On a Saturday, when the pads on for the first time in this 2019 Eagles Training Camp, the players went through a crisp two-hour, one-minute practice and then proceeded with the rest of their day: Media, lunch, meetings, walkthrough, dinner, meetings, and good night.
The work during Training Camp, as we know, is not limited to the 90-man roster.
Once the practice fields at the NovaCare Complex were cleared the Eagles' personnel department took over with a scheduled workout that included an NFL veteran coming off a season during which he set a career high with 13 passes defensed. Hours later, the Eagles announced that they had signed cornerback Orlando Scandrick, who comes into a position group that has some intrigue at the moment, which will be discussed in a moment.
First, Scandrick. Here's the report I get: A veteran of 11 seasons who has some versatility, his real strength could be in the slot in this defense. He's a good football player who didn't find a fit in free agency after playing for Kansas City last season. Scandrick impressed in his workout, enough for the Eagles to sign him to a no-risk, one-year contract to come in and compete in a cornerback room that has Jalen Mills on the Physically Unable to Perform list, with Ronald Darby making great progress but still not on the field in a full-time manner as he rehabs from his knee injury, and with Cre'Von LeBlanc missing the last two days with an injury.
Scandrick comes in and has to earn his way. He's got the pedigree to fit into the scheme and he's certainly got something to prove: While there was quite a bit of interest in Scandrick of late, he didn't have a long-term fit anywhere. And we know what the Eagles have done with some of these one-season signings – wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and cornerback Patrick Robinson and defensive end Chris Long are among the huge success stories – so it makes sense that the Eagles saw something they liked in Scandrick's workout and added him in the first week of camp. He's got time to learn a role and if it happens that Scandrick is able to challenge at cornerback, then it's a positive development.
The Eagles know they can't have enough depth at cornerback. They saw what happened last season when the cornerbacks faced so many injuries – Darby was lost for the season with a knee injury, Mills went down with a foot injury in London, Sidney Jones dealed with a hamstring injury, and Avonte Maddox battled a leg injury. The Eagles added depth with Scandrick. They took no risk. They're going to coach Scandrick up and get him integrated into the system.
And then they're going to see how it works out.
This is an example of how a football system works: The pro scouting department keeps grades on every player in the league. Howie Roseman keeps the lines of communication open with agents on the health of players and then the scouting department schedules a workout. Scandrick had some options, reportedly, and chose the Eagles, an NFL destination team.
Look, no question the Eagles would love to have everybody healthy and on the field for every rep at the cornerback position. That's not the situation now. It's why the Eagles claimed Alex Brown off waivers on Friday and it's why the team decided to move forward with Scandrick a day later. The Eagles are challenging this roster, all 90 spots. It's the right thing to do.
Now, we're going to see how it all works out with Scandrick, a bit of a "name" player to add this late in the summer. What happens next is seeing how Scandrick learns the defense and then goes out and shows what he's got on the field. Challenge the cornerbacks. Why not? There is no downside here at a position looking for the right mix and very much understanding that you just can't have enough cornerbacks on the practice field at this time of camp.