Yesterday marked the beginning of phase three of the Philadelphia Eagles offseason program. Yes, OTAs are officially here. Although OTAs are voluntary, they are still important.
For one, this is the first time the team has hit the field together since the end of last season. The new acquisitions are being integrated into the team. It may be just May, but the season is inching closer and closer. Here are five things to look out for during the Eagles OTAs.
1. Development of Carson Wentz
A lot of this offseason was spent surrounding Wentz with weapons. However, if Wentz does not progress, those weapons are not going to be as successful. By no means by saying that it suggests Wentz was bad last season. However, every quarterback should look to get better.
After all, Wentz was thrown into the fire last season. Now, he has a full offseason with the team. He is comfortable with the playbook and seems poised to thrive.
When you have a young quarterback, it is always going to be fun to watch their development through their career.
2. LeGarrette Blount
The Eagles needed an answer at running back and they might have found that when they signed Blount last week.
The thing to watch here is the kind of reps and which team he will be running with. After just being signed last week, if the Eagles give him first team reps already, it is a good sign he will be the Eagles lead back going into the season.
It was rumored he would just be a red zone and third down back, but the reps this early will tell a lot.
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3. The integration of first round pick Derek Barnett
With a pretty stocked defensive line group, where will Barnett fit in? With the likes of Barnett, Vinny Curry, Marcus Smith and Chris Long all competing for the starting job at the right defensive end, who is the player who will shine above the rest.
Obviously, using a first-round pick on a defensive end would allude to him being the starter. However, sometimes transition into the NFL is not the easiest thing.
When you’re a first-round pick, there will always be eyes on you and that will be the case with Barnett in the OTAs and heading into training camp.
4. The Secondary
The Eagles used a plethora of draft picks and resources on the secondary this offseason. Who will be the ones to help take this secondary to the next level?
Obviously, we will not be seeing Sidney Jones in an Eagles uniform until October, but that stills means the likes of Rasul Douglas (third round pick) and Patrick Robinson (FA) will have their chance to compete and take this Eagles secondary by storm.
5. Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith
Last but not least, the two wide receivers free agent pickups, Jeffery and Smith. With these two in Philly, there is a completely different vibe with the receivers group. They are all already competing and fighting for playtime.
But, the single biggest thing with these two is the bond and connection they will build with Carson Wentz. You will see that over time by the throws Wentz gives. If he trusts them, he will just air it out and give them the chance to make a play.
More so than Smith, having Jeffery gives the Eagles and Wentz a true number one receiver, which is something the team needed very badly. It is going to be fun to watch him play this offseason.