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6 Eagles that need an impressive showing at OTAs

Eliot Shorr-Parks
April 15, 2019 - 5:30 am

For the fourth time under head coach Doug Pederson the Eagles will be opening OTAs on Monday, the beginning of the 2019 season and the team’s attempt to get back to being a legitimate Super Bowl contender. 

The major storyline surrounding this team is obvious — the return of quarterback Carson Wentz to being the starter and how he responds to two back-to-back seasons that have ended on the sideline due to injury. 

The beginning of OTAs is also a critical time for other players on the roster, however — players that will be fighting for jobs and playing time. 

Nate Sudfeld: The Eagles backup quarterback from the last two seasons has left, incase you didn’t hear. That leaves Nate Sudfeld as the frontrunner for the job right now, with the key phrase being “right now.” The Eagles are high on Sudfeld but he have also made it clear they want him to compete, whether that be with a veteran or a player they select in the 2019 NFL Draft. The Eagles would prefer that Sudfeld wins the job and makes them believe he can lead this team if Wentz goes down again. If he struggles, however, they could quickly decide to bring in a proven veteran that will end the competition and be Wentz’s backup over Sudfeld. 

Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson: The Eagles drafted Hollins and Gibson in hopes they would  become starters on the outside and help them stretch the field. That hasn’t worked out, and it has caused the Eagles to bring in Mike Wallace in 2018 and DeSean Jackson this offseason to fill that role. Now, Hollins and Gibson find themselves not in the conversation for starting jobs, but fighting for their jobs. The Eagles are likely going to draft a receiver this year, and depending how high it is, that receiver could mean either Hollins or Gibson won’t be back.  

Josh Sweat: Sweat had a redshirt year of sorts in 2018, but with his rookie year behind him, it is time for Sweat to step up and contribute in 2019. That much is clear after the departure of Michael Bennett and the (potential) departure of Chris Long. Even with Vinny Curry’s return, the Eagles need Sweat to give them productive snaps this season. The team remains very high on the ultra-athletic Sweat, but with a rookie defensive end likely coming in, Sweat has a lot to prove this offseason. 

Josh Adams: Adams’ rookie season was filled with extreme highs-and-lows. He was released at the end of training camp, only to be brought back and eventually win the starting job. For a few weeks he looked to be another steal by the Eagles and a player that they had to give the ball to each week. Then, Adams hit the rookie wall and was not as productive in the final weeks of the season. The Eagles have already brought in one running back, trading for Jordan Howard. It would be surprising if they didn’t add another one, either through the draft or through a trade. That means there are likely only two spots for Corey Clement, Wendell Smallwood and Adams — and maybe only one if Darren Sproles comes back. 

Sidney Jones: When Jones arrived at OTAs as a rookie, he did so knowing he likely wouldn’t play at all that season. When he arrived for his second season, he expected to play a large role and start — something that didn’t really end up happening. Injuries were once again an issue for Jones last season, and now entering his third year, it is time for the cornerback to make good on the second-round pick the team invested him in 2017. It will be interesting to see if Jones is handed a starting job, or if he is forced to compete with the other young, talented cornerbacks on the roster. Either way, Jones making it through the offseason simply healthy, not missing any time, is crucial. 

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