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Rookie Camp Practice Notes

Posted May 12, 2012

The first rookie camp practice is in the books and with it our first chance to see the newest Eagles in action for the first time. Keep in mind, of course, that there is very little to be gleaned from these camps - there's no contact and the main focus is on implementing the rookies into a brand new playbook and the pace of professional football. However, there are still lessons to be learned, especially when it comes to how certain players are viewed by the coaching staff. With that in mind, here are your notes from the first practice of the 2012 Eagles season ...

-- The Eagles spent two draft picks on offensive linemen this year after drafting three offensive linemen last season. Where did the two new guys line up? Mammoth fifth-round tackle Dennis Kelly, 6-8, 321, spent the morning at left tackle and looked surprisingly nimble for his size. Sixth-round guard Brandon Washington, meanwhile, took his reps at right guard. Both players worked with the "first-team" offensive line, which lined up as follows, from left to right: Kelly, Zane Taylor, Dallas Reynolds, Washington, D.J. Jones.

Elsewhere on the nominal first-team offense, Brett Brackett manned the tight end position while Nick Foles was under center and Stanley Havili and Bryce Brown took the reps in the backfield. The wide receivers cycled through on a play-by-play basis, but Ronald Johnson and Marvin McNutt were the top two.

-- Brown, the seventh-round pick out of Kansas State, received a lot of coaching attention from Duce Staley. Keeping in mind that you never know about a running back until the pads go on, Brown did look explosive physically and had more "burst" than the other running backs, including undrafted rookie Chris Polk.

-- Veteran defensive lineman Alex Magee, a third-round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2009, is in camp on a tryout basis. Magee, 6-3, 298, who has 4.0 sacks in two years of playing time, is being worked out at defensive tackle for the Eagles.

-- On defense, the previously noted versatility of fourth-round pick Brandon Boykin was on display. The Georgia product spent a lot of time inside at the nickel position during team installs and during team drills but also worked at right cornerback in the base defense. Boykin was also one of the two primary punt returners and looked very smooth running under and catching Ryan Tydlacka's punts.

Oregon cornerback Cliff Harris was also notably versatile as he joined Boykin as the other punt returner and spent time at both left and right cornerback.

-- The defensive "first team" stood as follows: Maurice Fountain, Fletcher Cox, Twyon Martin, and Vinny Curry along the defensive line, from left to right. At linebacker, Mychal Kendricks worked, as expected, on the strong side alongside tryout player Ryan Rau of Portland State at the MIKE and Monte Simmons on the weak side. Phillip Thomas and tryout player Willie Williams of Portland State worked at safety with Harris at left cornerback and Boykin at right cornerback. In the nickel, Simmons came off the field while Boykin slid inside and Wade Bonner, a tryout player from Mississippi State, moved to right cornerback.

-- Kendricks made the play of the morning when he picked off a Nick Foles pass intended for Brackett about 30 yards down the left sideline.

Temple tryout cornerback Kee-ayre Griffin also made a nice interception of Foles, this one on a short pass about five yards beyond the line of scrimmage.

-- Take it for what it's worth, but Cox and especially Curry were impressive during the team session. Curry's high-motor effort was obvious and he put pressure on Foles several times.

"There was a lot of intensity," said Curry of his first practice. "The game is way faster than college. It's about the same as coming in to college as a true freshman, trying to get everything down the way coach Wash likes it. It was definitely a great experience today."

And what did Curry think of working with the infamous Washburn for the first time?

"He's a crazy dude man," said Curry. "He means well. He holds all his guys at a high standard. He's a great teacher and I'm going to love playing for him."

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