The Eagles have been making a habit of taking field trips in recent days. First, it was a team-sanctioned bowling trip to South Philadelphia and then the defensive backs jetted up to New York for a feast. Over the weekend, the rookies took a hands-on tour of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
The trip to Canton is a yearly ritual for the new draft class, a chance for them to explore the museum and inhale all the greatness that came before them. It’s always an exciting window into the lives of NFL players, and this year’s excursion didn’t disappoint, as evidenced on the players’ social media accounts.
Left tackle Andre Dillard did his best “Salt Bae” impression during a cooking class, while wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside showed off his skills on the saute pan.
Running back Miles Sanders kicked it in the airport with his Nikes on. Defensive end Shareef Miller took close-ups of his favorite bronze busts, predictably he honed in on the Eagles greats since the Philadelphia native grew up cheering for the hometown team. And he seemed in awe of Terrell Owens’ bust, as well as the one for the incomparable Reggie White.
And all of them snapped inspirational photos of their draft cards, with Miller labeling his post with “Never Forget.” Dillard even strapped on an old leatherhead helmet, for old time’s sake.
Eagles rookies impressing coaching staff this spring
Big things are expected from these rookies heading into training camp. Sanders is supposed to form a formidable one-two punch in the backfield with bruiser Jordan Howard, but that preview hasn’t come to fruition yet as the rookie battles a nagging hamstring issue. Meanwhile, Arcega-Whiteside was one of the biggest highlights of the recently completed OTAs. He is already winning praise from head coach Doug Pederson for his ability to win jump balls.
“This kid has deceiving speed, long speed, No. 1. He’s big. He’s physical at the top. You can see some of his separation when there’s contact at the top of routes where he can separate,” Pederson told reporters. “Got a really good first step quickness at the line to release, and he’s a big — just a big body. We’ve seen him in the red zone a little bit and being able to you know [work] some back shoulder throws and some of the things you’ve seen on tape in college. He’s been impressive that way”
Miller’s story is well-documented, a lifelong Eagles fan who lost his brother to gun violence in West Philadelphia. Dillard’s turn will come in due time as he sits behind starting left tackle Jason Peters and learns the position from one of the best to ever do it. Peters is destined for the Pro Football Hall of Fame one day, once he hangs his cleats up for good.
“It would really mean a lot, but I’m not thinking about that right now,” Peters told PhiladelphiaEagles.com. “I’m looking forward to the season and making another run.”
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