Miles Sanders

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5 storylines: Eagles OTAs

Eliot Shorr-Parks
May 21, 2019 - 8:32 am
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Slowly but surely, Eagles football is getting closer to returning — and today will be our best look yet at what it might look like when it is indeed back. 

Related: Eagles Report Card: Running backs

For the first time since free agency, the NFL Draft and various other trades have taken place, the 2019 Eagles will take the field at the NovaCare Complex for the first on-the-field day of OTAS for the entire team. 

As is always the case with the Eagles, the first day of practice brings plenty of intrigue and drama, especially around their starting quarterback. 

Here are the top five storylines surrounding the Eagles entering Tuesday’s practice:

1. Carson Wentz

The 2019 Eagles season is all about Wentz, so it only makes sense that the first day of OTA practices would be about him as well. On Monday, Ian Rapoport reported that Wentz will particiate in all drills and have "no limitations," a good sign. 

2. Nickel cornerback

Other than quarterback, the biggest question on the Eagles is at cornerback, and how the team will lineup. The starting outside cornerbacks on Tuesday will likely be impacted by injuries — Ronald Darby is recovering from a torn ACL and Jalen Mills is recovering from a foot injury. The real question is at nickel cornerback. Will it be Sidney Jones, who started at nickel last season? Will it be Avonte Maddox, who played at a high level last season on the inside when asked to do so? Or will it be Cre’von LeBlanc, who played at a borderline elite-level at the position towards the end of last season and in the playoffs? The Eagles have plenty of options, but the decision isn’t an easy one. We’ll get out first clue on Tuesday on which direction they are leaning. 

3. Miles Sanders

Of all the rookies that make up the 2019 draft class, none have more pressure on them than rookie running back Miles Sanders. The 53rd overall pick, Sanders is expected to contribute right away and make an instant impact on the offense. That is just the reality for running backs taken that high in the NFL Draft. The Eagles obviously won’t be tackling on Tuesday, but getting a look at Sanders with the other veterans, and an update on how he is doing picking up the playbook, could be our first sign of whether he is capable of meeting the expectations he faces this season. 

4. Jordan Mailata

The Eagles hope locked in their left tackle in the future when they selected Andre Dillard in the first round of this year’s draft. That selection meant their old left tackle of the future, Jordan Mailata, either needs a new position or a new home. The Eagles cross-train almost all of their backup offensive linemen to play multiple positions, but that wasn’t the case last season with Mailata, who only played tackle. Now that he is potentially fourth-string at that position, behind Jason Peters, Halapoulivaati Vaitai and Dillard, the Eagles will likely start to focus more of his time at guard. It will be interesting to see if he lines up at guard on Tuesday at all, and if he does, how much of his time is spent at the new position. 

5. Malcolm Jenkins

Malcolm Jenkins will reportedly be a no-show when OTAs begin, as he is unhappy with his contract situation, and understandably so. The 31-year-old safety is the unquestioned leader of the Eagles, leading the defense in snaps each of the last three seasons, totaling 3,003 snaps. Jenkins has a 2019 base salary of just over $8 million and a 2020 base salary of less than $8 million. 

You can reach Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at esp@94wip.com!

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