge preseason for the lanky pass catcher.
Emmanuel Acho, ILB, 3rd Season
You may not think that Acho deserves to contend this season as he nearly (and probably should have) won the award last year. Still, Acho has done very little in the NFL other than get his AchoManiacs pumped up for his play. He has some good showings so far this offseason and has still has practice squad eligibility. He is the only player on this list to have played in a regular season game for the Eagles, as he appeared in six contests and collected two tackles.