For three weeks the Eagles have conducted their Organized Team Activities and I would say that the results have been overwhelmingly positive. The team chemistry is terrific. Talent is obvious up and down the roster. Attendance has been strong and, most important, the Eagles have -- fingers are crossed -- been healthy up to this point.
From Tuesday-Thursday this week the Eagles conduct their mandatory mini-camp of the offseason. The practices won't be any different than the OTAs, other than the practices are mandatory.
But we're going to have an order established leading to training camp. Here are some of the things on my mind as the final days of the pre-training camp camps approach ...
- I believe that first-round draft pick Fletcher Cox will have his contract done soon. Very soon. Cox Tweeted on Friday something to the effect that he felt his contract would soon be complete, but no announcement has been made. Stay tuned. It won't be long now.
- I see Riley Cooper making this team. He is running well, has size and good hands and is an excellent special-teams player. Marvin McNutt is improving, and he's a prospect, but he is a few years behind Cooper in terms of knowing the offense and knowing the NFL game.
- New Eagles President Don Smolenski is not going to be a "football guy," in case you were wondering. He has a great relationship with the football side of the organization, and he is leaving it in Andy Reid's and Howie Roseman's hands. "I don't think they need a biology major from Amherst making their decisions," Smolenski said, chuckling.
- It's really hard to get a gauge on the line of scrimmage at these practices, but I see some good competition for depth spots along the offensive line. I do like the athletic ability of Demetress Bell a lot. He's very agile and has long arms and strength. I honestly haven't watched a lot otherwise up front. The defensive line is loaded and I will say this: Every time I look up, Derek Landri is making plays from his tackle position.
- Everyone is expected to be at practice on Tuesday, as far as I know. Monday is considered a travel day.
- Which rookies are likely to push for serious playing time? Of course, it's too early to tell but you can pencil in Cox and Vinny Curry along the defensive line and linebacker Mychal Kendricks, who is starting on the strong side. Brandon Boykin and Joselio Hanson have a terrific battle already happening. Damaris Johnson is an electrifying presence on the field with his quickness and he will get a shot on special teams. I wonder if Bryce Brown can return kickoffs? He has good size and speed. Might be a way for him to make the team and make an impact.
- The Eagles aren't handing Stanley Havili the starting fullback job. Rookie free agent Emil Igwenagu is putting on a good show so far in the OTAs.
- Maybe I'm dreaming but I see all three tight ends on the roster behind Brent Celek looking good. They can all run. They're all good targets with soft hands. Clay Harbor is in the lead, obviously, but Brett Brackett and even rookie Chase Ford, who had a quiet career at Miami, is running routes and catching passes in the spring. I know, I know: Wait until the pads go on.
- Thunder in six games in the NBA Finals. I, for one, am glad to see LeBron James and the Miami Heat there, though. If you think James isn't special, a great player, a supreme talent, well, you aren't watching these playoffs.
- I'm looking forward to the next phase of rookie quarterback Nick Foles' progression. He's been outstanding thus far. I'm not saying that he could go in there and win 10 games in his rookie season, but he looks very, very good to date.
- Curry has been sidelined by a sprained ankle, but I don't think it's going to be anything long term. Rick Burkholder and his athletic training staff have a good handle on things.
- Prior to the draft, etc, I figured that expanding the roster to 90 players would be an added strain on Roseman and his staff. That doesn't appear to be the case at all. The Eagles aren't in any hurry to get to the 90-man limit. Clearly, there is a drop off in talent from 80 to 90 players at the end of the roster.