Eagles offseason: A few observations from full-team spring practice

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Eagles observations: Strong attendance at spring practice originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Eagles were back together for spring workouts on Tuesday morning and reporters were allowed in, so I have some observations to share.

As a part of the modified offseason agreed upon by veterans and Nick Sirianni, the Eagles aren’t having full OTAs, so there will be no competitive 11-on-11 or 7-on-7 drills.

All we saw on Tuesday was stretching and positional work, so don’t expect any major revelations here. And, keep in mind, these are all voluntary practices.

Offensive players wore black shirseys, while defensive players wore gray.

1. The Eagles had very strong attendance on Tuesday. By my count, just seven players were absent, among them: Darius Slay, Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Zach Ertz. I wouldn’t expect Ertz to show up any time soon but the others have been at previous workouts and might return. Again, these are voluntary.

A few players were present but didn’t really participate in anything. Notably, OT Le’Raven Clark, a recent signing, was a spectator. He’s coming off a torn Achilles late last season.

2. With most of the team there, I tried to watch how Sirianni split up his time during positional drills. He went from the QBs to the receivers to the offensive line and it looked like offensive coordinator Shane Steichen mostly stayed with the QBs.

But it shouldn’t be surprising that when Sirianni got to the receiver drills, he was very hands-on. Sirianni played receiver in college and coached the position with the Chiefs and Chargers before becoming the Colts’ offensive coordinator.

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3. It was a good sign to see Brandon Brooks (Achilles) and Rodney McLeod (ACL) on the field with their teammates after both veterans suffered injuries last season. They will be two important pieces to get back. Brooks tore his Achilles a year ago in June.

4. I missed rookie camp a couple weeks ago, so Tuesday was my first chance to see DeVonta Smith in person. Yes, he’s slender. But he’s an aggressive catcher. What I mean by that is he goes strong to the ball with his hands and brings it in. He isn’t passive with the ball in the air. I like that.

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5. Jalen Hurts was in attendance, wearing his new No. 1, as was Joe Flacco in No. 7. We didn’t see a lot of Hurts but what we saw looked good. There was even a quick portion where they were going over some read-option looks and his speed around the end is still impressive in person.

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6. The newest Eagles signings and additions were all in attendance: Clark, Ryan Kerrigan, Kerryon Johnson and even DT Willie Henry, who signed on Tuesday morning. It’s still strange to see Kerrigan in Eagles gear.

7. Adrian Killins Jr., the speedy second-year UDFA, was working with receivers for at least part of Tuesday’s session. At 5-8, 177, his best chance to stick in the league might be to show that he can be effective in the slot. He’s still a long shot to make the roster but something to keep an eye on when we get to training camp.

8. A few running backs were working on the JUGS machine before practice. Kenny Gainwell, Kerryon Johnson and Boston Scott all lined up there for a while. We have a sense that Sirianni’s offense will utilize the screen game much more than Doug Pederson’s so it’ll be important for these running backs to work on their hands. If one of those three separates themselves as a pass catcher, they’ll have a chance to earn more playing time.

9. Tyree Jackson is huge. The former college quarterback from Buffalo is 6-foot-7, 249 pounds and looks every bit of 6-foot-7. Jackson is converting to tight end with the Eagles, so he’s a bit of a project but after watching what new TEs coach Jason Michael did with Mo Alie-Cox in Indy, it makes sense to give him some projects in Philly. Jackson might be a long shot to make the roster but I’ll be keeping an eye on him in camp.

10. It’s a little weird to see Isaac Seumalo wearing No. 56 after wearing No. 73 for his first five NFL seasons. It’s weirder because there are new rules for jersey numbers but offensive linemen were always allowed to wear numbers in the 50s. I guess Chris Long had 56 for a while and Casey Toohilll had it last year for a bit before he ended up in Washington. But 56 is going to take some getting used to.

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