De'Vante Bausby

5 more Eagles who were impressive during spring practices

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5 more Eagles who were impressive during spring practices

As the Eagles wrapped up their spring practices last week, head coach Doug Pederson was asked for a list of young players who stood out over the last few weeks. 

It was a pretty good list (see story)

But with a limited amount of time, Pederson probably didn’t mention every young player who had a good spring. I’m gonna give him a hand and list five more players he failed to mention. 

De’Vante Bausby 
This guy was the revelation of the spring. He joined the Eagles’ practice squad last season but seemingly has a great shot to make the active roster this year. During many OTA practices and in minicamp, the 25-year-old took first-team reps at the nickel corner spot. I still have trouble believing that Bausby is going to be on the field ahead of Sidney Jones, but that doesn’t take away from how good he’s looked so far. Aside from just getting first-team reps, he made the most of them. It seemed like he was making a play every day. 

Nate Sudfeld
This was really our first extended look at Sudfeld, but it’s far from our last. In fact, prepare yourselves to see a ton of the third-stringer this summer. Because while Carson Wentz recovers, Sudfeld is Nick Foles’ backup. And the Eagles need to treat Foles like a starter, which means fewer reps. Sudfeld didn’t come to the Eagles until after last cuts a year ago. This spring, it was easy to see why the Eagles like Sudfeld so much. He’s pretty athletic, can move his legs, and spent the few weeks dropping dimes all over the field. Eventually, Foles is going to move on and Sudfeld should be able to take the backup role. 

Bryce Treggs
Remember when Treggs-mania took over Philadelphia in 2016? Fans were clamoring for more of Treggs after he made that one big catch. Since then, that mania has certainly died down, but Treggs is off to a good start in 2018. He’s a much better player than he was a few years ago. To me, he made the best play we saw all spring, when he stretched out to catch one of those dimes from Sudfeld. Treggs doesn't have a great shot of making the Eagles’ roster, but he can put together some more good tape and maybe find another team. 

Nate Gerry 
In his second season out of Nebraska, Gerry has a real chance to win the weakside linebacker job. He’s battling Kamu Grugier-Hill and Corey Nelson for the spot left by Mychal Kendricks’ release. And Gerry is off to a good start. Having a year in the defense under his belt should certainly help him gain an edge on Nelson, but he still needs to make plays. In the spring, he did. He had a couple interceptions and seemed to read everything well. His background as a safety is clearly something the Eagles like for this position; the other two guys have coverage skills too. 

Josh Sweat
It’s a little tough for defensive ends to stand out in non-padded practices, but the rookie from Florida State did. The first thing to notice about Sweat is just how big he is. He’s listed at 6-5, 251. For now, he’s really long and skinny, but is quick and athletic too. It helped him going against someone as raw as Jordan Mailata, but even when he was facing others, Sweat still looked explosive. We’ll know more once the pads go on, but it seems like the Eagles might have a steal and somehow added even more depth on the D-line. 

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Sidney Jones missing practice with lower-body soreness

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NBC Sports Philadelphia

Sidney Jones missing practice with lower-body soreness

When the Eagles began their mandatory minicamp Tuesday, there was a notable absence. 

Well, not an absence, but Sidney Jones wasn’t participating. The Eagles’ second-year cornerback, who is facing high expectations, has been dealing with lower-body soreness, according to head coach Doug Pederson Wednesday. He missed the end of OTAs and is now missing minicamp time. 

The important part is that Pederson said this soreness is unrelated to Jones’ surgically-repaired Achilles tendon that dropped him out of the first round and into the Eagles’ lap at No. 43 in last year’s draft. 

“We’re taking precautions,” Pederson said. “Again, this is not the time we’re going to push anybody. Not going to put anybody out there that’s nicked up, banged up. Want to make sure everybody is ready to go for training camp.”

So what does this missed time mean for Jones? 

Well, it’s not good news. There are certainly high expectations for the very talented and young corner. Before this “soreness,” Jones was getting some reps as the team’s nickel corner. Plenty of other guys have worked with the first team there too, including De’Vante Bausby, Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby. It’s one of the position battles that’s going to be important to watch in the summer. That position wasn’t decided last year until the Birds traded for Darby and slid Patrick Robinson into the slot, where he thrived enough to get a contract in New Orleans. 

Jones, 22, would be an obvious choice to win that job this year. If nothing else, it would make sense for him to at least see the field in the nickel package in some capacity. If that is outside, it could mean sliding Mills inside on passing downs. 

Either way, Jones is supremely talented, a guy the Eagles originally targeted with their first-round pick a year ago. So it would be obvious that they’d want to get him on the field over a relatively unknown player like Bausby. But Bausby isn’t making this easy. 

Bausby, 25, was signed to the Eagles’ practice squad last September. At the time, the theory was that he was a spy. He had previously spent time with the Chiefs and the Eagles were about to play them. But it’s clear now that the Eagles actually like Bausby. This spring, Bausby has been great and is separating himself in the slot. 

Is that enough to eventually keep Jones off the field? Probably not. But it can’t help to have him on the sideline. 

More from Eagles minicamp

• Michael Bennett explains OTAs absence after 1st Eagles practice

• Despite being held back, Darren Sproles flashes vintage self

• Fletcher Cox wants to be Defensive Player of Year — can he?

• After ring ceremony, Eagles will be done celebrating Super Bowl

• Duce Staley confirms Eagles will have a lead running back

De'Vante Bausby an unlikely name in Eagles' nickel CB mix

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USA Today Images

De'Vante Bausby an unlikely name in Eagles' nickel CB mix

The competition for the Eagles’ nickel cornerback job is wide open, but the favorites for the vacancy had been Jalen Mills, Avonte Maddox and Sidney Jones.

Until Tuesday, when Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz added a dark horse candidate to the mix: De'Vante Bausby.

The inclusion on a list of players getting a legitimate look in the slot is unexpected. Mills is already a starter, and Maddox and Jones were high draft picks. Bausby is on his third NFL team since going undrafted out of Pittsburgh State in 2015, has appeared in only four games as a pro and spent last season on the Eagles' practice squad following his September release from the Chiefs.

Despite his lack of pedigree, the Eagles liked what they saw from the 6-foot-2, 190-pound Bausby.

“He was ready to play for us last year if need be,” Schwartz said. “He did a great job not just on the practice field, but in the meeting room, being up on the game plan. We were fortunate that we didn't have so many injuries there that he needed to go, but he was ready, and he had the confidence of the coaching staff.

“He sort of spread his wings a little bit, working in some different positions. He's a very, very competitive player. He's got good size, but his competitiveness stands out. You guys will see that.”

Schwartz went on to praise Bausby’s work with the scout team.

“His contributions were behind the scenes last year, but we have a lot of guys that have an impact on Sunday that might not be playing,” Schwartz said. “He worked the offense hard. I think those guys have respect for him, and I know our coaches have respect for him.”

Thanks to his efforts with the practice squad, Bausby has created a path to a spot on the Eagles’ 53-man roster – and he doesn’t plan on letting the opportunity slip away. Realizing there was an opening for a slot corner, the 25-year-old spent the offseason learning the ins and outs of the position.

Bausby even went so far as to contact Patrick Robinson on multiple occasions since the veteran vacated the job when he signed with the Saints in March.

“We had a hole in the defense when he left, so we needed a nickel,” Bausby said. “I was studying real hard with the film this offseason, and any question I had, I would give him a call.

“I met up with him twice. I asked him, ‘Why do you do this? Why do you do that? How did you do this or how should I do that,’ and he just filled me in.”

Though the vast majority of his NFL experience is on the outside, Bausby is adapting quickly to life on the inside.

“It’s me vs. you,” said Bausby. “I’m just going to keep it that simple and try to deny you the ball. That’s it.”

It’s been a long road to get back to this point for Bausby, who admits the practice squad was hard at first. He got a taste of real game action in 2016, appearing in four games for the Bears and playing significant snaps in two, but fell out of favor and has been trying to find his footing in the league ever since.

Bausby will get one more shot at cracking the lineup with the Eagles in training camp this summer – and from the sound of things, he’s earned it.

“You just have to know there’s a light at the end of tunnel,” Bausby said. “Keep your head down, keep grinding and stay patient and good things will come in the end.”