Eagles

Eagles 2018 training camp battles: Nickel cornerback

Eagles 2018 training camp battles: Nickel cornerback

As we get near the start of the Eagles’ 2018 training camp, we’re going to take a closer look at some of the key position battles to watch this summer. 

Today we’ll look at slot cornerback. 

Names to know

Jalen Mills, Sidney Jones, De'Vante Bausby, Malcolm Jenkins

What to watch

This should be interesting during training camp. The Eagles need to find a solid replacement after losing Patrick Robinson in free agency this offseason. Robinson, the veteran journeyman, was having a terrible training camp last summer before he was moved into the slot following the Ronald Darby trade. But once he got into that nickel corner spot, he thrived and went on to have a tremendous year. Losing him is big, but the Eagles actually have depth at the CB position, a departure from training camps in previous years. 

The Eagles have a few options in the slot. The only corner who hasn’t had time inside is Rasul Douglas; the team isn’t going to put him there. Even Darby took some reps inside during the spring. But Darby is likely going to stay outside too. 

That leaves Mills, Jones and Bausby battling for the spot. It appears that Mills is probably going to be a starter, but there’s a decent chance that he could line up at outside corner in the Eagles’ base package and move inside in nickel. That’s a lot to ask, but he has been in the defense for two years now and would be able to handle that extended responsibility. 

Jones is really talented and it would make sense to find a way to get last year’s second-round pick (who would have been a first-rounder without an Achilles tear) on the field. That will either come outside in the nickel package or inside. Jones took some reps there this spring and looked good. Ultimately, the team will want to make him a starter, but for now, it can bring him along slowly with a lot of depth at corner. 

Bausby is a name you might not be as familiar with. But after spending last year on the practice squad, he turned some heads this spring. He and D.J. Killings are long shots to win this spot, but Bausby isn’t a long shot to make the roster. I just can’t see Bausby keeping a talented player like Jones off the field, no matter how much the coaching staff likes him. 

The last possibility is to move Jenkins into the slot, which the team will do with certain bigger receivers and tight ends. But it seems very unlikely he’ll take over that role full-time, especially with more depth at corner than safety. 

Prediction

I think the three guys who will be on the field are Mills, Darby and Jones. The real question is how this manifests itself. If I were Jim Schwartz, I would start Mills and Darby and then slide Mills inside in the nickel package, leaving the second-year player to play at his strength position outside. I think Schwartz isn’t going to take my advice on this, though. I think it’s slightly more likely that Mills and Darby stay outside and Jones plays inside when the Eagles use their nickel package. 

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Eagles sign Soul wide receiver Darius Prince, waive defensive lineman Adam Reth

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Vernon Ray, Creative Mind Productions

Eagles sign Soul wide receiver Darius Prince, waive defensive lineman Adam Reth

Along with a Super Bowl MVP, the Eagles now have an ArenaBowl MVP on their roster. 

The Eagles on Saturday afternoon signed wide receiver Darius Prince and waived defensive tackle Adam Reth. Prince earned ArenaBowl XXX MVP honors with five catches for 27 yards and two touchdowns in the Soul's 44-40 victory over the Tampa Bay Storm last year. 

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Prince has come a long way in the last year. After making his AFL debut in the 2017 playoffs, the 28-year-old had a league-high 89 catches, 1,024 yards receiving and 24 touchdowns this past season in just 12 games. Before joining the Soul, Prince played for the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks of the National Arena League.

“My first thought was how thankful I am to the Lord for giving me this opportunity,” Prince said in a statement. “Then I thought about everything I’ve been through. I started at the bottom and now I am signing a contract with the Super Bowl champs, it’s really a surreal feeling.”

Prince has an interesting background. The McKeesport, Pennsylvania, native didn't play college football, and was a basketball player at Penn State-Greater Allegheny and Penn State-Beaver. 

The Eagles last signed a Soul player in 2016, when they added defensive end Jake Metz, who did not make the final roster. 

“We’re incredibly proud of Darius,” Soul president John Adams said. "He is a great ambassador of the Soul brand and we wish him all the best on this next stop of his career.”

In all likelihood, Prince won't be with the Eagles for long. The team has to cut down to 53 players by 4 p.m. on Sept. 1, and currently has 13 wide receivers on the roster.

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Carson Wentz to resume full-team drills starting Sunday

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AP Images

Carson Wentz to resume full-team drills starting Sunday

There’s some good — albeit expected — news with Carson Wentz.

When the Eagles return to practice Sunday, Wentz will be back in 11-on-11 drills.

Earlier this week, Wentz said he expected to be back in full-team drills this coming week (see story). That’s according to the master plan set forth by the Eagles’ coaches and doctors.

Early in training camp, Wentz was involved in 11-on-11 drills but the team backed off after a few days. Doug Pederson said he saw what he wanted from Wentz and the team didn’t want to expose him to any unnecessary risk.

With less than three weeks until the season opener, Wentz is still targeting a Week 1 return. The last hurdle will still be to get cleared for contact. That hasn’t happened yet.

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