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Eagles Rookies Wisely Used Time Away From NovaCare Complex


2017 Training Camp is officially underway. Check out all of the photos from the first day of action in South Philadelphia.

The Eagles' newcomers were eager to take the field at the NovaCare Complex on Monday morning for the first of many Training Camp practices.

Defensive end Derek Barnett, the team's first-round pick, might be counted upon to provide meaningful minutes for the team this year. While aware of lofty expectations, Barnett indicated he feels no pressure because he doesn't believe there's a harder critic out there than himself.

"There's no nerves coming back in here, I'm more anxious I'd say," Barnett said, "I'm excited to put the pads on and I'm excited to get the season started because it's been a while since I played a real game."

Rookie running back Donnel Pumphrey is ready to put the questions about his size to rest. The lightest player on the roster at 5-8, 176 pounds, Pumphrey has grown accustomed to the critique, but let's his playing speak for itself.

"I was ready to roll," Pumphrey said. "I didn't mess up not once today in practice, plays wise. I feel very comfortable in the offense."

Third-round cornerback Rasul Douglas was aware of some of the mistakes he made during the spring practices and used the time before Training Camp to fix them.

"It was strong at first because we were only running a few coverages," Douglas said of his performance earlier in the spring. "Then, once we started learning a few coverages I just found myself mentally messing up checks and stuff. I could process the first call, but once I had the second call I had to process that and the play was already snapped."

Douglas worked out in California with former NFL defensive back Jason David along with a number of other cornerbacks from the 2017 draft class. His persistence on improving his technique, eye discipline, and familiarizing himself with the playbook showed as the cornerback was responsible for a few pass breakups in practice. Undrafted rookie running back Corey Clement focused his offseason objective on shredding a few unwanted pounds. Since signing with the Eagles, Clement has trimmed down 12 pounds, from 227 to 215.

"I spent a lot of time on the conditioning part," Clement expressed. "I really didn't touch weights too much. It was all body weight stuff. I just made sure that I slimmed down coming into camp. I feel great. Coming in and out of my routes, running, I feel a lot lighter on my feet. I just want to show the coaching staff I can be a lighter back and more versatile."

Another rookie free agent, Greg Ward, continues his transition from college quarterback to NFL wide out. The former signal-caller showed flashes at receiver during 7-on-7 drills when he made an impressive one-handed grab in the end zone. Ward spent some of his time between the minicamp and Training camp in North Dakota working with quarterback Carson Wentz and the other wide receivers.

"It was good to get to know the people on the inside and just have fun," said Ward. "We put in hard work and had fun after that."

The rookies will look to build upon their debut performances Tuesday and Wednesday before the remaining Eagles veterans return to NovaCare Complex for the first full-team practice Thursday.

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