With Eagles training camp starting up, depth chart headlines and Carson Wentz’ practice stats dominate Philadelphia headlines. The upcoming season has fans, analysts, and players alike rightfully enthusiastic. The 2019 Eagles roster is one of the better they have compiled in recent years and lofty expectations are palpable.
The franchise quarterback secured his future in Philadelphia for four more seasons with his brand new lucrative contract. Furthermore, a solid core a players join Wentz including Fletcher Cox, Zach Ertz, Jason Kelce, Lane Johnson, Malik Jackson, DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery, Nigel Bradham and Isaac Seumalo all through the 2021 season. Clearly the window for a Super Bowl run(s) is now.
Biggest Headlines: Depth Updates (Cornerback and Linebacker)
Jalen Mills enters the final year of his rookie contract and also enters training camp on the PUP list. While Mills recovers, opposite starting cornerback Ronald Darby also recovers from a torn ACL after signing a one-year deal this offseason.
Training camp injuries are unavoidable and the Eagles were hit with one early as late season riser Cre’Von LeBlanc suffered a foot sprain. Since Jim Schwartz’ defense places an emphasis on the nickel cornerback position, the Eagles brought in 11-year veteran and ex-Cowboy Orlando Scandrick. He should take second team reps at nickel while Josh Hawkins and Jeremiah McKinnon man the outsides on that unit.
With Mills and Darby out, Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas take first team reps on the outside with Avonte Maddox manning the critical nickel spot. The starting cornerback set should be that exact unit with Ronald Darby swapping in for Rasul Douglas. It should also be noted that Sidney Jones looks healthy and has performed very well in all team drills.
With Schwartz employing mostly three defensive backs and two linebackers, Kamu Grugier-Hill holds the advantage as the man next to Nigel Bradham. Offseason acquisition Zach Brown took reps with the first team defense but only when Schwartz went with a 4-3 set. It might be unfamiliarity with the playbook but the Zach Brown versus KGH battle for Bradham’s running mate will be a significant one entering the season. Ultimately, Zach Brown should get a grasp of the defensive scheme and receive most of the reps next to Bradham.
Other depth chart notes on the offensive line include Halapoulivaati Vaitai playing right guard while Brandon Brooks recovers, and fan-favorite Jordan Mailata at backup right tackle.
The Running Back Bundle
Highly touted rookie Miles Sanders slowly has been given more reps after a minor hamstring strain and is progressing towards a full workload come the first preseason game. His dynamic ability in both the run and pass game meshes well with offseason acquisition Jordan Howard. Sanders also enters this season with a fairly light collegiate workload compared to his fellow rookies. The Penn Stater played behind last year’s rookie phenom Saquon Barkley in college and enters the league fresh in terms of running back prospects.
Former Bears running back Jordan Howard had a similar flashy running back in Chicago with Tarik Cohen. Howard’s role, however, was the early down bruiser and battering ram to weaken defenses down the stretch. Last season, he averaged 4.3 yards per attempt on 1st downs and 4.0 yards per attempt on 2nd.
Sanders and Howard should make up a dangerous “one-two punch” with the wily veteran Darren Sproles taking up another roster space. The last pieces of the depth chart become a difficult decision with five players competing for potentially one spot on the team.
Corey Clement enters his third season but has been hampered by a nagging knee injury suffered last season. The undrafted free agent developed his game in pass protection and remains a vital component in the pass/screen game. As is fourth-year back Wendell Smallwood who is in the last year of his rookie contract.
The Eagles leading rusher in 2018, undrafted free agent Josh Adams, had offseason shoulder surgery has returned as a regular participant in camp. To me, it is going to come down to those three players for who makes the last one, or possibly two, running back roster spots.
This battle comes down to Clement’s health and improving his vision, Smallwood continuing his development including on special teams, and Adams making himself a threat in the passing game. With two other backs on the roster more capable of special teams viability, we will all have to wait and see who emerges during preseason games.
Name to Look Out For: Carlton Agudosi
Agudosi is a 6-6, 220 pound, 4.60 40-yard dash undrafted wide receiver out of Rutgers. The New Jersey native spent time with the Arizona Cardinals before the Eagles picked him up for 2019.
Carlton’s college numbers should underwhelm you, but his physical stature should not. His frame makes high pointing balls instinctual and his catch radius is outstanding. Agudosi also has the added benefit of veterans like Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson taking him under their wing.
With the Eagles offensive scheme incorporating more ’12 personnel’ sets (two tight ends), their depth chart might shift to favor more tight ends over wide receivers. However, Doug Pederson praised Agudosi in his press conference on Monday. Both Agudosi and Greg Ward Jr are receiving more reps due to their stand out play, creating yet another intriguing depth battle for the 2019 Eagles training camp.
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