June 10, 2024   7 MIN READ

Camp Conclusions

Birds Standouts From OTAs, Minicamp

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The Eagles on Thursday put a bow on spring practices, breaking for an extended lull before reconvening for training camp in late July.

These offseason sessions, which included the first mandatory minicamp of the Nick Sirianni era, helped acclimate a new-look roster to its new coordinators and the schematic modifications that follow.

With introductions out of the way, the team has positioned themselves to maximize the invaluable allotment of training camp practices.

Through the attendance of several open practices, much has been gleaned regarding depth chart structure, positional uncertainties, new wrinkles and rookie acclimation.

Here is a look at seven spring standouts, along with four dark horse names to remember for training camp.

Britain Covey

GETTY IMAGES: PR/KR Britain Covey, entering Year 3, is in a tight race to make the 53.

Standouts

WR Britain Covey

There’s been considerable discourse this offseason pertaining to Covey’s perceived tentative foothold on a roster spot due to his punt return acumen. But Covey this spring showcased explosiveness, short-area quickness and razor-sharp precision and twitch as a route-runner.

Covey also caught the ball cleanly and consistently, utilizing his suddenness and foot speed to generate separation on short-to-intermediate level throws. In my estimation, he even looked faster compared to previous springs. If OTA and minicamp practices are any indication of what’s to come under new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, I’d expect Covey to command a long look at his position of trade.

CB Kelee Ringo

Coming off a strong finish to his rookie season, Ringo displayed noticeably more patience and conviction in his technique, in addition to the confidence required to play his position at a high level. The physicality was evident. The soon-to-be 22-year-old cornerback logged a handful of competitive reps against superstar wideout A.J. Brown, with neither player ceding much room to operate. He also, in multiple instances, exemplified the match-carry-deliver principles downfield, when working against the speedy John Ross. Ringo also got his hand on a lot of footballs, albeit failing to convert any into interceptions. Arguably the head of the class at his position this spring, Ringo will be one to watch in training camp, specifically during 1-on-1s.

CB Isaiah Rodgers

The 26-year-old cornerback has seamlessly adjusted following a year-long layoff, providing an endless supply of energy and swagger. But it’s been Rodgers’ speed, short-area quickness and polished footwork that’s vaulted him toward the top of the Eagles’ cornerback depth chart coming out of spring practices.

One of only two corners to secure an interception this spring – rookie free agent Shon Stephens got the other – Rodgers demonstrated advanced instincts, anticipation and eye discipline, working exclusively with the first- and second-team defense. When the team reassembles for training camp in July, and the competition is amplified, Rodgers will be among the players most under the microscope.

RB Will Shipley

Perhaps pressing too much in the initial sessions, Shipley appeared clunky as a pass-catcher, bobbling multiple passes. As practices advanced, however, Shipley seemed to be playing faster and more freely, showcasing his receiving prowess when peppered with short-to-intermediate level passes.

Shipley not only caught the ball extremely well – securing a right sideline reception in close quarters for a decent gain from a rolling Tanner McKee –  but the 21-year-old often demonstrated awareness, getting up-field and churning out yards after the catch. He also showed off his elusiveness in confined space. The rookie, who could conceivably push fourth-year holdover Kenny Gainwell for reps, has some juice.

LB Devin White

Much of the Eagles’ defensive prospects rest squarely on the shoulders of White, a polarizing free-agent signing tasked with reinvigorating the defense’s second level. The uber-athlete continually showcased range, fluidity and coverage acumen during spring session, perhaps no play more encompassing than carrying RB Saquon Barkley down the sideline on a wheel route to force an incompletion.

White’s speed and stickiness in coverage manifested in a host of contested catches – or incompletions – with the former Bucs linebacker often in the vicinity. It’s never been about athleticism with White; his shortcomings were a result of rogue tendencies, unrestrained play and inconsistencies. While it remains to be seen if the change of scenery will be mutually beneficial, it’s apparent the Eagles have lacked a player of White’s ability for quite some time.

MEkhi Becton

GETTY IMAGES: The Eagles wasted no time experimenting Mekhi Becton at guard during the spring.

OL Mekhi Becton

While difficult to glean much in terms of trench play because of contact-less practices skewed heavily toward 7-on-7 work, Becton emerged as a legitimate talking point. While the hulking offensive lineman logged first-team reps at right tackle during OTAs in the absence of Lane Johnson, he also experimented inside at left guard in place of starter Landon Dickerson (excused absence) at the minicamps.

Becton hardly looked out of place during the trial run, perhaps leaving the door open for a more prominent role if he can push Tyler Steen, the projected starter at right guard. With revered offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland overseeing his restoration, Becton, a 2020 first-round pick of the New York Jets, could reach new heights.

WR John Ross

The intriguing reclamation project checked off every box in question during open practices, verifying his first-round pedigree by regularly creating downfield separation, fielding the ball cleanly and consistently and proving himself to be dependable. When targeted on mid-range passes, Ross was a popular target for Eagles quarterbacks. Ross also factored on special teams, dazzling with his open field speed and agility as a returner.

While fellow veteran Parris Campbell currently has the inside track to be the Eagles’ third receiver, Ross can scratch and claw for a spot and make things interesting this summer if he can maintain this level of consistency.

ITB PHOTO: The Eagles held their first ever mandatory minicamp of the Nick Sirianni era.

 

File Them Away

CB Tyler Hall

The free-agent addition isn’t being discussed nearly enough. Hall, 25, garnered some first-team nickel reps during spring practices and appeared fluid and reactive, showcasing sticky coverage and routinely driving on underneath routes.

Hall, who in his career has appeared in 31 games (six starts), also offers positional versatility, an appealing quality when parsing the roster. Rostering Hall would theoretically allow the Eagles to maximize Cooper DeJean’s multi-pronged skill set, deploying him elsewhere, while also providing a viable solution at nickelback.

S Andre Sam

The top-heavy position – further compounded with second-year pro Sydney Brown on the mend from a late-season knee injury – leaves the door ajar for a bubble player to stake claim to a reserve role. Sam, whom the Eagles issued a $150,000 salary guarantee ($20,000 signing bonus), is undersized and on the older side (25) as far as rookies are concerned, has played fast and aggressive, swarming to the football.

Even when plays were made in his vicinity, Sam was typically contesting or closing quickly, pestering pass-catchers. He’ll be one to watch when the pads come on in late July.

EDGE Julian Okwara

In my notes, No. 52 was highlighted during multiple practice sessions. That number belongs to fifth-year edge rusher Julian Okwara, an under-the-radar veteran signing who appeared fluid and natural when dropping into coverage and relatively instinctive when reacting to passes thrown in his direction.

More importantly for a player on the fringes of the roster, Okwara caught my attention during special teams drills, where he prominently garnered reps with the starting kickoff unit and flashed on punt coverage. Provided he can build off a productive spring, Okwara, a 2020 third-round pick, could potentially execute a career resurgence.

TE E.J. Jenkins

Jenkins, who seemingly mastered the Kenny Pickett back-shoulder throw while also establishing a rapport with No. 3 quarterback Tanner McKee, was on the receiving end of a flurry of notable throws this spring. At 6-foot-6, 245 pounds, Jenkins frequently flashed when darting downfield, creating separation at the top of routes and demonstrating visible body control.

Sure, Jenkins finds himself amid a crowded pool of players vying for depth roles behind starter Dallas Goedert, but based on receiving prowess alone, the 25-year-old shouldn’t be counted out. But it’s one thing to stand out in a passing camp, skewed in favor of fluent pass-catchers like Jenkins. Can Jenkins endure when the stakes ratchet up later this summer?

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

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1 Comment

  • Christopher Walls

    Great stuff as always Andrew. Looking forward to your next update.

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