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Alshon Jeffery Highlight Leads OTA Notes


"All of a sudden the room is crowded. It's a lot of competition there," safety Malcolm Jenkins said regarding the wide receiver position.

One of the big additions was that of Alshon Jeffery in free agency. During a goal-line drill on Thursday, Jeffery showcased what the Eagles and their fans hope to see a lot more of this upcoming season.

Here are the other six notes and observations from Thursday's Organized Team Activity.

1. Ertz Understands Challenge For Jones, Qualls

Eagles draft picks Sidney Jones and Elijah Qualls haven't taken part in any of the offseason program since the team held a Rookie Minicamp two weeks after the NFL Draft.

Blame it on the rules.

A rule that many call outdated and that is the topic of conversation to change between the American Football Coaches Association and the NFL was instituted 25 years ago to prohibit student-athletes from schools on the quarters system from taking part in league-related workouts and practices until their classes have graduated.

A majority of the Pac-12 is on the quarters system and so the University of Washington – where both Jones and Qualls attend – doesn't hold its graduation until Saturday, June 10. Thus, both Jones and Qualls are expected to be in attendance next week for the mandatory minicamp, and not a moment too soon.

While Jones remains in recovery from a torn Achilles tendon injury suffered in March and wouldn't be ready to step on the field, anyway, Qualls is trying to make the roster. Nothing is a given for a sixth-round draft pick.

Losing all of the reps from the OTAs doesn't help.

Tight end Zach Ertz knows the feeling. A second-round draft pick in 2013, Ertz reported for the rookie minicamp and then didn't come back until Training Camp later in the summer. He tried to learn the playbook with some Skype sessions with tight ends coach Justin Peelle, but it wasn't the same.

"It's a tough rule. I think it's got to be abolished," Ertz said. "At the same time, there's got to be a little bit of leeway if guys want to go back and get their degree. I had three classes left in my senior quarter spring. It's just tough with the quarters system. You don't graduate until June.

"It's tough when you're a rookie. I came right into Training Camp and things are running a million miles an hour. We were in Chip's offense (Chip Kelly, former head coach) and it was eye-opening, for sure. I think it's smart to do away with the rule."

In a sense, then, Ertz was guessing for much of his rookie season. He finished that year with 36 catches for 469 yards and four touchdowns.

"Luckily, I think I'm a smart guy and I was able to learn the basics and I was able to talk to the coaches through Skype sessions so I was able to learn the offense," Ertz said. "But it's so different going out there, especially because we were running a no-huddle offense."

The Eagles were hard at work as OTAs continued at the NovaCare Conference on Thursday ...

2. Lane Johnson Praises Derek Barnett

Head coach Doug Pederson praised defensive end Derek Barnett at his press conference and the rookie showed why on the field. In the last 11-on-11 drill of the afternoon, Barnett first beat second-team left tackle Dillon Gordon to get to the quarterback. But with an opportunity to go against Lane Johnson, another player who earned kudos from Pederson, Barnett beat him around the edge and got to Wentz for what would have likely been a sack if the pads were on.

"He had a good day today. The one thing about him is he has a terrific bend," Johnson said. "You're not going to break Reggie White's sack record in college if you don't have good traits. His bend is incredible and he has a great motor. He's just a good guy in general."

3. Rasul Douglas Gets First-Team Reps

Cornerback Patrick Robinson was sidelined after making a play on a ball against Jeffery early in the OTA so rookie Rasul Douglas worked as the first-team right cornerback on the base unit. Previously, Douglas only worked with the first-team defense in subpackages.

"You're playing with the best and you're going against the best. You've got to bring your best game when you're playing against the ones," Douglas said. "It increases my confidence and it lets me know I got to make sure I do what I have to do because those guys expect it out of me."

Safety Malcolm Jenkins has helped work with Douglas on the field and likes what he's seeing from the third-round draft pick.

"We're trying to get him out of some habits that he has, but he's trying to grasp our technique and what the coaches are telling him to do," said Jenkins, who played in the slot in subpackages on Thursday. "The one thing that jumped off the tape is he's got the athletic ability to play corner in this league.

"He plays really hard. He's got a lot of effort. Those are things that usually lack from the rookies, especially early when they don't know what they're doing or they're confused. A lot of times the first thing that goes is their effort. He's always around the ball, playing hard. He wants to get better. He's asking questions. It'll be fun to see him once we get some pads on."

4. Donnel Pumphrey: Darren Sproles Is Like A Big Brother

Rookie running back Donnel Pumphrey could have a role for the Eagles early on because of his versatility, but let's not forget that he is the all-time leading rusher in FBS history. On the first play of the final 11-on-11 drill, Pumphrey zig-zagged his way through multiple defenders up the right side of the field eliciting oohs and aahs from the players on the sideline.

"It was a two-minute drill. The defender he tried to assume that I would go out of bounds so I cut it upfield and that's really my bread and butter," Pumphrey said.

In addition to running back, Pumphrey has to learn the nuances of playing as a receiver out of the slot. He's leaned on teammate Darren Sproles to show him the ropes.

"It's been really good. All of the questions I have he's answered," Pumphrey said. "He's been like a big bro to me."

Pumphrey said that fans could see the "Pony" set with both he and Sproles on the field at the same time this season.

5. Extra Work For Wentz, McGloin

With Nick Foles absent from Thursday's OTA as he and his wife, Tori, are expecting their first child, Carson Wentz and Matt McGloin saw an increased amount of reps. At one point during a 7-on-7 drill, Wentz finished his series with the first-team offense and forgot that he had to remain on the field to work with the second-team unit.

6. Allen Barbre Vs. Isaac Seumalo

Allen Barbre has been sidelined for most of the spring with a calf injury, but he worked primarily with the second-team offense at left guard. Barbre did see some first-team reps at left guard, and when this happened Isaac Seumalo played right guard with the second-team group. Chance Warmack was the second-team left guard.

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