May 30, 2024   5 MIN READ

On The Lookout

Intriguing Birds Worth Monitoring At Second OTA


The Eagles return to the NovaCare Complex practice field Thursday for their final two OTA sessions ahead of next week’s mandatory minicamp.

Last Wednesday’s practice, open to the media, generated several pertinent observations. With that in mind, there are a number of notable bullet points I’ll be revisiting.

Eli Ricks

GETTY IMAGES: Second-year CB Eli Ricks will push hard for a backup job.

Here are seven players to watch during Thursday’s OTA session:

CB Eli Ricks

Of all players expected to be in attendance, Ricks is the one I’m most interested to see during team drills. The second-year cornerback appeared to tweak something early in last Wednesday’s session and was held out of the remainder of practice, observingly from the sideline. In the initial practice open to the media – without absentees James Bradberry and Kelee Ringo and a sidelined Ricks – Isaiah Rodgers joined Darius Slay as the first-team corner. Could we see Ricks, a promising developmental prospect who made apparent strides throughout the season, garner first-team reps if healthy? Does he seem more comfortable following a year of experience? Does it look as though he’s building off of the momentum of his rookie season?

While Ricks is among a host of young defensive backs vying from a depth role, he is, in my view, a notch above some of the other contenders. I’m expecting a big jump from him from Year 1 to Year 2.

CB Isaiah Rodgers

Rodgers, returning from a year-long suspension, garnered first-team reps last week during 7-on-7s, exhibiting no trace of rust or hesitation in any of his reps. But if Ringo or Ricks are available, does that mean Rodgers instead works with the second team, or was his impressive play last week convincing enough to alter a largely fluid depth chart? It’ll be interesting to see if Rodgers is able to replicate his performance. And the potential influx of outside cornerbacks on hand Thursday could move Rodgers to slot cornerback.

CB Avonte Maddox

The long-time nickelback saw first-team reps in his natural position while also rotating in at safety, perhaps foreshadowing defensive coordinator Vic Fangio’s multi-use vision for the veteran defensive back. While it may be an uphill climb for Maddox to stick as a pure nickel, given the host of younger players auditioning, he might be able to punch his roster ticket if he’s able to showcase his versatility at safety, where the team is considerably lighter. I’ll be on the lookout to see if the trend continues.

Devin White

GETTY IMAGES: LB Devin White, once an All Pro, is hoping to revive his career with the Eagles.

LB Devin White

The new face of a scrutinized, new-look linebacker contingent, White showed well at first glance. While his athleticism was never in question, White’s ability to stick and carry running back Saquon Barkley down the sideline on a wheel route – forcing an incompletion – highlights the high-end range and coverage traits that could significantly elevate the linebacking corps if he’s able to play within the confines of Fangio’s defense. I’ll be looking for consistency, discipline and coverage acumen, as the pass-heavy OTA sessions plays to his strong suit.

LB Zack Baun

It wasn’t that Fangio misspoke during his introductory presser, quickly mentioning Baun when asked about the off-ball linebacking landscape. Initially believed to be targeted in free agency as a special teams mainstay and depth edge rusher,  Baun has apparently intrigued the Eagles as an inside linebacker, where he logged first-team reps last week alongside White. Was Fangio merely mixing and matching personnel without Nakobe Dean, who participated in individual drills but not team drills, or will this be the initial pairing going into training camp? And how will Baun fare in coverage if tested at a higher frequency?

Britain Covey

GETTY IMAGES: After establishing himself as one of the league’s better punt returners, Britain Covey enters a crucial third year.

WR Britain Covey

In light of the sudden influx of returners acquired this offseason, many are wondering how Covey fits into the equation. But not only is Covey the NFL’s top punt returner from 2023 but the 5-foot-8, 173-pounder offers more as a wide receiver, his position of trade, than he’s credited for. A hamstring injury in training camp hampered his ability to shine as a dual-threat, but he’ll have his opportunity this summer to state his case for more offensive reps. In last week’s practice observations, I noted Covey’s short-area quickness and explosiveness on the move. He also caught my attention as a route-runner during individual drills, as there are little wasted movements in his approach. It would be wise to keep him on the radar.

TE Albert Okwuegbunam

Jack Stoll and Grant Calcaterra combined for only 12 targets (nine catches) in 2023 despite Dallas Goedert missing three games. The Eagles have a glaring need behind Goedert. While veteran C.J. Uzomah – who wasn’t on-hand last Wednesday – projects as Goedert’s immediate backup, he has competition in Okwuegbunam, who landed in Philadelphia on cut-down day last year via trade. With a full offseason, revamped passing attack and opportunity, can Okwuegbunam take advantage? The big-bodied tight end flashed with a couple nice catches down the seam but also tallied an egregious drop on a short toss. Consistency will be key, but Okwuegbunam offers considerably greater upside than any of the players in contention for a depth role.

– Andrew DiCecco (@AndrewDiCecco) is a Staff Reporter/Content Producer for

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