Photos: Eagles Rookies

Wake-Up Call: Matthews Training With the Best

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Pro Bowl is the mandate. We’re not here just to play football. We’re here to dominate.

That’s the motto that floated off the lips of Tom Bender when speaking of his Atlanta-based program, which trains anywhere from 25-35 NFL players at a time during the offseason. It sounds a bit bold until you consider that his clientele includes the likes of Calvin Johnson, A.J. Green and Demaryius Thomas, arguably the top three receivers in the game.

This is the environment Jordan Matthews has nestled into for the past week, and where he’ll remain until the Eagles open training camp.  Read more »

Wake-Up Call: Coaches Remain High On Watkins

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Much of the attention paid to Jaylen Watkins faded as the draft gave way to OTAs and minicamp.

The more that was learned about the Florida product after he was selected in the fourth round by the Eagles, the more expectations grew. A team captain who ran a 4.41 40 on a bad wheel that can play safety and corner? Some wondered if he could make a push for playing time from the jump.

Like many of  his fellow rookies, though, the Florida product found himself working with the third team for most of the spring. Any thoughts of him skyrocketing up the depth chart were put on hold as he began negotiating the steep NFL learning curve.

While he may not have captured the headlines or flashed as much as, say, fellow corner Nolan Carroll this spring, the coaching staff remains optimistic that Watkins can have an impact in 2014 — though there is still plenty of work to be done. Read more »

Some Old, Some New For Watkins

Watkins Matthews
If you’re trying to get a feel for what Jaylen Watkins is like as a player, talking with Jordan Matthews is a pretty good place to start. Watkins and Matthews both began playing college ball in 2010, and as conference foes in the SEC, went up against one another quite a bit.

“The thing that I remember is that I could never get away from him,” said Matthews. “I would  go outside and he’s standing there staring me in the face. And then I would go to the ‘Y’ in the three-by-one in any type of ’10′ personnel and he’s coming over and playing ‘one’ coverage over top of me, too. Jaylen is so versatile,” said Matthews. Read more »

Eagles Sign Jaylen Watkins, Taylor Hart

Jaylen Watkins

The Eagles have signed fourth-round pick Jaylen Watkins and fifth-round pick Taylor Hart, the team announced today.

Watkins (5-11, 194), a Florida product, will begin his NFL career at cornerback for the Birds, but could move to safety at some point.

Hart (6-6, 281) played for Chip Kelly and Jerry Azzinaro at Oregon. He’s expected to become an immediate part of the defensive line rotation, backing up either Fletcher Cox or Cedric Thornton at the end spot. Read more »

Three Roseman Leftovers

Taylor Hart
The Eagles had a third-round grade on Oregon defensive lineman Taylor Hart and were eager to land him as Day 3 of the draft commenced. They held the first pick of the fourth round and had to decide whether to pull the trigger immediately or go in a different direction and take the chance that Hart would still be on the board the next time they were on the clock

“I think Howie [Roseman] did a great job of how we ordered it,” said Chip Kelly. “The other guy [Florida DB Jaylen Watkins] would be gone first, so let’s take him. He guaranteed me Hart would be there in the fifth, and he was right.”

How could Roseman be confident enough to offer a guarantee? Teams don’t make it a habit of disclosing their draft boards to the rest of the league. How could he know that Hart would fall to them in the fifth? Read more »

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