Eagles

Eagles 2017 training camp position battle: Cornerback

Eagles 2017 training camp position battle: Cornerback

It's no secret.

If anyone is looking for the biggest weakness on the 2017 Eagles roster, here it is. Cornerback could be an adventure.

At least this isn't anything new. In 2015, when the team trotted out Nolan Carroll and Byron Maxwell, fans probably thought things couldn't get worse in 2016. They were wrong. Last year, the struggles continued with a combination of Leodis McKelvin, Carroll, Ron Brooks and rookie Jalen Mills.

The good news is the Eagles might finally have some young talent to keep around for a while. Mills, a seventh-rounder last season, got valuable playing time and this year, the team drafted Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas in the second and third rounds. Jones is still recovering from his Achilles injury, but Douglas could figure into the rotation early.

The team also added veteran Patrick Robinson and brought back Brooks, C.J. Smith and Aaron Grymes.

During the spring, Mills, Robinson and Douglas worked with the first team, but defensive backs coach Cory Undlin said there isn't anything decided yet.

“It’s just going to be who’s going to step up here in training camp and through the preseason," Undlin said. "Who’s going to say, 'Listen, I’m starting here, I’m starting here, I’m going to play the nickel,' and then here’s the backups. 

"I like them all right now and we’ll find out how it goes down, and that’s what this whole [offseason] is for, to find out who’s going to rise to the top and who’s going to earn a spot and take it and then hopefully can keep it. We’ll see how that goes."

During the spring, Mills and Robinson worked as the Eagles' cornerbacks in the team's base package. And in the nickel, Mills pushed inside and Douglas took his spot outside. That is the same type of role Brooks had during training camp with the Eagles last season.

Brooks is sort of the forgotten man, coming off a serious leg injury that ended his 2016 season early. He was the team's primary nickel corner last season and when he went down, the team was forced to play Malcolm Jenkins in the slot, which meant putting Jaylen Watkins on the field as a safety.

While Undlin was hesitant to name starters at the end of the spring, it seems likely the Eagles will give Mills every opportunity to keep one of those starting gigs. After that, there are a bunch of guys in the mix for the three jobs.

Eagles catch break with Jameis Winston's reported suspension

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USA Today Images

Eagles catch break with Jameis Winston's reported suspension

This is bad news for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but good news for the Eagles. 

The NFL is planning on suspending Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston for the first three games of the 2018 season for a violation of the league’s personal conduct policy, according to a report Thursday by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

That means the Eagles’ Week 2 game in Tampa Bay might be a whole lot easier. After opening the season at home against the Falcons, the Eagles play their first road contest of the year against the Bucs.

Winston has played the Eagles just once in his career and was great. He led the Bucs to a 45-17 win over the Eagles at the Linc during his rookie season in 2015. In that game, he completed 65 percent of his passes for 246 yards and a career-high five touchdown passes with zero interceptions.

Winston is one of just seven quarterbacks to ever throw five touchdown passes against the Eagles in a single game; no one has ever thrown more against them in a game. The others are Matthew Stafford, Eli Manning, Joe Montana, Craig Morton, Don Meredith (twice) and Sonny Jergensen.

Winston, 24, has thrown for at least 3,500 yards and 19 touchdowns in each of his first two seasons. He made the Pro Bowl as a rookie in 2015. To put his early success into perspective, Winston has two 4,000-yard seasons in his first three seasons, the Eagles’ franchise has never had one. 

The Bucs’ backup quarterback is veteran journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick, who actually went 2-1 in his three starts in place of Winston last season. 

But don’t let those three games fool you, the Bucs are obviously much better with Winston behind center than Fitzpatrick, who has played for five different teams over the past six years. 

According to NFL Research, the Bucs’ first three games of this season are the toughest first three games for any team in the Super  Bowl era based on last year’s records. 

Winston’s suspension stems from an alleged incident with an Uber driver in 2016. 

Roob Knows: A Billboard's chart-topper and a huge Eagles fan

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Reuben Frank

Roob Knows: A Billboard's chart-topper and a huge Eagles fan

On the latest edition of Roob Knows, Reuben Frank discusses Carson Wentz's character through his injury rehab. He takes a look at the Eagles' running back depth. Also, Roob chats with Mondo Cozmo's lead man Josh Ostrander. His single "Shine" hit number one on Billboard's Adult Alternative Songs chart in January 2017. Ostrander, a Philly native and big Eagles fan, shares his journey and experiencing an Eagles Super Bowl championship.

"He's going to play opening day. I'll go as far as saying I'll be surprised right now if Carson Wentz is not the Eagles starting quarterback on opening day."

1:00 - Carson Wentz's character is unique.
5:00 - Doug Pederson has handled this offseason perfectly.
10:00 - Eagles' running back situation
15:00 - Roob Knows unbelievable stats.
17:00 - Roob's interview with Josh Ostrander of Mondo Cozmo.
19:00 - Josh's memories of the Super Bowl run.
22:00 - Josh's crazy path in music.
31:00 - Josh's Philly roots are still important to him.

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