Eagles Wake-Up Call: Where the Rookies Stand Going Into Camp

In exactly two weeks, the rookies will report to NovaCare to kick off Eagles training camp. July 22 is the report date, then they’ll practice for each of the next two days before the vets show up on the 25th.

With the rooks up first, let’s take a look at where the 2013 draft picks stand heading into camp.

OT LANE JOHNSON

The No. 4 overall pick began the spring working with the second team but got bumped up to first-string right tackle at minicamp. Ideally, the Eagles would like him to stay there. Now that the pads are on, the coaches will get a better sense of how he stacks up against seasoned pass rushers. The 6-6, 310-pounder out of Oklahoma is considered a raw talent. It’s a question of how much of the raw he can get out of him by September.

TE ZACH ERTZ

The tight end out of Stanford missed out on some valuable learning time, as the graduation rules prevented him from participating in OTAs and minicamp. Ertz says that he spent that time in his playbook but he’ll still have plenty of catching up to do, all while competing against Brent Celek and James Casey.

DT BENNIE LOGAN

Logan saw time at nose, the three technique and defensive end this spring. He is projected mainly as an interior lineman. The third-round pick out of LSU has been sticking close to Isaac Sopoaga in hopes of picking up tips that will shorten his learning curve. He’ll be trying to prove that he deserves some playing time in Year One.

QB MATT BARKLEY

Barkley — a four-year starter both in high school and college — is used to being the man, but enters camp behind both Michael Vick and Nick Foles in the quarterback pecking order. It will take a very strong showing in the preseason for the coaching staff to entertain the idea of starting the USC product Week 1. It would be unwise to rule him out completely until we see how he (and his competition) looks running Kelly’s offense.

S EARL WOLFF

The starting safety jobs appear to be up for grabs, and  training camp provides the fifth-round selection out of N.C. State an opportunity to prove that he deserves to be in consideration for one of them. He got a few snaps with the first unit during minicamp, though Patrick Chung and Nate Allen saw the most time with the ones.

DE JOE KRUGER

This could very well be more of a long-term project. Best guess as of right now is that he’ll be fighting to make the 53-man roster and stay off the practice squad.

CB JORDAN POYER

Like Ertz, Poyer was sidelined for much of the offseason training program because of the graduation rules. He has experience playing inside and could conceivably challenge Brandon Boykin for the spot, though it may best to think of him as special teams player to start and view anything else as a bonus.

DE DAVID KING

The D-end spot opposite Fletcher Cox is up for grabs, giving hope to the seventh-rounder out of Oklahoma. He got some work with the second team during minicamp.

WHAT YOU MISSED

One national writer says that few NFL coaches believe Kelly will succeed.

The brand of ball at cornerback promises to be different this season.

A look at the most overrated and underrated Eagles of all time, per NFL.com.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Dan Graziano believes the scheme change will benefit Cox.

Many 2012 draft analysts said Cox profiled as an ideal 3-4 defensive end in the NFL, but I think the hybrid-style stuff Chip Kelly and Bill Davis are working to install in Philadelphia actually lines up better with what Cox can do than a traditional 3-4 look would. Cox can play the run and operate in a two-gap defensive line scheme if need be, but his strength is his ability to shoot gaps and get into the backfield where he can chase down running backs or quarterbacks and break up plays. He’s strong enough to play a traditional 3-4 defensive end spot, which would basically require him to eat up blockers and keep pass-rush lanes open for the outside linebackers. And the Eagles may ask him to do some of that. But this is a player who’s at his best when he’s presented with variety and an ability to freelance. I think the Eagles’ new defense will allow him to do that, and I think he’ll thrive.

StadiumJourney.com (H/T to BGN) recently ranked all the sports venues in Philadelphia, and put Lincoln Financial Field at the top of the list above Citizens Bank Park and the Palestra. It seems to be more of a nod to the fans rather than to the actual venue.

The Philadelphia Eagles are more than simple numbers or the harassment of Father Christmas. Philadelphia is where greats like Reggie White, Chuck Bednarik and Brian Dawkins played and had their numbers retired. The Eagles’ fan base also consistently ranks among the best in the league, placing first in a 2008 Forbes survey and third in both a 1999 and 2006 American City Business Journal survey.

In case you missed it, Jimmy Kempski is shutting down his Blogging the BEast site after two successful years. He’s moving on to bigger and better ventures, and we wish him luck. He’s a good guy and a good writer.

COMING UP

Fourteen days until training camp.