Eagles rookie felt like he belonged from Day 1

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When the Eagles opened training camp last week, Jason Kelce was still recovering from a bout of COVID and did not practice.

So Cam Jurgens was up.

The rookie second-round pick from the first snap of his first training camp practice was inserted into the first-team offense in place of an all-time great in the middle of one of the best offensive lines in football.

Jurgens, 22, more than held his own.

“I feel like early on in practice, I felt like I belonged right away,” Jurgens said on Monday. “I don’t think that was an adjustment part.”

Of course, if everything goes to plan, Jurgens won’t end up playing at all during his rookie season. Kelce decided to return for the 2022 season after another All-Pro year, but the Eagles drafted Jurgens anyway. As long as Kelce stays healthy — yes, yes, knock on wood — Jurgens will get this season to prepare to be the future center of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Whenever the time comes, Jurgens will have immeasurably big shoes to fill. But he’s off to a good start.

And he has Kelce firmly in his corner. We found out during the draft, when the Eagles took Jurgens with the 51st overall pick, that Kelce was involved. The Eagles for the last few years have asked Kelce to watch center prospects and he really liked Jurgens, whom he felt had a very similar play style to his.

Kelce helped the Eagles identify Jurgens and this year he’ll put in work to mentor his eventual replacement.

“It’s great,” Kelce said of his relationship with the rookie. “Obviously, a big part of my job or a big part of what I want to do is help these young guys out. And Cam being a center, a guy that I see a lot of similarities in my game to, I’m going to try to help in any way I can to give him tricks of the trade, things I’ve learned or whatever. I think that we’re going to continue to make each other better throughout camp. We’re going to continue to work, compete and try and get better as much as we can.”

Jurgens said during offensive line meetings, he tries to sit next to Kelce and right guard Isaac Seumalo, calling them the two smartest players in the room. Kelce is one of the more cerebral players in the NFL and Seumalo has long been touted as an extremely smart guard who has used his background as a center for years.

Not bad company to keep.

As the pads came on for the first time this week, the Eagles finally got to have some offensive line-defensive line 1-on-1 drills. Despite his smaller size (6-3, 303) Jurgens was solid, even against 340-pound Jordan Davis. He was able to use his leverage and technique to pull off a few wins during the session.

“I’m happy but I’m still working to make everything perfect,” Jurgens said of his success in those 1-on-1 drills. “I feel like it was a good day getting these pads on and hitting dudes finally. Instead of just smacking helmets, we get to smack shoulder pads today so that was fun.”

But he’s also been plenty solid during team drills as well. The Eagles have some great interior linemen like Davis, Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave and even Milton Williams. So whether Jurgens is working with the first or second team, he’s going to face tough competition.

The Eagles have had their second-team offense go up against their first-team defense at times too.

“Yeah, it was exciting,” Jurgens said about getting first-team reps. “I wasn’t thinking about it. Just going out there and playing football. In the afternoon when I watch film, I go, ‘Oh, I just blocked Fletcher Cox. That’s pretty cool.’ So I’d see that after.

“When you’re in that moment, you’re not worried about who you’re going with. You’re just seeing the defense and getting the call and going. Try not to get caught up in it.”

Why would he? Jurgens feels like he already belongs.

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