One of the more interesting positions battles on the Eagles' roster is the one taking place at cornerback. Byron Maxwell is an obvious starter on one side, but who will be lining up on the other side of the defense?
There is still plenty of time for things to change, but there's already an early favorite: Nolan Carroll. The 28-year-old veteran has reportedly been taking most, if not all, of the first team cornerback reps this offseason. This much was confirmed when media were permitted to watch Eagles practice on Thursday.
This isn't the only sign pointing in Carroll's favor. Chip Kelly singled out Carroll during his press conference on Thursday. The head coach's praise was relatively unprompted:
"Nolan Carroll has done an unbelievable job in the offseason," Kelly said. "He's a guy that stands out in terms of what he's done in the weight room and some of those other things."
It also seems meaningful that starting safety and defensive leader Malcolm Jenkins singled out Carroll's efforts. Jenkins said he thinks Carroll really improved this offseason.
Carroll was somewhat of an under-the-radar signing by Philadelphia last offseason. He had played in 58 games and made 26 starts with the Miami Dolphins before joining the Eagles. Carroll stood out in training camp and earned a role as the team's dime linebacker but never really played on the outside until Bradley Fletcher was injured and benched late in the season.
While Kelly did say he sees this position battle lasting throughout the summer, he didn't rule out the possibility of a player stepping up and seizing the job now. Carroll could hold on to the starting job if he finds a way to impress like he did last summer.