The depth chart is something that gets tweaked and updated throughout training camp — and sometimes into the regular season. Injuries have a major impact on how players get shuffled and moved around, with veteran free agents and undrafted rookies dotting the NFL landscape. Simply put, the Eagles’ depth chart is very much a work in progress.
After the first day of training camp, there was already a seismic shift. Jalen Mills (foot) was placed on the PUP list and won’t practice until he is medically cleared for contact. Ronald Darby was active, but he was on a side field with a heavy brace on his surgically repaired right knee. At this point, the two starting cornerbacks are in question for Week 1. Head coach Doug Pederson didn’t seem too concerned.
“You never know how the season is going to play out because anything can happen, but it’s encouraging from the standpoint we have a few more guys practicing,” Pederson told reporters. “Guys that didn’t practice this time last year are out there. We still have to be cautious with the guys that are still working through some stuff.”
Other players that didn’t participate in 11-on-11 drills included: Fletcher Cox, Brandon Brooks, Nigel Bradham, Rodney McLeod and Derek Barnett. Miles Sanders, Josh Adams and Corey Clement were in and out.
Eagles’ First Defensive Depth Chart
Cornerback: Rasul Douglas, Avonte Maddox
With Mills and Darby out, Douglas and Maddox took the first-team reps on the outside at the first practice. Sidney Jones played in the nickel package. Not surprising, until you consider Jones now becomes the fifth cornerback. Jones, the No. 1 cornerback prospect coming out of college before an ACL tear, was supposed to take a big leap in his third year. Now he’ll have Cre’Von LeBlanc and Jeremiah McKinnon breathing down his neck.
Safety: Malcolm Jenkins, Andrew Sendejo
Jenkins is the heart and soul of the secondary, arguably the entire defense. Sendejo, a player who may still get released for a compensatory pick, was his partner on the backend to start camp. The former Vikings safety looked great and intercepted backup quarterback Nate Sudfeld. Sendejo has the experience to thrive in Philadelphia, at least until starter Rodney McLeod (knee) is cleared for contact.
Defensive Tackle: Malik Jackson, Tim Jernigan
Fletcher Cox will be the starter on the right side once he’s fully healed up from offseason foot surgery. For now, Jernigan will get the first-team snaps — not the worst idea for a guy fighting back from a back injury. Jackson can also benefit from additional snaps as he builds chemistry with his new linemates after coming from Indianapolis. Again, maybe the Eagles should reach out to free agent Mike Daniels.
Linebacker: Kamu Grugier-Hill, Nate Gerry, Zach Brown
The Eagles are being cautious with starter Nigel Bradham who broke his thumb in three places last year. Gerry took his spot in the field, but there is very much a competition for the fourth linebacker among Paul Worrilow, L.J. Fort and rookie T.J. Edwards. Brown was the odd man out in the nickel package.
Defensive Ends: Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry
Derek Barnett was in and out as he rehabs his bum shoulder. Curry got the starting nod in the base defense. Shareef Miller and Josh Sweat are in a heated battle to win the job as the team’s fourth edge rusher. Look out for Joe Ostman, too. The second-year player has a high motor and never takes plays off.
Eagles’ First Offensive Depth Chart
Quarterback: Carson Wentz
Wentz continues to impress with his rocket arm and pinpoint accuracy. He aired it out to DeSean Jackson and threaded to the needle to Nelson Agholor Thursday on two highlight-reel plays. Nate Sudfeld was the No. 2 quarterback, followed by rookie Clayton Thorson (3) and veteran Cody Kessler (4).
Running Back: Jordan Howard
The former Bears bruiser is entrenched as the bellcow, but everyone knows Miles Sanders is waiting in the wings. The rookie was juking and jiving his way to a bigger role already on day one. Darren Sproles took first-team reps Thursday as the No. 3 running back, with Corey Clement sitting out.
Wide Receiver: DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor
Remember, the Eagles plan on using a lot of 12 personnel this season. That means Nelson Agholor will start in the slot. Immensely talented rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside remains the fourth receiver — and Mack Hollins fights for the fifth and presumably the last spot on the roster.
Tight End: Zach Ertz
Ertz is arguably the best tight end in football and isn’t going anywhere. Meanwhile, second-year player Dallas Goedert will be relied on heavily in red-zone packages and 12 personnel. He can almost be viewed as a starter.
Offensive Line: Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Lane Johnson, Jason Kelce, Isaac Seumalo, Jason Peters
With Brandon Brooks working off on the side, Big V got the start at right guard. Utility man Stefen Wisniewski took a few snaps at center. Australian rugby star Jordan Mailata keeps dropping down the depth chart.
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