Eagles practice observations

Here are some practice observations from the first two days of training camp with rookies and selected veterans.

* Let’s start with who’s been here. The “selected veterans” refer to Michael Vick, Mike Kafka, Trent Edwards and Keenan Clayton. That’s pretty much it. The rest of the players are scheduled to arrive Wednesday. If you’re looking to attend a practice, Friday would probably be a good day with full-squad workouts.

* These practices, like the ones at the Novacare Complex in the spring, benefit the athletes. That’s why Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie got so much pub in May and June. He didn’t have to hit anyone and could instead show off his athleticism.

One guy who’s stuck out the last two days is rookie linebacker Mychal Kendricks. Kendricks tested out extremely well in just about every category at the combine, but he had an impressive college resume too, earning Pac-12 Player of the Year honors last season. We’ll have to wait and reserve judgement to see how he holds up against the run, but he looks to have good cover skills. Yesterday, he made a nice play on the ball while matched up against tight end Chase Ford. And he was step-for-step with fullback Stanley Havili down the sideline, forcing an incompletion out of bounds.

Earlier today, I wrote about Kendricks’ height, but in the afternoon, he leaped at the line of scrimmage and batted down a Mike Kafka screen pass. Obviously still a long way to go, but Kendricks looks good so far.

* I mentioned Clayton above as one of the only veterans here. Smart move by him. The third-year player will be fighting for a roster spot. Many of the defensive coaches talked today about the need to defend some of the league’s prolific passing attacks. Clayton’s best shot at making the roster will be by proving he has the best cover skills of any of the team’s linebackers.

* I’ve fielded a lot of questions on Twitter about the undrafted free agents. Cornerback Cliff Harris has had several good moments. He intercepted a couple passes yesterday and nearly had a third today, breaking up a deep attempt intended for Damaris Johnson. It’ll be interesting to see if he’s able to make some noise in the next few weeks and compete for a backup cornerback position.

* Speaking of Johnson, he had a drop yesterday, but made a nice catch from Vick today over the middle. If he makes the team, it’ll be as a return man, but I’m sure the 5-8, 175-pound wide receiver is looking to do whatever he can to catch someone’s eye and get a shot in the league, even if it’s not with the Eagles.

You can follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.

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  • limodriver27

    Always nice to read these tidbits when stuck out here in desert. Anxious to see how Kendricks works into the mix. Pat on the back to Tim and Sheil on getting BIRDS 24/7 off the ground.

  • Dan

    Love your posts Sheil. Glad to see that you are still covering the Eagles!

  • Angry Birds

    thumbs up!

  • iskar36

    You mentioned Clayton is making a smart move to be at the camp right now and I was hoping you could clarify. Is it know if Clayton is at these practices voluntarily or is it also possible that the coaches requested that he come to get in a bit extra work?

  • FMWarner

    Nice to see that Kendricks is doing well. I think his success is the most important of any rookie to the Eagles this season.