Some news, notes, and this and that in the final week of June, with Training Camp waiting in a month's time …
1. We're still a long way from the start of the regular season and there is no official depth chart, so projecting who is in line to start where and who will make the 53-man roster is a bit of a moot point now, but it's interesting to take a peek at the offensive line as a whole. The Eagles potentially are going to have a much different look protecting quarterback Carson Wentz and opening holes in the running game with right guard Brandon Brooks lost for the season after suffering a torn Achilles tendon, with left tackle Jason Peters an unrestricted free agent, and with valuable swing tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai signing with Detroit in free agency.
Second-year man Andre Dillard has added weight and strength in his first full NFL offseason, hopefully taking a really important step forward as he projects as the team's starting left tackle. Matt Pryor played well at the end of 2019 replacing Brooks at right guard, and Pryor would appear to be first in line for that position. Who is the swing tackle? Is Jordan Mailata, who we have obviously not seen nor heard from this offseason, ready to be a capable gameday player in his third season of American football? Can rookies Jack Driscoll and Prince Tega Wanogho provide that kind of depth? How about Casey Tucker, who was on Detroit's practice squad last season? Offensive Line Coach/Run Game Coordinator Jeff Stoutland, the best in the business, has his work cut out for him when camp opens.
2. Scary video of tight end Dallas Goedert being sucker-punched in South Dakota over the weekend, and the good news is that Goedert is apparently feeling fine after being treated at a local hospital and released. Police there have arrested a man and charged him with simple assault. It's a reminder of how dangerous it is for players to be in the general public at times and when you question why a player is reluctant to pose for pictures and meet the fans in public settings, these are the kinds of incidents that explain that kind of behavior.
3. What's the plan for first-round draft pick Jalen Reagor? It's really the same as it always is for rookies: Begin in one position and expand responsibilities from there.
"Right now, he's going to come in and he's going to learn one position and he is going to learn from DeSean Jackson and learn everything he can," Head Coach Doug Pederson said. "Obviously, the playbook is extensive and we just have to see what he's taken from the offseason to Training Camp, and then once we see his potential and his growth, then we can use him in multiple spots. But one of the things that all of our receivers really have the capability of doing is moving inside, whether they are an outside guy going inside or an inside guy going outside. We'll keep him at one position to start and we'll grow from there."
Greg Ward, then, would seem to enter Training Camp as the "starter" in the slot. All of this is subject to change, of course. This is just conversation during a very slow time.
4. Josh Sweat. Shareef Miller. Daeshon Hall. Genard Avery. Joe Ostman. Casey Toohill. Those are the defensive ends on the current roster slated to back up starters Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett. Is there enough depth here? In 2017, the Eagles' defensive ends contributed 23.5 quarterback sacks in the Super Bowl-winning season. In 2018, the total was 22 quarterback sacks. Last year, the number was 25 sacks. Vinny Curry contributed five sacks mostly in a reserve role. Sweat made a nice jump in his second season with four sacks. There is some good talent here. The Eagles need this young group to take a leap. They need Sweat to continue to develop. They need production from Miller. They need to find a role for Avery. They need to see if what Ostman, who is coming off a knee injury, showed in Training Camp last year is real. They need to get Hall, also rehabbing a knee injury, healthy and stronger.
5. The defense permitted 50 passing plays of 20-plus yards in 2019, so it's no surprise that the reworked secondary may end up being the most improved part of the team in 2020. The additions of cornerbacks Darius Slay and Nickell Robey-Coleman, along with safeties Will Parks and K'Von Wallace (draft) give the Eagles a lot of position flexibility, which plays into what coordinator Jim Schwartz wants. So there it is: My early nomination for most improved position group is the secondary.
6. Is adding a running back on the agenda for the Eagles between now and camp? Maybe. Maybe not, says Pederson.
"Right now, we're going to continue to look and see if we can add value, add depth, add competition to that room," Pederson said. "But we are very comfortable, and excited about Miles (Sanders), what he did in his rookie season, what he can do now moving forward. He's excited about the upcoming season. He's excited about getting back to Training Camp. Boston Scott came on at the end of the season for us and performed well. Corey (Clement) had a heck of a year in 2017 for us as a rookie. It's unfortunate again, but he's put himself in a position to come back and help us through injury. Then we have some young guys that we are excited about looking at.
"You know that the running back position for us has been sort of by committee. It's been two, three guys each and every week that not only help us in the run game but can also help us on special teams and that's also a big part of this. I'm looking forward again to getting these young guys in the building, getting them on the grass and showing us what they can do."