The Philadelphia Eagles began their 2017 OTA practices on Tuesday. The practice session was open to media and I was there to observe it all. Disclaimer: Keep in mind that these are all non-contact drills at this point. Players aren't allowed to wear shells yet. There's only so much to be gleaned from players running around in shorts, but here's what I noticed on Tuesday.
• Attendance updates: Three veteran players did not attend practice: Fletcher Cox, Jason Peters, and Donnie Jones. Cox is reportedly expected to return next week. Lane Johnson said he expects Peters to be back by mandatory minicamp in mid-June. Jones, who turns 37 this offseason, is probably just resting his leg. Pederson didn’t mention Marcus Smith as one of the players missing from OTAs but he wasn’t spotted at practice on Tuesday. Rookies who weren't able to attend practice due to the fact they still have classes going on include: Sidney Jones (injured anyway) and Elijah Qualls.
• Injury updates: Jones is obviously hurt. Beau Allen is still recovering from the pectoral injury he suffered this offseason. I didn’t see Ron Brooks and Joe Walker participate much in practice. Both players suffered ACL injuries in 2016. Allen Barbre is still nursing a calf injury, as Pederson noted, and didn’t practice much. Jordan Matthews didn’t seem limited but apparently he’s still dealing with the ankle injury he suffered last season. Jimmy Kempski notes Tyler Orlosky suffered an MCL injury in practice today, which isn’t good.
• Depth chart update: Click here for more info about which players were running with the Eagles first team unit. The big news item is that Jalen Mills and Patrick Robinson are the starting cornerbacks (for now, at least).
• Carson Wentz update: overall, I thought it was an up and down day for Wentz. “OH GREAT the Eagles season is over!” Not quite. No need to overreact to one day of practice in May. Still, it would have been nice to see Wentz throw a little sharper. He was inaccurate on some deep passes to wide receivers in routes on air. He overthrew three targets in a row, which was an issue for him last year. Wentz then immediately bounced back with some absolute darts in team drills. He found Alshon Jeffery deep down the field for a big gain. He also threw a perfect pass to Zach Ertz along the sideline on a post route. Wentz did end the practice on a bad note; a deep ball intended for Jeffery was thrown into double coverage and easily picked off by a leaping Rodney McLeod.
• Backup quarterback updates: Nick Foles is still Nick Foles. I saw him throw a nice ball or two in individual drills but man does he still throw some wobbly ass deep passes. There was also a moment in practice where he threw a pass at Ertz’s feet while Ertz was standing, like, three yards in front of him. Womp. I didn’t notice a ton from third stringer Matt McGloin other than a nice seam pass to Anthony Denham. He fit it in a real tight window with Nathan Gerry draped all over Denham. Tough catch for the tight end but he made it.
• LeGarrette Blount is wearing the No. 35 jersey for the Eagles. (Undrafted rookie free agent safety Randall Goforth sports that number on defense.) Blount curiously practiced without his helmet for individual drills. Then the helmet went back on for when he took the bulk of first team reps at running back. Blount’s size can’t be understated, especially when he’s standing near the 170-something pound Donnel Pumphrey. Blount is a big boy who’s gonna run over some people this year. He looked good.
• You probably won’t believe me — and I don’t blame you at all — but I think Nelson Agholor might have had his best practice I’ve ever seen today. I didn’t see him drop or bobble a single pass. He actually made some tough catches and ran crisp routes. Agholor has a long, long way to go before he’s seen as a good receiver. But this was a good start for Day 1.
• Mack Hollins is the only Eagles wide receiver who wasn’t wearing gloves. He had some sticking out of his pockets but I didn’t see him put them on. I don’t know if this really means anything but I just think it’s weird/noticeable when a receiver is catching with their bare hands. JMatt has done it at practice in the past. Anyway, enough glove talk. Hollins looked pretty good to me. Nothing overly flashy but no big mistakes.
• Dorial Green-Beckham is not making this Eagles roster. This much should have already been obvious by now, but his bad showing at practice was just a reminder that he’s not really good. DGB got chewed out by new Eagles wide receiver Mike Groh on multiple occasions, including this one:
Eagles new WR coach Mike Groh was yelling at DGB quite a few times. "Why are you looking at the ground! There's nothing there!"— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) May 23, 2017
DGB dropped and bobbled a few catches. As seen in the video below (click here if you can’t see it):
DGB running drills
DGB looking a little.... rusty this afternoon at OTAsPosted by Bleeding Green Nation: For Philadelphia Eagles Fans on Tuesday, May 23, 2017
He also totally failed to win a jump ball situation deep down the field. The 6-4 receiver simply got out-muscled by a leaping 5-11 Patrick Robinson, who knocked Wentz’s attempt down.
• Speaking of Groh, he’s a really vocal dude. You can see for yourself in the Facebook video below (scroll down).
• Isaac Seumalo, who got the nod at first team left guard, mauled the crap out of Vinny Curry on a screen play. “Omg but aren’t OTAs non-contact drills?” Yes, but contact inevitably happens sometimes. It wasn’t excessive, Seumalo just did a nice job of shoving him.
• The Eagles had 2016 UDFA signing Dillon Gordon line up at left tackle. He also got some work at tight end during a TE drill. Gordon used to play that position at LSU but he’s a lot bigger now. It was odd seeing the 322-pounder catch a pass in the middle of the field.
• Something I’ve been thinking to myself recently: this Eagles pass rush could really eat this year. Tuesday’s practice did nothing to stop me from thinking this, either. Timmy Jernigan had a real strong day. He exploded through the line one time for a would-be sack on Wentz. Jernigan also looked strong against the run, earning praise from his coaches along the way. With Jernigan and Fletcher Cox in the middle ... hoo boy. I’m excited.
• 2017 first round pick Derek Barnett had a strong first practice. He saw some time with the starters and had some nice battles against Lane Johnson. On his first try, Barnett got around Johnson using his incredible bend and forced pressure on Wentz. Barnett also unleashed a nice spin move on Johnson. The rookie wasn’t unstoppable by any means, however. Barnett got stonewalled when he tried to put a bullrush on Lane.
• Eagles defensive line coach Chris Wilson with some wise words of advice for the Eagles defensive line: "Play f***ing fast!"
• A lot of people ask about Alex McCalister. He may have added some weight, but he still looks pretty slight for a defensive end to me. Hopefully I’m wrong, but I wouldn’t expect much from him.
• Donnel Pumphrey didn’t return a single punt at San Diego State, but he looked natural fielding punts during special teams drills. He’s likely the primary backup to main punt returner Darren Sproles and the heir to Sproles beyond this year.
• Pumphrey fumbled (didn’t see who forced it) at one point. Steven Means returned the ball for a defensive touchdown.
• Shelton Gibson dropped a few passes and bobbled a few. Hands seem to be an issue with him.
• Najee Goode had a nice diving breakdown on a Foles attempt over the middle.
• UDFA tight end Billy Brown, who played wide receiver at Division II Shepherd University, had a few nice catches. He’s a really big body at 6-4, 255 pounds. Looks like he’s built well too. Could make for an interesting practice squad guy.
• Eagles CEO and Chairman Jeffrey Lurie attended practice. He was chatting up defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz for a bit.
• Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman was also on the practice field. He threw some passes to Jeffery (that’s Alshon, not Lurie) while the Eagles were doing some special teams drills. Roseman has a decent arm. Maybe he’s a football guy after all!
• Watch video of Eagles practice below via the Bleeding Green Nation Facebook page (click here if you can’t see it).
LIVE FROM EAGLES PRACTICE!Posted by Bleeding Green Nation: For Philadelphia Eagles Fans on Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Torrey Smith loves playing on the opposite side of Alshon JefferyPosted by Bleeding Green Nation: For Philadelphia Eagles Fans on Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Alshon Jeffery interview below (click here if you can’t see it):
Alshon Jeffery talking about his relationship with Carson Wentz #bffsPosted by Bleeding Green Nation: For Philadelphia Eagles Fans on Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Up next: The Eagles practice again on Wednesday and Thursday but those sessions aren't open to the media. The next open practice is next week on Tuesday, May 30.
Remaining offseason workout schedule
OTA Offseason Workouts: May 23-25; May 30-June 1; June 5-6, 8-9.
Mandatory Minicamp: June 13-15.
BGN Coverage: The following practices are open to the media: May 23, May 30, June 5, June 9, and June 13-15.