Eagles analysis

Eagles minicamp observations: Cooper DeJean makes a play on the ball

The Eagles held their second day of mandatory minicamp on Wednesday. Here are some practice observations.

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The Eagles held their second of three mandatory minicamp practices on Wednesday afternoon at the NovaCare Complex.

They are scheduled to hold one more practice on Thursday afternoon before breaking for the summer. They won’t be back together after tomorrow until late July for training camp.

There were some guests in attendance today:

But now let’s get to today’s practice observations:

1. As always, we’ll start with attendance and injuries: The Eagles again had strong attendance but Landon Dickerson missed his second straight day with an excused absence. Also didn’t see cornerback Zech McPhearson.

• James Bradberry was a spectator at Wednesday’s practice after getting injured during position drills on Tuesday. Nick Sirianni said Bradberry would be getting reps at safety but because of the injury, we haven’t seen it yet.

• Sydney Brown (ACL) is still not practicing but is still getting his mental reps and looks pretty healthy.

• WR Jacob Harris missed his second straight practice with an unknown injury. Also add fifth-round pick Trevor Keegan to the injury report. He didn’t participate and had a compression sleeve on his leg.

2. Some offensive depth chart notes:

• Without Dickerson, Mekhi Becton was the top left guard for the second straight day. That’s a big body on the interior of the line but the Eagles often lean toward bigger bodies at guard.

• Second-team OL (L-R): Anim Dankwah, Darian Kinnard, Brett Toth, Matt Hennessy, Fred Johnson

• Third-team OL (L-R): Laekin Vakalahi, Max Scharping, Dylan McMahon, Jason Poe, Gottlieb Ayedze

3. Some defensive depth chart notes:

• The Eagles really rotated at the RCB position on Wednesday across from Darius Slay. After Kelee Ringo held that spot to start minicamp, the Eagles changed it up on Wednesday. Isaiah Rodgers got the first crack at that position with the first team but then Ringo and even Quinyon Mitchell rotated in there. This was our first extended look at Mitchell as a potential starter and he held his own.

• The first-team nickel was primarily Avonte Maddox but we did see Cooper DeJean get some run in there as well as play some outside cornerback with the second team.

• The top linebackers remained Devin White and Zack Baun. Next up were Nakobe Dean and Oren Burks, followed by Jeremiah Trotter Jr. and Ben VanSumeren.

• In addition to his reps at outside cornerback, Mitchell got more looks inside as a dime linebacker. This is probably Vic Fangio just really seeing everything his players can do before getting to training camp.

4. DeJean made an impressive play in 7-on-7s while working as the first-team nickel cornerback. He was lined up on DeVonta Smith in the slot with Isaiah Rodgers in coverage on A.J. Brown to his right. Jalen Hurts stared down his receiver and DeJean peeled off his responsibility to jump the route, Hurts didn’t see him and threw a dangerous pass.

DeJean dropped what should have been a pick but it was an impressive and instinctual play. It appeared that C.J. Gardner-Johnson gave him a tip before the play because he got some credit after it. You’d obviously love to see DeJean complete the play with a pick but it showed his ability.

5. While DeJean couldn’t pull off that interception, there was one earlier in the day when Reed Blankenship jumped a pass from Hurts to Smith for an interception. Blankenship makes a ton of plays in practice.

For Hurts, this wasn’t his strongest outing. He missed a few throws, should have been picked off twice and narrowly overthrew a deep ball to Brown down the left sideline on a free play. This looks like an offense that is still learning the playbook and trying to play fast. I wouldn’t panic just yet. This could just take some time.

Later in practice, Hurts did have a tremendous throw to Dallas Goedert on the sideline with Blankenship draped all over him. Hurts put it where only Goedert could get it and No. 88 reeled it in while using his body as a shield.

6. Saw some flashes from fourth-round running back Will Shipley as a pass-catcher on Wednesday. This was a big part of his game at Clemson and today was his best practice we’ve seen so far. The highlight play came on a rep where Tanner McKee rolled to his right and threw a nice pass to a sliding Shipley, who caught it near the right sideline for a gain of about 20 yards. But Shipley had a few grabs today. Another one was a nice catch-and-run that showed off his burst for some YAC.

7. John Ross made a sweet one-handed highlight-reel grab in the middle of the field in an 11-on-11 session late in the day. The ball from Kenny Pickett wasn’t on the numbers, but Ross threw out his left paw and and snagged it.

Because Ringo worked mostly with the second team today, he and Ross had some fun battles. Ringo had an impressive PBU on a comeback route to Ross.

8. The Eagles used their two special teams periods on Wednesday to work on the new NFL kickoff rules, which will definitely take some time to get used to as a viewer.

On Wednesday, the Eagles used split back return men. The bold player caught the kickoff: Kenny Gainwell and Tyrion Davis-Price, Gardner-Johnson and Britain Covey, Kenny Gainwell and Davis-Price, Lew Nichols and Gardner-Johnson, Covey and Ainias Smith

Second session: Parris Campbell and Rodgers, Gardner-Johnson and Will Shipley, Ross and Covey, Ainias Smith and Shipley, Covey and Rodgers.

Gardner-Johnson seemed to take joy in clearing the way for the other returner as a lead blocker. One element to this rule that I was thinking about today was with a player like Covey. He might be a good option if the ball comes to him but because of his smaller stature, he might not be the best option as a lead blocker when it doesn’t.

9. For the second straight day, we saw a ton of passes go to tight end Grant Calcaterra. It felt like a bit on Tuesday when Nick Sirianni mentioned him when talking about their WR3 position (his point was that the fifth skill guy isn’t always a WR) and Calcaterra caught a bunch of passes. But two days into mandatory camp, Calcaterra has been busy and seems to have a rapport with Pickett. Without Jack Stoll (who is now with the Giants), Calcaterra has a shot to be TE2 in his third NFL season.

10. Brett Toth had a bad snap on Wednesday, rolling it to Pickett. No big deal — yet. But if you remember (and if you do, you might need help), Toth really struggled snapping the ball in training camp last year. It got to the point where it was starting to ruin some practices and the Eagles signed veteran Josh Andrews to take over second-team center duties. We’re obviously not there yet this year but the Eagles did draft Dylan McMahon in the sixth round and he’s a natural center. So there’s an easy way to bump him up the depth chart this summer if they need or want to.

Stupid Observation of the Day: During receiver drills, Sirianni was armed with one of those giant foam blocking pads to replicate defensive back pressure as the wideouts and tight ends catch passes on air. But he was a little late getting to a spot where Albert Okwuegbunam was making a grab so Sirianni just yelled, “Ahhh!” at the point of the catch while making a late swing.

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