Now that the Philadelphia Eagles’ spring practices are over, let’s check in on the biggest winners and losers from OTAs/minicamp. It’s time for a good ol’ fashioned stock report.
Carson Wentz - The Eagles’ franchise quarterback had a fantastic spring. More importantly than anything, Wentz looks healthy and had no limitations. Even better, he looked really sharp during practices. Oh, and he also signed a contract extension worth $128 million.
DeSean Jackson - Jackson turns 33 this season but there should be no question he’s still got gas left in the tank. The NFL’s 2018 yards per reception leader was basically unguardable during practice. In fairness to the defense, Jackson should be thriving in this non-contact setting. Still, it’s easy to see that Jackson could make a huge difference for an Eagles offense that looks to get back on track in 2019. The fact that Jackson and Wentz have already formed a strong chemistry is very encouraging.
Avonte Maddox - I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Maddox is a baller. The guy just makes plays. While it’s unclear exactly where he’ll line up on the defense this season, it’s perfectly clear that he’s too good to not be on the field. Maddox is poised to build on the potential he showed as a rookie. Doug Pederson specifically highlighted him as a spring standout.
Dallas Goedert - Eagles players voted Goedert as *THE* most impressive player from spring practices, according to a survey conducted by The Athletic’s Bo Wulf. The selection doesn’t come as a surprise. Goedert looked damn near impossible to defend. If the ball is being thrown in his vicinity, he’s getting it. He’s just so big and athletic. The Eagles are trying to lose games on purpose if they don’t get Goedert more involved in the offense this year.
Rasul Douglas - With Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills recovering from injury, Douglas spent the entire spring as a first team outside cornerback. The third-year defensive back picked up where he left off in terms of playing well at the end of the 2018 season. Douglas made plays on the ball and didn’t get beat as often as he used to. I think Darby and Mills are going to be the starters when healthy but Douglas is making his case. It doesn’t hurt that Douglas has drawn praise from the coaching staff.
JJ Arcega-Whiteside - Barring injury, JJAW isn’t poised for a big rookie season. He’s stuck behind at least Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, and Nelson Agholor on Philadelphia’s depth chart. But JJAW does look ready to contribute as a role player. He was especially effective in the red zone while flashing off his jump ball ability.
Boston Scott - Pederson said Scott is the player the Eagles envision to fill the Darren Sproles role. Scott had some flashes and at least one of his teammates took notice. Tim Jernigan referred to Scott as “a dog.” Scott also took reps as the Eagles’ first team punt returner. I wouldn’t call Scott a roster lock just yet; let’s see what he does in the summer. For now, though, he’s off to a good start.
Mack Hollins - He’s still alive! That’s a win. Hollins participated in position drills by the end of spring practice and he’s expected to be full go by training camp. Hollins might only be the fifth receiver at best, so he’s hardly some kind of big winner here, but being able to practice is a positive step.
Marken Michel - Michel — brother of New England Patriots running back Sony Michel — has camp darling potential written all over him. He caught a lot of balls during spring drills. Michel flashed deep threat ability, which lines up with the 17.0 yards per reception mark he posted in the CFL. He’s also in the mix at punt returner. Michel likely needs to have a strong summer just to make the roster as a sixth receiver. Maybe he can be this year’s DeAndre Carter.
Charles Johnson - Johnson, the AAF’s all-time leading receiver, is another wideout fighting for a fifth or sixth spot. He’s done a good job of putting himself in the mix by making jump ball catches. Johnson will also need to show up on special teams this summer. If the Eagles don’t keep him, it feels like Johnson could land with another team. There are certainly worse backup receivers out there.
Andrew Sendejo - As of right now, it doesn’t seem like the Eagles are going to cut Sendejo just to preserve a 2020 fourth-round compensatory pick. Sendejo took a lot of first team safety reps with Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod both missing time. Jim Schwartz referred to Sendejo as “Dejo” so the veteran safety is doing well by #NicknameAnalytics standards.
Josh Sweat - Sweat was among the spring standouts that Pederson highlighted. It’s hard to fully judge offensive and defensive linemen without pads but Sweat flashed at times. The Eagles could really use Sweat making a big leap from Year 1 to Year 2. Sweat needs to continue to stay healthy and show up in the summer.
Halapoulivaati Vaitai - Big V is the favorite to start at right guard if Brandon Brooks isn’t ready for Week 1. Vaitai took all the first team reps there during spring practices.
Hassan Ridgeway - Can’t say I noticed him a ton myself but Schwartz went out of his way to highlight Ridgeway as one of the team’s better spring performers. Howie Roseman also talked about how Ridgeway is a player the Eagles have previously been interested in. Seems like a good sign for him.
Nathan Gerry - Eagles linebacker Ken Flajole had effusive praise for Gerry during his recent media session. Gerry also took almost all the first team linebackers reps. I don’t think he’s getting cut.
Miles Sanders - Sanders participated in rookie minicamp but he missed the entirety of OTAs and mandatory minicamp due to a hamstring issue. Missing spring drills isn’t the end of the world. Just look at last year when Josh Adams missed OTAs and ultimately ended up as the Eagles’ leading rusher in 2018. Then again, the Eagles weren’t counting on Adams to contribute right away. Sanders is projected to have some kind of immediate role as a rookie, though it’s unclear how big it’ll be with Jordan Howard still around. Sanders has some catching up to do in training camp. His potential is exciting but it’s tough to say he’s going to be a “no doubt about it” instant difference maker.
Josh Adams - Speaking of Adams, I don’t see him making the roster this year. Howard, Sanders, and Corey Clement are locks. The fourth running back spot is open but Adams doesn’t offer passing game and/or special teams value like Scott does. It also does help that Adams is still nursing a shoulder injury.
Sidney Jones - Jones just hasn’t popped like other cornerbacks have. Whereas Maddox and Douglas have excelled, Jones has just been overall fine. Not terrible, not great. The Eagles took Jones off the field when they went to their big nickel package with multiple safeties and only two cornerbacks. In that formation, Maddox and Douglas were the outside corners.
Derek Barnett - Barnett, who is still making his way back from a torn rotator cuff, wasn’t able to practice in OTAs or minicamp. I don’t even recall seeing him on the sideline. Hopefully he’ll be ready to go for training camp. He very well might be. Still, it just feels a little weird to me how such a critical player for 2019 has been completely out of sight. The Eagles really need Barnett to be an impact player after losing both Chris Long and Michael Bennett. To be clear, I’m not down on Barnett’s potential (that’s Ben Solak). Just wondering about his health status and his effectiveness coming off injury.
Zach Brown - It’s been assumed that Brown will start next to Nigel Bradham for the Eagles this year. And that could easily end up happening. Brown was running with the second team defense during spring drills, though.
Stefen Wisniewski - Big V is the clear favorite to start at right guard. Wis didn’t get any reps there.
Matt Pryor - In the same boat at Wis.
Shelton Gibson - With the likes of Michel, Johnson, and even Greg Ward (first team slot reps with Agholor missing practice) stepping up, Gibby is going to have to fight just to make the roster.
Clayton Thorson - Thorson showed some positive flashes during the Eagles’ first OTA practice. Unfortunately for him, that was his peak. Thorson made questionable decisions and some of his throws resulted in super wobbly balls. In fairness to Thorson, he’s a rookie learning a complex playbook. He needs to show more progress in the summer, though.
Cody Kessler - At the time the Eagles signed Kessler, there was some thought he might compete with Nate Sudfeld for the No. 2 job. Not happening. Kessler is just a camp arm. He took limited fourth string quarterback reps all spring long.