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May 30, 2018

Eagles OTA observations: Another young corner emerges

The Philadelphia Eagles had their first full open practice in front of the media on Tuesday. I had to leave a smidge early to take my daughter to the doctor (apologies for my lateness getting my notes up), but here's what I saw.

Carson Wentz did a little more today than he did a week ago, participating in 2-on-2 drills, and looking reasonably good in the process. Of course, in 2-on-2's there's no pass rush, so Wentz doesn't have to fear an overzealous rookie defensive lineman accidentally tumbling into his knee. 

Wentz's arm strength is remarkable. Even with a gimpy knee, he has more velocity on his throws than the other quarterbacks on the roster, and it's not like it's a collection of Matt McGloins out there.

Here's video that we took of Wentz over the first two practices. We're not allowed to film during the aforementioned 2-on-2 periods, so these videos are of individual drills only.

We'll continue to shoot Wentz during individual drills throughout the spring and summer so you can see his progress.

• One of the players I'm most interested in watching this spring and summer is No. 3 quarterback Nate Sudfeld, who seems to get praised by everyone in the organization, from coaches to front office people, to the players themselves.

His highlight on Tuesday was a really nice touch pass for a touchdown to Wendell Smallwood in the corner of the end zone. At a minimum, he's the best No. 3 quarterback on the team that I can recall in recent memory. Of course, that list includes guys like McGloin, Chase Daniel, Matt Barkley, Tim Tebow, and Mike Kafka. 

Sidney Jones looks like a player. He had a diving pick of Sudfeld in 11-on-11's, in addition to an interception of Nick Foles a week ago. He's going to push for a starting job, as Doug Pederson noted last week.

• One of the young players we praised last week was cornerback De'Vante Bausby, who had a pick and a pass breakup last Tuesday. On Tuesday of this week, he was getting first team reps. Yesterday morning, we noted four players who could still be traded this offseason, one of which was Ronald Darby. If the Eagles like what they see from Sidney Jones, Avonte Maddox, and Bausby, they might feel more comfortable dealing Darby.

Jim Schwartz had some nice praise for Bausby.

"He's a competitive player," said Schwartz. "He did a really good job for us on the scout teams last year. He was ready to play for us last year if need be. 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.

"You didn't see him in training camp last year. You guys will see that in training camp this year. I'm excited about him. We're all excited about the contributions he made to our team last year, and what he can do this year. Again, 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. He worked the offense hard last year. I think those guys have respect for him, and I know our coaches have respect for him."

Schwartz is correct that we (the media) have never seen him play, since the team signed him in September last year to the practice squad, where he remained for the entirety of the season. So far, so good.

• I know a lot of people are rooting for 2017 UDFA TE Billy Brown, but he's had a rough couple of practices. Last week, he was open while running a seam route, and a ball buzzed just over his head because he never looked back for it. This week, he had two bad drops.

• Rookie TE Dallas Goedert has shown some nice things so far. To begin, he clearly has good hands, making catches away from his body with ease. He also ran good routes, particularly for a rookie, and he's quick getting off the ball at the snap and into his routes.

He did have one kinda funny bad moment yesterday. During an 11-on-11 rep, he false started three times on the same play. As in, he flinched on the first hard count, then again, and he just flat out jumped offsides on the third, all within a span of about five seconds. I've never seen that.

• Running back Matt Jones is listed at 6'2, 239. Obviously, that is big. In person, he looks every bit as big as his measurables do on paper. My apologies for this wholly uninsightful bullet point.

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