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August 20, 2015

Random Eagles notes: DeMeco Ryans was a Kiko Alonso fan in 2013, and more

Eagles NFL
082015KikoAlonso Matt Rourke/AP

Eagles linebacker Kiko Alonso hasn't played since 2013.

DeMeco Ryans said that he used to watch Kiko Alonso play his rookie season. 

"From watching him his rookie year, I know he can do it all," said Ryans. "Playing the run, and playing in the passing game, he does a good job of both. When a guy is having a great year like he had his first year, you can't help but notice, because he makes a lot of plays." 

At the time, Ryans was in his eighth year in the league, and was the most respected player in the Eagles locker room. For him to be impressed by (and specifically watch) a rookie playing the same position as him, in the other conference, tells you how good Alonso was in 2013.

More random notes:

Ed Reynolds has a history of being a ball hawk

In the first preseason game, Ed Reynolds had two interceptions, and is now in the conversation as a surprise candidate to make the 53-man roster. Reynolds has been flying way under the radar since he was cut by the team his rookie year, before eventually landing on the practice squad. As a result, his background may be forgotten by some. His junior year at Stanford, Reynolds was a major ball hawk. He was fifth in the country with six interceptions, and led the nation (by a mile) with 301 INT return yards, and three return TDs.

UDFA OT Brett Boyko's Combine numbers are misleading

• Of the undrafted free agents the Eagles signed after the draft in May, OT Brett Boyko received the largest signing bonus. Obviously, they made him a priority signing during that phase of draft weekend. Boyko competed at the Combine, and his numbers were terrible. Here's a spider chart that compares Boyko's numbers to other prospects competing at his position at the Combine since 1999:

However, Boyko has a similar story as CB JaCorey Shepherd, who ran awful 40 times of 4.65 and 4.68 at his pro day, which scared teams off and allowed the Eagles to grab him in the sixth round. Shepherd ran with a torn hamstring while Boyko competed at the Combine with an elbow injury.

"I was coming off an injury, and really just trying to get myself healthy before (the Combine), so that I could go and pass all the medical stuff," said Boyko. "Unfortunately, my times and stuff weren't the best, obviously, but I just wanted to go out and show that I could compete, even if I wasn't 100%. I just felt like it would show teams what I'm about.

"I had an elbow injury the last game of the season, and it really set me back a lot more than I thought it was going to. It was kind of like a cheap play. What ended up happening was I thought it would just bother me weightlifting, so I decided not to bench, but throughout the whole process of just that running motion (swings arms), and doing anything with my hands. The Combine was also the first time I did offensive line specific drills. I couldn't do them before it, because of the injury. But no matter how the Combine happened I'm glad to be here."

So far throughout camp, Boyko has looked far more agile than his Combine performance above would suggest.

Eric Tomlinson's strength is blocking, but he has also made plays

Tomlinson had five catches for 61 yards in the first preseason game, and opened some eyes. He's actually second in the NFL among TEs in receiving yards this preseason. #PreseasonStats!

"Eric has done a really good job at the line of scrimmage," said TE coach Justin Peelle. "He's made some plays the last few days catching the football too. He had one down the sideline, and a couple in the end zone the last couple days, so Eric's done a really good job. He does a really good job at the line of scrimmage. I mean, he's so big. He comes off and he's got the right attitude that you like. He has to clean some stuff up, technique-wise, but for the most part I think he's done a really good job."

Prior to the draft, Peelle liked Tomlinson's blocking. "When I graded him, I thought (blocking) was the strength of his game, but he can run. I don't know his exact 40 time off the top of my head, but he ran a good 40 time."

At the Combine, Tomlinson's 40 time, like Boyko's and Shepherd's noted above, actually stunk. He ran a 4.98. Tomlinson's spider chart:

However, he ran a 4.77 at his pro day, and has looked faster on the field than his Combine time would indicate. There seems to be a trend here.

If the strength of his game was as a blocker when the Eagles signed him, and he's producing like he has in the passing game, Tomlinson may end up with a roster spot, especially with Zach Ertz out for at least the remainder of the preseason with a groin injury. Whether or not Tomlinson can contribute on special teams could determine his fate.

Follow Jimmy on Twitter: @JimmyKempski