I try to watch all 90 players on the field at training camp, but that’s a little hard to do.
So each year, I head to the practice fields with a list of guys in my head to whom I want to pay attention. For the sake of this piece, I’m not going to list Carson Wentz. I don’t think I need to. Nor will I list the group of players who were hurt last season and are coming back from injury — Derek Barnett, Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills, Corey Clement, Brandon Brooks, Fletcher Cox, Rodney McLeod. Heck, I could do a whole list of just them.
So here are 10 other Eagles I’ll be watching extra closely over the next few weeks:
RB Miles Sanders
The second-round pick from Penn State missed all of OTAs and the mandatory minicamp with a lingering hamstring injury, so this will be our first chance to see Sanders with the rest of the team. Jordan Howard is probably ahead of him on the depth chart for now, but running backs can have an immediate impact in the NFL and there are high expectations for him this season.
WR Mack Hollins
Unlike the injured guys I mentioned in the intro, Hollins is definitely fighting for a roster spot. The 2017 fourth-round pick had a decent rookie season but missed his entire second season with groin injuries. It’s been so long since we’ve seen him be a full participant in practice.
OT Jordan Mailata
The obvious lineman to list here would be this year’s first-round pick Andre Dillard, but I’m honestly more intrigued to see how far Mailata has come. He made great strides last training camp but that was a year ago. Let’s see how many peanuts we’re up to now.
TE Dallas Goedert
After a rookie season with 33 catches, 334 yards and four touchdowns, there are even higher expectations for Goedert in Year 2. He made plays every single day this spring, so I’m curious to see if he can keep it going when the pads come on. I tend to think he will.
QB Nate Sudfeld
Nick Foles is gone, so if Wentz goes down this season, the team will be left in the hands of Sudfeld, who has thrown 25 career passes. The Eagles have thought a lot of Sudfeld since they brought him to Philly from Washington in 2017, but now he has a bigger role. There will be a lot of eyes on him this training camp and preseason to make sure he’s ready.
DE Josh Sweat
As a rookie in 2018, Sweat played just 68 total defensive snaps and his season ended early with an ankle injury, so this is his chance to earn more playing time. After Brandon Graham, Barnett and Vinny Curry, Sweat should be the team’s fourth DE. There’s plenty of buzz around the facility about Sweat, who certainly looks the part.
DT Malik Jackson
You could make the argument that Malik is the most important Jackson the Eagles added this offseason, which is really saying something. A former Pro Bowler who got benched last season in Jacksonville, how much does Jackson have left? If he gets back to that Pro Bowl form, lining him up next to Cox could be deadly.
CB Sidney Jones
This is Year 3 for Jones, who was once thought to be a first-round talent in 2017 before he tore his Achilles and fell to the Eagles at pick No. 43. Really, the entire competition at cornerback is one of the most intriguing things to watch this summer, but I’m especially interested to see what Jones can do. He’s supremely talented, but will that be enough to win a starting job? We’ll see.
LB Zach Brown
Since he was signed so late, Brown was still catching up in the playbook in the spring. The former Pro Bowl linebacker is with his fourth team in five years, so he does come here with questions. We’ll get a sense of how he fits into the Eagles’ defense very soon.
DT Tim Jernigan
Sure, Jernigan was able to come back last season, but he wasn’t anywhere near 100 percent. His career has been on a roller coaster over the last couple years and now he’s back with the Eagles at an extremely discounted rate with something to prove. With the addition of Jackson, Jernigan is likely going to be a rotational player. Jernigan is always a fun player to watch in practice and now he should have some extra motivation.
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