Philadelphia Eagles News

Doug Pederson highlights offseason standouts as final week of OTAs kick off

As the Organized Team Activities ride into their third and final week leading into a mandatory team minicamp at the NovaCare Complex, head coach Doug Pederson paused to reflect on some players and what he's seen throughout this 2019 offseason.

On quarterback Carson Wentz, who was cleared at the onset of the OTAs for full participation, Pederson said, "Gosh, he's strong. His lower body is strong. His arm is strong. You are seeing the things that we saw a couple of years ago when he was healthy, obviously. He's leading the offense, leading the team, and really doing a nice job out there. Getting on the same page with DeSean (WR DeSean Jackson) and really kind of getting that rapport going.

"Same with Nelly (WR Nelson Agholor). I think Nelly is another one that's really had a good offseason so far. But, yeah, Carson, been real impressed with where Carson is."

Given that the practices to date have been non-contact and without pads, it's usually the offensive players and the skill-position guys who stand out prior to Training Camp. This year, it's no exception. Pederson also was also later asked in his press conference on Monday to mention any players who have "stood out" during these OTAs.

"On offense, I think Nelson's had a really good offseason," Pederson said. "Dallas Goedert has really improved on where he sort of left off at the end of last year on offense. We talked about Carson a little bit. Defensively, I mean, I think Avonte Maddox has picked up where he left off. He's looking really good. Sidney Jones is playing with the absence of Jalen (Mills) and (Ronald) Darby right now, just playing with confidence and playing with great ability and skill: the player that we drafted.

"And even Rasul Douglas, I think, is another one that's had a really good spring. I think all of these guys have benefited, they're younger players that have benefited from playing in regular-season games and even postseason games. So that's valuable experience."

This is the time of year to establish some continuity and familiarity, so Pederson feels the offseason to date has been a success – he pointed to the rapport Wentz has started with his wide receiver corps as an example. Integrating new players into the system is also an important aspect of the spring.

So, combining those two elements, Pederson was asked about second-round draft pick J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and the progress he's making at wide receiver.

"This kid has deceiving speed, long speed, number one. He's big. He's physical at the top," Pederson said. "You can see some of his separation when there's contact at the top of routes where he can separate. Got a really good first-step quickness at the line to release, and he's a big – just a big body. We've seen him in the red zone a little bit and being able to you know (work) some back-shoulder throws and some of the things you've seen on tape in college. He's been impressive that way.

"But I would say that he's still learning, learning how to run routes, learning how our quarterbacks throw and the timing of things. But he's had a really good spring."

All of the OTA practices are voluntary. Next week's minicamp is mandatory, and Pederson said he expects every player on the roster to be in attendance. That's just his feeling, he said, as the head coach. We'll know more next week.

In the meantime, the beat goes on at the NovaCare Complex as the Eagles conduct their final week of Organized Team Activities.

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