This is the welcoming mat for the rooks, not really that big a deal… More about acclimating to the building and getting familiar with the playbook. Kind of an orientation session for freshmen if you want to put it into collegiate terms…
The Birds will launch their annual three-day rookie minicamp on Friday.
With a handful of draft picks, several undrafted free agents and a few practice squad holdovers set to participate, the Eagles will get an early look at the young talent on their 90-man offseason roster.
According to NJ.com‘s Mike Kaye, who has a press pass and I don’t, here’s what’s going down this weekend:
Here are eight players to monitor during rookie minicamp weekend:
The team’s first-round pick won’t be getting too physical this weekend. While he will be lining up with some of his new teammates, he won’t be wearing pads. This weekend will mostly be about timing and technique. Dillard should be able to show off his trademark athleticism during individual and team drills.
Sanders will be one of the marquee names taking part in this weekend’s minicamp. As the top playmaker in the Eagles’ draft class, all eyes will be on him. With limited numbers at running back, Sanders will have plenty of time to shine as a receiver and a runner.
As previously mentioned, this won’t be a very physical set of practices. Timing and technique will be the focus and that’s a good thing for Miller. The developmental defensive end will get a lot of face time with new defensive line coach Phillip Daniels.
Arcega-Whiteside will be the top pass-catcher in practice. It will be his job to make fellow draft pick Clayton Thorson and Luis Perez look good. With a large catching radius and dependable hands, Arcega-Whiteside should come out of the weekend with a few highlights.
Perez will get the opportunity to prove he belongs in another NFL training camp. Several Alliance of American Football alums have been cut after briefs returns to the NFL. Perez is going to need to show improved accuracy to avoid a similar fate.
Thorson was the Eagles’ final pick in last month’s draft. The fifth-round selection is going to try to put together a strong first weekend with his new squad. He will have the luxury of throwing to Sanders, Arcega-Whiteside and a few practice squad holdovers during the weekend.
Ostman will get to show off his improved technique in his second offseason with the Eagles. The front office favorite is looking to earn a depth job this offseason after spending all of last year on the practice squad. He will need to stick out opposite Miller to get ahead of him on the depth chart.
Miller is a practice squad holdover with deep-speed ability. He will be the top downfield target during the weekend. A developmental pass-catcher, Miller will try to impress the coaching staff with his improved hands and route-running ability.
Meanwhile there will be no Johnny Holton (6-2, 190, 4.5 speed, UDFA out of Cincinnati) in rookie minicamp. Technically he is far from a rookie, but had the Eagles held on to him, EYE bet he would have participated in the minicamp this weekend.
The Philadelphia Eagles have waived wide receiver Johnny Holton, a move required to sign the 13 undrafted free agents the team agreed to terms with. Holton signed a futures deal with the team in January.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Holton get a callback from the Eagles.
Holton’s big-play ability can not be ignored when he does get the ball, as evidenced by his nine catches for 218 yards (24.2 yards per catch) and three touchdowns in 2017 with the Raiders. An undrafted free agent out of Cincinnati, Holton has 11 catches for 252 yards and three touchdowns (22.9 yards per catch) in 32 games. He had three catches for 40 yards in 2016.
Holton bounced on and off the practice squad in 2018, getting signed twice after being cut twice last season. The Oakland Raiders allowed Holton to seek another team a week before he signed with the Eagles.
The Eagles are full at wide receiver after acquiring DeSean Jackson and drafting JJ Arcega-Whitseide this offseason. Not to mention the team decided to retain Nelson Agholor and his $9.385 million salary and still have Alshon Jeffery as the team’s No. 1 wide receiver. Philadelphia also has Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson under contract as the 2017 drfat picks will fight for a roster spot.
Not to mention the Eagles also have Alliance of American Football standouts Charles Johnson and Greg Ward fighting for a roster spot. Marken Michel and Braxton Miller are also on the roster.
Speaking of rookies, we’ve been bagging on the Eagles’ 2011 draft class for going on eight years here, but now the national media is piling on.
Yahoo! Sports ranked the worst draft classes in the 21st century, but the 2011 Eagles class wasn’t one of the top ten…but they were considered.
The Eagles 2011 draft class was the worst under Howie Roseman and defined his legacy for a long time in Philadelphia. If it weren’t for Jason Kelce, this class would probably have made the top ten on Yahoo’s list.
Let’s take a look back at the 2011 Eagles draft class and how bad it was:
Danny Watkins (First Round)
Watkins was more interested in being a fireman than actually playing football, not good for a player that was a first-round pick in 2011. Andy Reid loved him and thought he would become the best guard in the NFL.
Here was the Sports Illustrated story on the first-round bust. All you need to know:
“(Eagles offensive line coach) Howard Mudd remembers word spreading through the Eagles’ facility sometime during the second half of that nightmare 2012 season. This was Mudd’s 45th year in professional football, as a player and a coach. “Never have I heard something so ridiculous,” he says. “Not in my entire NFL career.
“Danny Watkins was spotted on the 11 o’clock news, in full gear. Not midnight green with a white 63 on his chest, but Philadelphia Fire Department. Watkins insists it was a misunderstanding, that he was only wearing the gear as part of charity work with his firefighter-related foundation.
“As far as the Eagles organization was concerned, they finally had an explanation. This was why their first-round pick was giving them the kind of measly performance they could get from a street free agent. He wasn’t putting in the time, not pulling his weight during the week. Watkins denies it, but those within the organization were certain what they had found: Danny Watkins was moonlighting as a firefighter.”
Watkins played just two seasons before being released by the Eagles. Fact of the matter was, he wasn’t very good nor did he care all that much about playing in the NFL. He did make $7.1 million for his troubles, however.
Jaiquawn Jarrett (Second Round)
Jarrett played five NFL seasons, but just two in Philadelphia. He had 16 tackles in his Eagles career and was a healthy scratch throughout the 2012 season, only playing one game. Jarrett played three more years with the New York Jets, having 1.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and two interceptions. He was the prototypical safety who as it turned out struggled at playing safety.
Curtis Marsh (Third Round)
Marsh was out of the NFL after four seasons at cornerback, having only 14 tackles and two passes defensed with the Eagles. He also recovered two fumbles. Marsh played just 26 NFL games with three different teams. The guy had the measurables, but he looked overly cautious and stiff on the field.
Casey Matthews (Fourth Round)
Matthews played four seasons at linebacker with the Eagles and it’s amazing he hung around that long. For some godawful reason Casey got really confused in coverage. Matthews finished with 112 tackles, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble in 64 games in an Eagles uniform (16 starts). Some say the only reason Matthews was around with the Eagles that long was because Chip Kelly had an affinity for Oregon players.
Alex Henery (Fourth Round)
This was The Great JB99’s boy out of Nebraska…Yes, the Eagles used a fourth-round pick on a kicker, but Henery wasn’t bad early on. Henery made 88.9 percent of his field goals in his rookie year, but was just 3-for-8 in his career outside of 50 yards…which is why the Eagles moved on from him.
The Eagles released Henery in favor of Cody Parkey. Henery had a brief stint with the Detroit Lions before he was out of the league.
Dion Lewis (Fifth Round)
In fairness, Lewis is still in the NFL as a valuable pass-catching back, but the Eagles moved on from him after two years. Lewis had 36 carries for 171 yards and three catches for 21 yards as the No. 3 running back behind LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown.
In 2017, Lewis was one of the more electrifying backs in the NFL rushing for 896 yards and six touchdowns. while catching 32 passes for 214 yards and three touchdowns with the New England Patriots. Lewis has 3,218 all-purpose yards in eight NFL seasons.
The rap on Lewis in Philly was he ran sideways but couldn’t cut north. Leave it to Bill Belichick to corral the sidewinder.
Julian Vandervelde (Fifth Round)
Vandervelde was on and off the Eagles roster for five seasons, cut and re-signed again and again, playing 17 games with no starts. Nice guy and a trained operatic singer— but as an interior lineman, he struggled to hit his notes.
Jason Kelce (Sixth Round)
The draft pick that saved this class from futility, Kelce has made two Pro Bowls and three All-Pro teams and may be the best center in the NFL, based upon athletic agility and smart signal-calling.
Kelce is coming off one of his best seasons in the NFL, earning a second consecutive All-Pro selection. Graded as the No. 1 center in football by PFF, Kelce finished No. 2 amongst centers in pass protection and the top ranked run-blocker in the league. Kelce allowed just 10 pressures on the season. In 1,037 snaps, Kelce finished with a grade of 87.7, allowing just two hits and eight hurries. He had just six penalties on the season.
Brian Rolle (Sixth Round)
I don’t know what happened to this guy….he would seem to have fit perfectly into today’s Eagles role model of a LB/Safety hybrid. Rolle started 13 games on the 2011 Eagles defense, having 54 tackles, four quarterback hits, a sack and a forced fumble. He played just four games in 2012 and was out of the league after the year. What the hell happened?
Greg Lloyd Jr. (Seventh Round)
Lloyd is the son of a Pittsburgh Steelers legend at LB, yet never played a game with the Eagles, but he did get into two games with the Buffalo Bills in 2012. Wasted pedigree there, I reckon.
Stanley Havili (Seventh Round)
The fullback for the Eagles in 2012 when they still used a true FB, Havili had six carries for 22 yards and seven catches for 43 yards in his one year with the Eagles. He played 2013 with the Indianapolis Colts before ending up out of the league by 2014. Another one of TGJB99’s boys….EYE saw his potential and liked him a lot, but…