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Five position battles to watch in Eagles OTA practices

The Eagles begin organized team activities this week. Here's what we'll be watching.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles OTAs begin tomorrow on Tuesday, May 17. Doug Pederson will address media around 10:15 AM ET before practice begins around 11:00 AM ET. Tomorrow is the first chance we'll get to see the Pederson era Eagles in their first full practice as a team. These drills are strictly non-contact (no pads allowed) so it's not quite real football yet by any means, but it's still something. Here are some positions we'll be watching.


All eyes will be on Carson Wentz during practice. Reporters caught a glimpse of him during rookie minicamp last week, but that only lasted 15 minutes. Now we'll get to see an entire practice worth of Wentz. It'll be interesting to see how many reps he gets compared to presumed starting quarterback Sam Bradford and top backup Chase Daniel. How far off will Wentz be compared to the veterans, if at all? Will Daniel look better than anyone since he has experience with the offense from his days with the Chiefs?

The intrigue at quarterback won't just be about what happens on the field. Bradford is scheduled to speak after practice for the first time since his failed trade demand last month. He's going to face a lot of tough questions. It'll be legitimately interesting to see how his press conference turns out.

Wide Receiver

Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor are penciled in as starters. There's been talk of Matthews moving to the outside in order to get more playing time. We'll see if he's getting reps there or if he's still in the slot. Agholor has a lot to prove after a very disappointing rookie season. The pressure is on him to have a good offseason.

Who is the third receiver behind Matthews and Agholor? Is it Josh Huff? The former third round pick has flashed big play ability but he's had more downs than ups to this point in his career. Is Rueben Randle ahead of Huff on the depth chart? He's only 25 years old and he's proven to be a productive starter in the NFL. Speedy guys like Chris Givens and T.J. Graham are fighting for playing time as well.

Left Guard

The order of the lockers in the Eagles' locker room indicate that Allen Barbre is currently viewing as the starting left guard. From left to right, it goes: Jason Peters, Barbre, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, and Lane Johnson. I've mentioned quite a few times that offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland thinks highly of Barbre. Despite this, there is still expected to be a competition for the starting job. Stefen Wisniewski, Malcolm Bunche, and Andrew Gardner could potentially share first team reps with Barbre. Isaac Seumalo would also be in the mix  if he wasn't forced to stay out of OTAs until he's done with classes.


It's assumed Eric Rowe will be the starter at one cornerback position. Who starts opposite of him? Is it Leodis McKelvin? The former first round pick has proven to be capable starter in the NFL but he turns 31 in September and has dealt with some injury issues in the past. Is Nolan Carroll going to get a chance to win his starting job back after having a good offseason last year? And who starts in the slot? Who is the dime corner? The Eagles have a total of 10 or so cornerbacks depending on how you count certain players. There are a lot of bodies fighting for a few spots.

Defensive End

Connor Barwin, Vinny Curry, Brandon Graham are all going to get playing time. But who will play most often? Graham and Barwin were the starters in past years and Curry was only a role-player. Is that still the case? Does Barwin really fit in as a 4-3 defensive end after being seen as a prototypical 3-4 outside linebacker over the past few years? Can Alex McCalister impress as a rookie and earn playing time as a pass rush specialist? How will all these players fare in Jim Schwartz's wide nine defense?

Other things to watch

• Chip Kelly is gone. That means his practice (sorry, "training" as Chip would say) methods are probably gone, too. There might not be loud music for the majority of practice. The pace of practice might slow down quite a bit. There might be different practice drills. It could be like the Andy Reid days all over again.

• The debut of defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz in Eagles practice. What's he going to be like?

• Are there any players with injury issues as the team enters OTAs? We'll be checking up on the guys who are coming off injuries such as Jordan Hicks, JaCorey Shepherd, Ryan Mathews, Nolan Carroll, etc.

• Special teams battles: Who will take an early lead at kicker, punter, long snapper, and returner?


Eagles Practice Schedule

OTA Offseason Workouts: May 17-19, May 24-26, May 31, June 1-3.

Mandatory Minicamp: June 7-9.

BGN Coverage: The following practices are open to the media: May 17, May 24, May 31, June 3, and June 7-9. I'll be at all of those practices. Follow me for live updates: @BrandonGowton.

Eagles Roster

Offense | Defense | Special teams | 53-man prediction | Projected starting lineup

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