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May 12, 2017

Eagles rookie minicamp practice notes

The Eagles began their rookie minicamp on Friday at the NovaCare Complex and we were on hand to watch some of practice and talk to the youngsters afterward in the locker room. Here are some stick figure-less practice notes from the first day:

•    I feel bad for Donnel Pumphrey, as approximately 95 percent of the questions thrown his way are about how tiny he is. That said, he’s a pretty small dude:

For a good amount of practice that we got to see, the running backs were fielding punts with Duce Staley. Pumphrey didn't do much returning at San Diego State.

Pumphrey was listed at 5’9”, 180 pounds on the Eagles official training camp roster, and I’m going to say that was generous on both counts. He agreed, saying that he is “between 175 and 166 pounds.”

•    Pumphrey was asked if there was ever a time in college he took an especially hard hit at his size, and he had an answer right away: his freshman year against Ohio State.

“My first carry against them, I ran up the middle and [Steelers linebacker] Ryan Shazier met me in the hole,” he said. “I definitely felt that, that was one of the hardest hits that I’ve taken.”

He would go on to log over 1,000 carries in his four-year career while never missing a game, and Pumphrey said that the worst injury he dealt with during that time was turf toe. So, I guess the reason that Pumphrey doesn’t mind answering all of the questions about his size is that it hasn’t come close to slowing him down before.

•    The Eagles brought in Weston Steelhammer for a tryout this weekend, and before we get any further, that might be the best name in the NFL or even professional sports already. Beau Allen agrees:

Unfortunately for Steelhammer, it appears that a policy change will force the Air Force safety to serve for two years before he can play in the NFL.

Doug Pederson mentioned that he knew Steelhammer from his days coaching high school football, and it looks like Steelahammer attended the same school (Calvary Baptist Academy) that Doug coached at after he left for the NFL ranks. There probably aren’t too many NFL head coaches who can say something like that.

•    Derek Barnett remains the only unsigned draft pick, but he did participate in today’s practice:

•    Rasul Douglas certainly has the size to play press coverage, but he wasn’t asked to play it a lot in college at West Virginia. According to Pro Football Focus, he “often whiffed on the jam or got beaten quickly off the line of scrimmage.”

Douglas realizes this something he will have to work on in the NFL.

“Technique is something I’m definitely I’m going to have to work on, making sure I stay patient and square,” Douglas said. “I played a lot of [cover] zero at West Virginia, so we played a lot of off at six yards, catching receivers.”

•    And speaking of Douglas, remember his quote from the draft about “fighting” (in a good way) teammate Shelton Gibson at West Virginia? Gibson expanded on that subject a little more today.

“We never beefed, it never had been to a point when I wanted to fight Rasul,” Gibson said. “We always competed though. We would talk trash all of the time and it’s still going to happen. That’s my boy at the end of the day but he knows when we get on the field, we got to go at it.”

•    Gibson’s grunt level was top-notch, per WIP and BGN Radio’s John Barchard:

•    So, who are the quarterbacks in camp? That would be Dane Evans (Tulsa), Dakota Prukop (Oregon) and Jerod Evans (Virginia Tech). Evans is the most interesting prospect of the three. Here’s a highlight reel of him at Virginia Tech:

•    Speaking of quarterbacks, converted receiver Greg Ward, who played quarterback for a couple of good Houston teams overs the past few years, made the diving catch of the day (well, at least from what we saw) on a low throw.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann

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