One of the more dynamic personalities among the many rookies now in tow at the NovaCare Complex is Georgia defensive tackle Jeff Owens, a seventh-round pick in this year's draft. Owens will gladly tell anyone who's listening that The Sporting News named him the SEC's best personality, and it's obvious that he's got the goods to back that title up. In fact, Owens' 3,383 current twitter followers trail only Brent Celek among all of the Eagles' tweeters.
But for Owens, 6-foot-1, 304 pounds, making an impact for the Eagles will assuredly come down to his talent on the field rather than off. So he's used this week's rookies and selected veterans OTA's to improve his game technique-wise and to further his knowledge of the defensive scheme.
"Oh man, it's going great," Owens said after Thursday's practice. "I'm having a tremendous time out here, learning the system and getting a chance to meet a lot of the new guys. I'm just trying to get ready for the season and (to) try to make this team.
"There's a lot more teaching, going off fundamentals and just trying to learn the playbook, just trying to go over the small things, putting everything in perspective and learning just to be able to play fundamentally sound."
Of course, all rookies have to deal with the huge jump from college football to professional football, where the improvement in talent means that every detail counts.
"There's a ton of different things (from college)," Owens said. "It's a whole new level. Guys are more bigger, faster and stronger so you have to be prepared for everything. Like I said, in college, you could just beat guys off your strength and your ability, but when you get here you have to be more technically sound and have more fundamentals."
While he can't rely on strength alone, power is one of Owens' best assets. He recorded a combine-best 44 bench press reps among defensive linemen, second only to Arkansas' offensive lineman Mitch Petrus' 45 reps. That performance made it curious that Owens slipped all the way to the back end of the seventh round, though it likely had to do with the knee injury he suffered two years ago. Still, the draft-day fall is something Owens will use as motivation for the rest of his career.
"I'm just trying to come out here and try to earn me a spot on this team," he said. "I have a chip on my shoulder and I'm just trying to do everything I can to make this team."
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 8:00 p.m., May 21