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August 03, 2021

Eagles training camp notes, Day 6: A wide receiver is kinda-sorta emerging

Eagles NFL
080321QuezWatkins Kate Frese/for PhillyVoice

Quez Watkins (16) continues to impress.

Day 6 of Philadelphia Eagles training camp was the first one in full pads. As always, we have notes.

Jordan Mailata was with the first-team offense, and he had a great day in 11-on-11's. He was regularly shutting down the first-team defensive ends, and even had a pancake of Brandon Graham. Andre Dillard, meanwhile, had another bad day. He got bull rushed back into Joe Flacco, making contact with the quarterback, and affecting his throw. Later in practice, I didn't see exactly what happened on the play, but Dillard was laying on the ground like a turtle on his back. He also left practice early. I didn't notice him favoring anything, but John Clark seemed to think it was his hand.

In my opinion, Mailata vs. Dillard is no longer a competition. It's a wrap. The gap in play between Mailata and Dillard has been gigantic, and Mailata is going to be the starting LT. Much of the focus has been on Dillard's struggles, but it's important to note that Maialta hasn't just won this thing by default. He has been legitimately very good in his own right.

It's so over in my mind, that for the first time during this training camp, I skipped watching OL-DL 1-on-1's to watch 7-on-7's. It's just piling on at this point noting Dillard's 1-on-1 losses every day.

The Eagles have plenty of depth along their offensive line, and as we've noted already, Dillard is probably a LT, or bust. He can't play guard because he can't anchor against power, and I can't see him learning the center position, because that requires certain leadership qualities that I don't think he is going to develop. The Eagles should be looking to trade Dillard to another team that is willing to take a shot on him, because the only way he's getting on the field is if Mailata gets hurt.

Zech McPhearson had a strong day today. I would go as far as to say that he is already the Eagles' most physical outside cornerback.

• Another physical defensive back who is new to the team is slot corner Josiah Scott. He had an interception today in 1-on-1's while covering the much bigger J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. A few weeks ago, we took a look at Scott's snaps in 2020, and I came away encouraged by what I saw. It's perhaps worth a look, because he's very likely to make the final 53. 

• In other 1-on-1 WR-DB action:

Travis Fulgham had a nice day going up against Darius Slay. He toasted Slay deep, and also drew a pair of pass interference (or defensive holding) calls on him.

Steve Nelson mostly handled Jalen Reagor. Aside from doing a nice job catching punts so far, Reagor hasn't stood out, at all.

Avonte Maddox looked good covering Greg Ward from the slot. While we perceive that Maddox's traits are better equipped to handle slot corner duties, he hasn't done much of it in his career, so it's noteworthy that he has looked comfortable there so far.

I thought Quez Watkins ran some really nice routes, and was able to get ample separation. In addition to an impressive day in 1-on-1's, Watkins made a nice leaping, twisting catch in 7-on-7's. Watkins is making a good argument that he should have an immediate role in the offense this season from Week 1, like John Hightower did a year ago, before quickly squandering that opportunity.

We should note that after a quiet first five days, Hightower made some plays today. He had a diving catch near the sideline, and he toasted Michael Jacquet deep down the field.

McPhearson owned Andre Patton. He had physical, close coverage, and a PBU.

• We haven't often mentioned Anthony Harris in our practice notes, but he's having a solid camp, in that he knows where he's supposed to be, and hasn't given up many plays. He had sort of an accidental helmet-to helmet hit on Fulgham today. 

Harris is listed at 6'1, 202, but for some reason he looks bigger than that to me. Maybe it's because the Eagles have had their share of shrimpy safeties in recent years.

• We have gotten to see Jason Huntley sprinting down the field with the ball in his hands on several occasions through the first week of camp, which is a good sign for him. He is probably one of the three fastest players on the team. 

• After missing two out of six field goal attempts on Saturday, Jake Elliott was a perfect 6/6 today.

7/31 8/3    
33 - No good, wide right 33 - Good    
38 - Good 36 - Good    
43 - Good 39 - Good    
40 - Good 41 - Good    
44 - Good 44 - Good    
49 - No good, wide left 47 - Good    

We had Elliott as one of our "stock down" picks after five practices. Let's see if he can stack a couple of perfect days together in his next round of kicks.

• Maybe this means absolutely nothing at all, but I'll just note quickly here that after the day was done, on a far field, way away from anyone still lingering after practice, Jeffrey Lurie, Howie Roseman, Andy Weidl, Nick Sirianni, and a small handful of other Eagles employees huddled up for a discussion. For all I know, they were all weighing in on their favorite Rita's Water Ice flavors at camp. 

• Stay tuned for a practice wrap-up podcast soon, which will appear here whenever it is recorded and published. Or catch up on some previous recaps:

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