Impressions of every Eagle on defense after 2020 training camp

(Pool Photo) Chris Szagola/Associated Press

The Eagles wrapped up their abbreviated training camp on Sunday with a scrimmage at Lincoln Financial Field. 

The Eagles have to cut their roster to 53 by Sept. 5 and then they’ll start preparing for Week 1 against Washington. 

In all, the Eagles had 12 practices in training camp once they were allowed to put on pads. I was there for 11 of them. Saturday’s session was moved inside because of rain and I wasn’t able to attend. 

But in the 11 practices I did watch, I learned about a lot of their players. Sure, sometimes you have to take these practices with a grain of salt, but these are the same practices the team has to use to evaluate, especially without preseason games this year. 

So here’s a look at every player on the offense

And here’s a look, going alphabetically, of every defensive player on the 80-man roster after training camp: 

Grayland Arnold, S: The UDFA from Baylor made some plays and had a couple big hits during camp. If the Eagles keep five safeties, he has a shot to stick. If not, he’ll definitely have a practice squad spot.  

Genard Avery, DE: Avery dodged a bullet by not suffering a torn ACL, but he still hasn’t returned to practice after hurting his leg. He’s day to day. But even before that, Avery hadn’t done anything to stand out or make the team. If he’s on the roster, it’s because the Eagles traded a 4th-round pick to get him last season.  


Derek Barnett, DE: Barnett missed the entire summer with a lower body injury but was a spectator some days. The 1st-round pick has struggled to stay healthy in the NFL and Year 4 isn’t off to a promising start. 

Shaun Bradley, LB: Early in camp, Bradley had a couple big hits and even sent Dallas Goedert flying on one of them. That’s when the Eagles asked him to tone it down some; you don’t want to injure your teammates. Aside from that, Bradley made some decent plays. It seems like his football experience has him more ready to play than 3rd-round pick Davion Taylor.  

Fletcher Cox, DT: Fletch is still Fletch. Disruptive as ever. It was really fun to watch him battle Jason Peters inside during this camp. Normally, it’s Cox vs. Brandon Brooks. But Cox vs. Peters was quite a battle too.  

Vinny Curry, DE: Curry missed the last couple practices with an injury but he looked like himself before that. His absence gave Josh Sweat more first-team reps and Sweat made the most of them.  

Rasul Douglas, CB: I thought Douglas got off to a slow start in camp, especially since he wasn’t even talked about as a guy fighting for a starting gig. But as camp wore on, Douglas started making some plays and had a huge interception a couple days ago. On Sunday, when Darius Slay needed a breather, Douglas took over with the starters. He’s probably their top backup outside CB right now.  

T.J. Edwards, LB: I thought Edwards had a great camp. He’s a starter on defense and was sometimes left out there in nickel situations too. Everyone says Edwards is limited physically, and maybe that’s true, but his instincts make up for it. I saw him pick off passes, get at the quarterback and blow up screen passes all summer.  

Marcus Epps, S: Epps was sidelined for a lot of camp with an injury but he did return. He has an uphill battle to make the roster, but maybe the Eagles can get him to the practice squad. 

Rudy Ford, S: The Eagles traded for Ford last summer and although he didn’t play particularly well in 2019, he still lined up as a starter on special teams this summer. If he makes the team, that’s why. I just don’t expect it. 

Nathan Gerry, LB: It’s very clear that Gerry is the Eagles’ top linebacker. He’s going to be the LB who doesn’t leave the field. I thought he looked good all camp but the biggest question with him after last year is about missed tackles; that’s something we can’t see in “thud” practices.  


Brandon Graham, DE: While the other 30+ guys took days and reps off, Graham went harder than ever. He’s entering Year 11 in the NFL and he just refuses to cruise through a training camp. Every team should have a Brandon Graham. 

Javon Hargrave, DT: Hargrave was sidelined all camp with a pec strain. He missed valuable practice reps in a new defense and working next to Cox. 

Malik Jackson, DT: Jackson is on a mission to prove himself in 2020 and he’s off to a great start. He was dominant at times over the last two weeks and with Hargrave’s injury, that’s a great sign. 

Michael Jacquet, DB: I didn’t really notice much from Jacquet other than Doug Pederson mentioning him by name when asked which young players had been impressing him. And that’s not nothing. The UDFA from Louisiana-Lafayette was one of the higher paid UDFAs, so they like him. But I’d be shocked to see him on the roster. 

Craig James, CB: One of the hardest decisions the Eagles will have to make is with James. With Sidney Jones out, James got bumped up to second-team defense and played really well. Heck, he even got a few first-team reps. And he’s a huge special teams contributor, a fantastic gunner on the punt team.  

Sidney Jones, CB: What a disappointing camp for Jones, who came in with plenty of hype. We thought Jones was going to compete for a starting corner spot but instead began with the twos and then got hurt. He hasn’t done enough to earn a roster spot, so we’ll see what happens.  

Cre’Von LeBlanc, CB: Strap worked as the second-team nickel corner and was as active as ever. The Eagles would definitely feel comfortable with him playing at any point this year if Nickell Robey-Coleman goes down. 

Avonte Maddox, CB: There wasn’t much of a competition at the CB2 job; it belongs to Maddox. That’s the good for him. The bad was that I thought he had a really uneven two weeks. I saw him get beat way more than he should have as a starting corner. And at 5-foot-9, he struggled with bigger receivers like J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. 

T.Y. McGill, DT: McGill came back late in camp for another stint with the Eagles. I just don’t see it with him. I guess tell him to stay ready if there are more injuries. 

Rodney McLeod, S: In the four years playing with Malcolm Jenkins, McLeod was always the deep safety but he and Jalen Mills switched more during this camp. I’d expect him to line up deep most of the time but I think these two are more interchangeable. 


Shareef Miller, DE: While some other young DEs were flashing, I didn’t see much from Miller, whose roster spot is very much in question. He had a nice TFL on Sunday, but big plays were too few and far between for him.  

Jalen Mills, S: Game action might change things but the transition from corner to safety has seemingly gone really smooth for Mills. His understanding of the defense has undoubtedly helped. But he’s been able to use his corner skills at a new position and this move could really work out. 

Joe Ostman, DE: If Ostman doesn’t make the team, it’s not his fault. Coming off an ACL injury from last summer, Ostman made plays every single day. I don’t know if he’ll ever be a star in the NFL but he deserves a roster spot. 

Will Parks, S: The Eagles lined Parks up all over the field the last two weeks. He was the team’s third safety in dime and also took some reps as a nickel corner. The Eagles might play him there in certain situations. Parks is clearly an energy guy.  

Hassan Ridgeway, DT: The Eagles have impressive depth at DT because Ridgeway is the fourth after Cox, Jackson and Hargrave. But he’s a pretty good fourth. Ridgeway is coming off an injury of his own last season but was disruptive all summer. 

Duke Riley, LB: A favorite among his teammates, Riley became a special teams captain late last year and this year will be a starting linebacker. Because of his athleticism, he’ll probably play most nickel downs with Gerry. It’s not like Riley came out of nowhere; he was a 3rd-round pick out of LSU in 2017. It didn’t really click for him in Atlanta, but maybe that happens here.  

Elijah Riley, DB: The UDFA from Army made some big hits throughout the two weeks, but he just doesn’t have a good shot to hang around on the roster. 

Nickell Robey-Coleman, CB: I was thoroughly impressed with NRC all camp. He’s sticky and twitchy and the addition of him to this secondary will really help. The Eagles got one of the best nickels in the game for a real bargain price. 

Anthony Rush, DT: At 6-5, 327, Rush is one of the biggest guys on the entire team. He’s more of a run-stuffing DT so the other guys stood out more in practices where you can’t tackle. There’s too much depth at DT for him to win a job. 

Alex Singleton, LB: This will be another tough decision, sort of like the one the Eagles have with Craig James. Singleton had a workman-like camp and is a special teams stud. But is that enough to keep him around?  

Darius Slay, CB: I know there was some worry when fans heard about Slay getting beat at practice, but I wouldn’t worry too much. After watching him for two weeks, there’s no question he can cover. And he’s a savvy vet too. There were several times I watched him bait a QB into a throw.  


Josh Sweat, DE: Sweat had one of the best practice performances I have ever seen on Sunday going against Matt Pryor. While that might speak more to the Eagles’ problem at left tackles, Sweat can play. The long (6-5) defensive end has the tools and he was a solid rotational player last year. He and Curry will likely split reps as the top rotational guys in 2020.

Davion Taylor, LB: The 3rd-round pick from Colorado is raw, no question about it. He worked mostly with the third-team all training camp and it’s hard to imagine him playing a role on defense as a rookie, especially early. But he should be able to help on special teams and his coaches are excited about his future. There were some moments where we really saw his athleticism on the field. One particular play comes to mind; he covered Adrian Killins 35 yards downfield on a wheel route. 

Casey Toohill, DE: I thought the 7th-round pick from Stanford was going to be a project but he’s ready to contribute now. He spent a lot of the last two weeks in the backfield and I was really impressed. I think he earned a roster spot. 

K’Von Wallace, S: Wallace came out strong in camp, making some big plays in the first few days. Didn’t notice him much after that, but that doesn’t mean he did anything wrong. To start this season, he’ll be the fourth safety behind McLeod, Mills and Parks. But he’s one injury away from a role on defense. 

Raequon Williams, DT: The UDFA from Michigan State moved past Rush on the depth chart during practices. He showed me more pass rush ability than I expected too. If the Eagles are worried about Hargrave’s injury and want to keep five DTs, I think Williams is their guy.  

Trevor Williams, CB: With 39 career games and 27 starts under his belt, I was surprised when the Eagles cut Williams back on July 21. They brought him back on Aug. 26 but he worked with the deep reserves. I wanted to see him get more of a shot.