For some of them, it is a Training Camp that gives them the chance to make the anticipated big leap from Year 1 to Year 2, a pivotal time in the NFL to take "the next step." For others, it is a career-defining few weeks as they strive to make the roster and carve out a role within the Eagles' roster. And then in a case or two or three, Training Camp 2020 is one that represents a crossroads in a career.
Among those who are "sure things" to make the roster for the regular season ahead are many players who realize the importance of this camp to help them define their careers. Here are some of the players in the midst of those moments:
WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside
J.J. Arcega-Whiteside is in that "Year 1-to-Year 2" mode. He caught 10 passes in his rookie season and then went out and worked his tail off in the virtual offseason program. Now, he has to do it on the field and work his way into the rotation at wide receiver, a group that invested three draft picks into the mix. It's really that simple for Arcega-Whiteside. He has to be productive every day in this camp to earn reps in Year 2.
RB Corey Clement
After seeing Corey Clement provide such a huge piece of the offense in the Eagles' Super Bowl LII victory on February 4, 2018, boy, you would have figured he was on his way to being a year-in, year-out standout here. At his best, Clement is excellent out of the backfield as a receiver, is a trusty protector in the pass-blocking game, and runs hard with some wiggle. And he kills it on special teams.
But injuries the last two seasons have been troublesome for Clement. He was actually released by the Eagles in the spring and then re-signed a month later. So, yeah, this is a critical camp for Clement, who has a chance to prove that he can be a valuable back for a team that needs depth in the room.
LT Andre Dillard
This is an obvious one: Andre Dillard was a first-round pick in 2019 and he showed real promise in his three starts at left tackle as a rookie. He's now in position to take over the spot, not only for 2020 but for the next many seasons. Dillard has all the tools – great feet, athletic, big with improved strength. The Eagles are going to test him in every way in this camp. They've got to get him ready for Washington and that team's outstanding defensive front. Dillard has the job protecting Carson Wentz's blind side. There aren't many more important jobs on the roster.
LB T.J. Edwards
One year ago, T.J. Edwards was just trying to get noticed and make the roster after signing with the Eagles as a non-drafted rookie. Now he's lining up with the starting linebacker group in Training Camp and he has a path to major playing time for a very strong defense. Edwards has the instincts and the smarts, and after working on his core in the offseason, he looks more explosive in a defense he now knows. Edwards is a prime candidate for following that axiom that players improve the most from Year 1 to Year 2 in the NFL.
G Nate Herbig
After making the roster as a non-drafted rookie in 2019, Nate Herbig used the offseason to gain strength and lose some of his baby fat, so to speak. He looks big and strong and solid on the field in Training Camp. The Eagles need some interior depth and Herbig is a contender to be one on whom the Eagles are counting. Boy, that experience in the preseason really would have helped. All 32 NFL teams are saying the same thing.
DT Malik Jackson
An iron man for seven NFL seasons and one of the very best defensive tackles in the league, Malik Jackson lasted all of one game in 2019 before suffering a season-ending foot injury. Well, the Eagles need him to bounce back. He needs to bounce back. A great leader and a man who loves the game of football, Jackson is in excellent shape and ready to make a big contribution to a defensive tackle group that should be a strength of this defense. Jackson, who had a scheduled rest day on Tuesday, is all-in for this Training Camp.
T Jordan Mailata
Don't you get the sense that this is a "crossroads" summer for Jordan Mailata, the seventh-round draft pick in 2018 who wowed observers with his athleticism as he learned the NFL game? He's come a long way since then, for sure, but Mailata has also had injuries to deal with and has not enjoyed the kind of experience he absolutely needs to convince everyone that he can be trusted in an NFL game. Unfortunately, Mailata won't have the benefit of preseason games, so these Training Camp sessions are extremely important for him. The Eagles need some young players to prove they can provide depth for the regular season. Why not Mailata as a swing tackle?
DE Shareef Miller
Another second-year player who didn't see the field much in his rookie season, Shareef Miller has work to do to get into the rotation at defensive end. He was a fourth-round draft pick in 2019. The Eagles figured he would need some time to blossom at this level. The time is now for Miller.
S Will Parks
Here on a one-year contract following four seasons in Denver, Will Parks figures to play a dynamic role in the defense as he moves around the scheme. Whether he starts or not remains to be seen as Jalen Mills has lined up next to Rodney McLeod at safety, but Parks should get some meaningful reps as he carves out a career niche of being a versatile, productive player on defense. Let's see how the Eagles use Parks. Should be fun to watch.
QB Nate Sudfeld
As the No. 2 quarterback on the roster, Nate Sudfeld is actually in the same position he was a little over 12 months ago. Last year, he suffered the broken wrist in the preseason game, forcing the Eagles to sign Josh McCown. Sudfeld is here on a one-year deal and he's got quite a lot of responsibility this summer. The Eagles need to know, and they probably already have this confidence having been around Sudfeld for three-plus seasons, that he can step in should Wentz go down.