As many of you predicted here, the Eagles would eventually re-sign free agent safety/corner Corey Graham. I am still breathing a sigh of relief even though I believed you. The veteran depth at safety was looking a little iffy without Graham if you know what I mean.
Graham is back as the team re-signed him to a one-year deal on Sunday. This was the cherry on top of the other good news—Doug and Howie were given contract extensions through 2022, and 40,000 fans packed the Linc for a public practice on Sunday night.
Last season, Graham had 32 tackles, two interceptions, and four pass breakups. His biggest play was a fourth-down stop in the end zone late in the Week 15 win over the Giants. As the third safety who came on the field in the big nickel package, Graham played 64 snaps in the Super Bowl. He was also a key special teams player, as he tied for second on the squad with 10 tackles. Formerly of the Bears, Ravens, and Bills, Graham is entering his 12th NFL season. He will wear No. 24.
The main thing for me is Graham brings a savvy presence to the Eagles’ defensive backfield in pressure situations.
This doesn’t mean I’m giving up on 2nd year man Tre Sullivan, a rookie free agent signing of the team last year, who had served as the No. 3 safety behind Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod early in Training Camp this year. I think Sullivan is still a key depth piece in the overall plan.
In addition to signing Graham, the Eagles also added tight end Gannon Sinclair. The 6-7, 258-pound Sinclair played his college football at Missouri State where he had seven touchdown receptions as a senior. He first entered the league as a rookie free agent signing of the Arizona Cardinals in 2015. He will sport No. 48. To make room on the roster, the Eagles waived safety Ryan Neal and waived/injured tight end Adam Zaruba.
As for the raucous crowd of 40,000 who showed up at the Linc Sunday night, it was a celebration of what has been a phenomenally great past season and what we all project as a continuation of success in the new season. Unfortunately for some, the actual practice was kind of a dud in the sense that many of the regulars had very limited participation. Nick Foles in fact got the night off, and Carson Wentz only took part briefly in 7-on-7 drills.
Maybe the highlight performance of the night was punter Cameron Johnston’s finally getting it together. “Johnston, with the ball being snapped from his own 25-yard line, places multiple kicks beautifully inside the 5-yard line. It was one of his most impressive days I’ve seen from him in Eagles green.” – Fran Duffy
Nate Sudfeld got most of the QB reps in the 11-on-11’s, and according to most observers it was probably his worst overall showing so far in Camp. Nate had been looking pretty sharp all summer until Sunday night. Give Nate some credit for this one, though—Nelson Agholor made a beautiful over-the-shoulder catch off a throw from Sudfeld on a go route down the right sideline beating safeties Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod.
Carson Wentz got his first real action of the night as 7-on-7 drills began. No. 11 responded with a quick completion to Dallas Goedert over the middle of the field to get things started. On the next play, Wentz would hit Joshua Perkins on a crossing route. We saw a lot of Goedert, Perkins, and Billy Brown on Sunday night with Zach Ertz and Richard Rodgers held out of practice once again.
Fran Duffy liked the linebackers’ mobility in the Sudfeld portions of the drill:
“A pair of Eagles linebackers make two outstanding interceptions in the middle part of the drill. First, Jordan Hicks dives in front of a Sudfeld pass intended for Mack Hollins in the middle of the field and secures an interception. Not to be outdone, Kamu Grugier-Hill made a diving interception of his own on another pass intended for Hollins. Kamu was active again on Sunday (I thought he had an outstanding day on Thursday), getting a “sack” in an earlier period as well as an impressive thud in the run game early on. He continues to show off his athleticism at the linebacker position.” – Fran Duffy