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Eagles OTA Preview: What to watch for at every position

The Eagles continue practice this week with the third phase of the offseason program. Here's what to expect.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles OTAs began on Tuesday, but the practices haven't been open to media access yet so there hasn't really been any news coming out. That all changes tomorrow on Thursday, May 28. Chip Kelly will address media around noon before the team's actual practice begins shortly after.

Tomorrow marks the first time we'll get a look at the Eagles on the field following the team's crazy offseason. These drills are strictly non-contact (no pads allowed) so it's not quite real football by any means, but it's still something.

There are a ton of storylines to follow. Here's everything you need to know, including a position-by-position guide of what to watch for this week.

Eagles Practice Schedule

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 26-28, June 1-2, June 4, June 8-11.

Mandatory Minicamp: June 16-18.

BGN Coverage: The following practices are open to the media: May 28, June 1, June 8, June 9, and June 16-18. I'll be there every day. Follow me for live updates from practice: @BrandonGowton.

What to watch for

[Click here for projected starters]



It's unclear to what extent Sam Bradford will be able to participate. Will he be doing team drills? Individual drills? Anything?

If Bradford isn't ready, Mark Sanchez will run with the starters. He looked terrible last spring, but improved over the summer. He should look better this time around, but will that be the case?

TIM TEBOW! Still hard to believe this is real sometimes, right? I guess we'll see if he's made any progress with his throwing motion? Like Sanchez last year, he might need some time to get used to the system.

Running Back

Running plays are boring in practices like this since there's no contact. It'll be somewhat interesting to see how the team divides the first team reps between DeMarco Murray, Ryan Matthews, and Darren Sproles.

Tight End

It's expected Brent Celek will take most of the first team snaps, but will Zach Ertz rotate in on a heavy basis? Trey Burton figures in as the third tight end but the team kept four last year so the group of undrafted rookie free agents could be battling for a final spot. Can Eric Tomlinson, Andrew Gleichert, and/or, Justin Tukes stand out early?

Wide Receiver

Nelson Agholor likely won't be attending practice on Thursday because he'll be at the 2015 NFLPA Rookie Premier event out west. Jordan Matthews missed the first day of practice last offseason for the same reason. It'll be interesting to see how Agholor lines up when he gets back.

What will the first unit look like? Will Jordan Matthews be on the outside or still in the slot? Will Chip Kelly favor veterans Miles Austin and Riley Cooper early on? Where does Josh Huff fit in? Will undrafted rookies like Devante Davis, John Harris, and Rasheed Bailey be able to make an impression?

Offensive Line

Evan Mathis won't be at practice, so who starts in his place? I'm thinking Matt Tobin, but maybe it's Andrew Gardner. Or will Allen Barbre play at left guard instead of filling in for Todd Herremans on the right side? It'll be hard to get a good read on how the offensive line "performs" without contact, but it'll be interesting to see what the lineups look like. Depth is a concern.


Defensive End

Not too much going on here. Taylor Hart reportedly added weight this offseason. He needs to have a good spring/summer after not playing at all as a rookie.

Nose Tackle

Not a lot going on here either. Bennie Logan is entering Year 3 while Beau Allen is entering Year 2.

Outside Linebacker

Brandon Graham seemingly lost some weight. Will he look a little bit better in coverage? How does 2014 first round pick Marcus Smith look after adding muscle this offseason? Will he rotate in with the first team? How will Travis Long fit in anywhere after recovering from an ACL surgery?

Inside Linebacker

One of the most interesting positions to watch due to the logjam here. Which two of the following three players will run with the first team: Mychal Kendricks, Kiko Alonso, DeMeco Ryans? Will there be a heavy rotation? How will backups like Najee Goode, Brad Jones, and third round rookie Jordan Hicks mix in?


Who starts across from Byron Maxwell with the first team: Nolan Carroll, Walter Thurmond, Brandon Boykin, or Eric Rowe? Where do rookies JaCorey Shepherd and Randall Evans fit in?


Who starts next to Malcolm Jenkins? Earl Wolff might not be ready to practice. Is it Jaylen Watkins? Are special teams guys like Chris Prosinski or Chris Maragos in the mix at all? Is Jerome Couplin anything? How about 2014 fifth round pick Ed Reynolds? Does Eric Rowe get a look here at all? Someone has to step up.

Special teams


How will Cody Parkey follow up an impressive rookie season?


Can Kip Smith challenge Donnie Jones at all? Probably not.

Long Snapper

Can Jon Dorenbos use his magic powers to make Sam Bradford's injury issues disappear?

Punt Returner

Is Darren Sproles still the main guy here?

Kick Returner

Is Josh Huff going to be the main guy here?

General Questions

• Which players won't be ready to fully practice yet? Keeping an eye on Bradford, Wolff, Alonso, Ryans, Long, etc.

• The Eagles have brought in a lot of injury prone guys. Will they make it through the spring OK?

• There a bunch of new faces. Will there be issues due to a lack of chemistry?


So, as you can see, there are a lot of questions. Some will be answered sooner than others. It should be an interesting spring that sets up for an even more exciting summer.

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