Saturday, June 11, 2016

Eagles' OTAs Top 5 Takeaways

The Eagles' 2016 offseason workout program is officially over with this past week's three-day minicamp and the next time the team will come together as a complete group will be at summer training camp in late July. While you should resist the temptation to read too much into these OTAs in reference to the Birds' actual win and loss record in the regular season, there are a few key takeaways that could have a major impact on how well they do this year.

- The Eagles could actually have one of the best quarterback situations in the NFL

Now that Sam Bradford has made nice with the rest of his teammates, he appears to be ready to continue his role as the Eagles' starter. If for some reason he does struggle early, the Eagles could actually turn to Chase Daniel first before throwing rookie Carson Wentz into the mix. The report out of Philly is that Daniel looked the best of the three at these workouts and the fact that he is already familiar with the offense could be a huge plus.

- Fletcher Cox needs to get paid

Cox would not comment on his current contract situation when in town, but the simple fact that he was just voted No. 49 on NFL Network's annual Top 100 list is a good example of his value to the team. The two sides are confident that a contract extension will be in place before the start of summer camp, but the bottom line is that Cox is quickly turning into one of the top defensive lineman in the league and a key part of the equation when it comes to turning things around this season.

- New head coach Doug Pederson is already taking this team in a completely new direction

If Chip Kelly was "fast and furious" in his approach to running the offensive scheme, Pederson could be described as "steady as she goes". He actual knows and understands the value of a huddle and a varied snap count. He also knows that time of possession is an important aspect of the game. You can tell from the way that he runs his practices that he was paying close attention to his mentor Andy Reid during his time with Kansas City.

- The new-look defensive secondary could be much better than expected

Everyone knows that the Eagles' defensive secondary is a huge area of concern given last season's performance. While there is still quite a bit of work to be done before opening day against Cleveland, the addition of veteran cornerback Leodis McKelvin and rookie cornerback Jalen Mills have already proven to be a big step in the right direction. Nolan Carroll should be completely healthy by the time camp opens and both Eric Rowe and Denzel Rice add to the overall depth of this group.

- Wendell Smallwood could be the new face of the Eagles' running game

The Eagles used their fifth round pick in this year's draft to select West Virginia running back Wendell Smallwood. Ryan Matthews is still penciled-in as the team's featured back in the running game and veteran Darren Sproles figures to be a big part of the mix for at least one season. Smallwood's role in the running game has yet to be determined but he the potential to be the Eagles most valuable rookie this year. I would not be surprised to see him in the starting role in the second half or the season or whenever Matthews inevitably gets hurt.

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