No position on the Eagles roster is better stocked with young, premier talent than wide receiver. DeSean Jackson, 23, Jeremy Maclin, 22, and Jason Avant, 27, make up an impressive troika of skill, and all three are locked up for the foreseeable future. Behind them is veteran Hank Baskett, brought back in the off-season as an ideal complementary player.
But behind Baskett is where the real competition is. Fifth-round draft pick Riley Cooper heads a group of five rookies who have been a part of the post-draft mini-camp and the Organized Team Activities. With all those new faces though, it's easy to forget about two promising players who spent time on the practice squad last season and were retained this off-season, Dobson Collins and Jordan Norwood.
Norwood actually made his NFL debut last fall when he appeared in the December 6 game at Atlanta, though he didn't register a catch. He ended up returning to the practice squad the next week, but Norwood said that he and Collins have a bit of an advantage heading into training camp because of the time they spent with the team last year.
"It's an advantage," he said. "I've been around just a little bit longer to kind of get a grasp of the playbook and all the little details that we have in. But I'm still learning a lot too and I'm out there making mistakes too."
The 5-foot-11, 180-pound Norwood would appear to fit in well as a slot receiver because of his quickness, but Norwood, who spent a season on the Penn State basketball team, is also an impressive leaper and has shown in practice that he can make plays all over the field.
"Hopefully I can fit in," he said. "I'm just going to go out there and keep my nose to the ground, do what the coaches ask me to do and hopefully everything works out. Most of it is out of my control, so I'll just do what I can."
For his part, Norwood, whose father Brian is the defensive coordinator at Baylor under Kevin Kolb's former head coach Art Briles, doesn't shy away from competition at all. There may end up only being one spot up for grabs at receiver on this roster and Norwood's looking forward to finding out who's going to grab hold of the job.
"That's the way life is," he said. "There's a lot of competition in anything you're going to do. Nothing's ever going to be handed to you, so all of us as a wide receiver group look forward to the competition and to learning the playbook and hopefully getting out there to contribute to this team."
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 10:30 a.m., May 23