Rookie Camp Preview

Posted: May 10th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 60 Comments »

The Eagles have a rookie camp taking place Friday through Sunday. Then on Monday, there are some full team OTAs. This is a bit different from past seasons. Normally the Eagles first team activity was a post-draft mini-camp for the whole team. This year the Eagles had a pre-draft camp since there was a coaching change so this camp is just for rookies.

The rookie camp isn’t a time for evaluation. This is more a time of letting the young guys get their feet wet. We can’t get excited about anyone looking great or get down about anyone looking lost.

Since veterans won’t be here, the Eagles need some extra bodies so that there are enough players for running drills. The team is having some players in for a tryout. Most are rookie free agents, but one is LB Chris Gocong. I’m sure you remember that Gocong was drafted by the Eagles in 2006. He started at SAM from 2007-2009. He was traded after 2009 to Cleveland. Gocong played well for them, but tore his achilles last year and missed the 2012 season. He would be a good fit as backup SAM. He can rush and cover. The Eagles will want to see how he moves around and if he looks like he’ll be ready by this summer.

Here is the full list of players.  Here are the most interesting tryout names to me:

Rookies
RB Montel Harris – Temple
OL Nic Purcell – Golden West CC
ILB Matt Evans – New Hampshire
CB Anthony Boyles – Idaho State
SS Kenny Tate – Maryland
FS Dontra Peters – New Hampshire

Harris was productive at Boston College for 3 years before being kicked off the team and transferring to Temple. Matt Waldman wrote a very interesting report on Harris and is very high on him.

Purcell is a guy I wrote a bit about.

Evans (6-0, 227) was a tackling machine for UNH. He finished his career with 460 tackles. Evans won the Buck Buchanan Award in 2011 as the nation’s top I-AA defensive player. He had 3 INTs, 3 FFs, 92 solo tackles, and 7.5 TFLs. He also ran 2 of the INTs back for TDs.  Some wonder about his size for ILB. Legit concern. He was tough/strong/physical enough in college, but the NFL is a whole other level.

Boyles started out at Washington and graduated from there in 3 years. He transferred to ISU. Boyles has played CB and WR. He is 6-3, 203 and has potential as a physical, press corner.

Tate was a major star a few years back. Injuries ruined his career at Maryland. He is huge at 6-4, 225. If he can ever stay healthy, he’s got NFL potential.

Peters played CB for UNH as a Senior, after spending his first 3 years on offense. He has good size at 6-0, 201. Peters had 4 INTs this year and has plenty of KOR experience. The Eagles are looking at Peters as a Safety.  He lacks ideal speed.

While I said this isn’t a time for evaluation, that is true for draft picks. The tryout players are absolutely under pressure to show they have NFL ability and potential. These guys don’t need to look polished. They need to show that they are worthy of signing and having as part of the roster battles.

There are some interesting guys that are under contract who will be working out. Guys like TE/H-back Derek Carrier, OL Matt Reynolds, WR Ifeanyi Momah, and BJ Cunningham all have a legit chance to make the roster this year. These players must look good in order to get the coaches attention and build some momentum heading into the OTAs. All except Momah were here last year for at least part of the season. They won’t have any advantages in terms of knowing the schemes/systems, but have had some exposure to NFL practices. The Eagles gave Momah an $85K bonus so they expect him to look good and challenge for a spot.

* * * * *

Matt Barkley and GJ Kinne will be the only 2 QBs at the camp. Kinne would love to play well enough that the Eagles go from looking at him as a camp body to someone with actual NFL potential.

Barkley is going to be very interesting. He is a polished, veteran QB (for a college player). He has played in a pro style type of system. There is every chance in the world that Barkley could actually be impressive. That said, he is still a rookie. You cannot count on him going out there and playing well. He won’t know the system. He won’t have any chemistry with the receivers.

PE.com will have some coverage on Friday. It is going to be fun to see some clips of Barkley and then trying to make way too much out of it.

_


  • Iskar36

    Would Foles have been allowed to go to this mini-camp? I know in past years with AR, it was usually rookies and select veterans, which usually translated to 2nd, maybe 3rd year players that they want there to get the added reps. Since Foles started a few games last year, maybe they didn’t feel he needed/should be there, since he is still a young QB who is developing, I think in years past, there would have been a chance AR would have brought him as well.

    • TommyLawlor

      I don’t think veteran players under contract can take part. New rules.

  • shah8

    Actually, just off the top of my head, I can think of several players that came into rookie camp and basically just stole a position on the team from day one in camp. They never even get to Na Brown status, they’re so established by training camp. We’re mostly talking about people who were brought in fuzzy about what position they play, and they show that they can play the higher value position. There’s also the very talented and very flawed that show that they can overcome it, like Russel Wilson pretty much inserting himself as a potential starter from the start.

    Don’t expect it, but be sure to be open to it. Most of the time, it’s just pretty obvious. Hopefully that fourth round pick on down show something nice… Most intrigued about Momah, for the most part. Does he have good hands and catch with bodies around? That’s the sort of good news that’s bad news for another catcher.

  • Iskar36

    Also, I’m sure you’ll address this at some point, but any quick take on Maclin’s comment:

    “I mean right now, you’ve got Mike going with the ones,” said Maclin, “and Nick [Foles] sprinkling in some reps here and there.”

    http://www.phillymag.com/eagles/2013/05/09/maclin-vick-running-with-first-team/

    First of all, which practices would Maclin have been referring to? The predraft minicamp? Do they have other practices right now that are being run by the coaches?

    If true, seems to me that that’s a pretty significant statement by Maclin.

    • TommyLawlor

      Players are generally the worst source of information. I’d make nothing of that until after we see the OTAs.

      • http://twitter.com/theguyotc the guy

        Also, Vick is getting about 3 times more for a signing bonus in 2013 than Foles and Barkley are likely to get for the year combined. It would be very surprising if he didn’t get the most first team reps.

        • Iskar36

          That would go completely against the idea of an open competition at QB. Both guys need a fair chance at winning the job in a legit competition and you don’t have that if Vick is getting the majority of the snaps.

          • GEagle

            I can’t believe we are actually making something out of this..they had a 3day mini camp, NO PADS, which was basically a walk thru to get everyone to pick up the foundations of the new schemes…they weren’t competing to see who had more chemistry, or who was commanding the offense better…I think Foles will win the job, but I would have never expected Foles to win it in May…you don’t bring back a proud veteran like Vick and relegate him to 2nd string, until he loses his job, and Foles wins it…and even for a Foles fan like me, I wouldn’t want it any other way…and since Foles hasn’t even had an opportunity to win it, there is no issue with him being number 2 on the seating chart, behind a proud veteran….I don’t want Vick to be our Qb, but you do not bring him back, and disrespect him like that…if he isn’t going to be with the first string, Foles will have to earn it, and Vick will have to Lose it…and that’s exactly ow it should be

          • http://twitter.com/theguyotc the guy

            I don’t see why they need a chance to win the job. They’re going to be on the team regardless. They’ll have chances to win the job. But Vick getting the most 1st team snaps is totally unsurprising to me.

          • Iskar36

            The point is not whether Foles or Vick makes the team, the point is who will the starter be week 1. If one guy is getting the majority of the snaps with the first team, he is the guy you prefer winning the job. That doesn’t mean things can’t change if Foles shows enough to over take him, but if Foles is only being sprinkled in with the #1 unit, he has fewer opportunities to build chemistry with the #1 guys making it harder for him to take the starting role. If we are going to go by Kelly’s comments though, then you would expect both guys to get equal reps with the number 1 unit, allowing Kelly to make as close to a fair comparison of the two as possible.

          • http://twitter.com/theguyotc the guy

            I don’t think that’s realistic. Foles and Barkley are young, cheap, and locked in to contracts. Kelly can work with them over a period of years.

            Vick is here on a 1 year deal, and they’re paying him quite a bit if he sticks on the roster. It’s not that they prefer him to win the job. It’s that Kelly needs to know what he has with Vick as soon as possible.

          • Iskar36

            That may be true, but if it is, that would differ pretty significantly from what he has said publicly and what has been discussed on here I would think.

          • GEAgle

            What are these SNAPS that Vick is taking the majority of? the 3day pre draft mini camp, in shorts and a helmet, where they are just trying to get everyone up to speed with the foundation of the new offense?…They havent started to COMPETE yet…once real OTA’s and training camp rolls around, thats when you will see them COMPETE for the job…..we are talking about a 3day mini camp where are defense was two gapping(something I doubt we will see this year)..I cant believe we are making so much out of this

    • Telmert

      Vick is the guy that Kelly has the least first hand knowledge about (by far). He personally scouted and schemed against Foles and Barkley for years, and coached Dixon. Vick is the much bigger question mark, so it would make sense for him to get more reps (and be under more scrutiny).

  • 8paul_c8

    Tommy, any chance on Avis Commark? Big CB, UDFA.

    • Baloophi

      Does Avis try harder?

    • TommyLawlor

      I’ve not heard anything about him and the Eagles. If he’s not here this weekend, he’s likely not going to get a chance. This is the time for fringe players to get their shot.

  • A_T_G

    “We can’t get excited about anyone looking great…”

    Pssh, speak for yourself. I’m expecting to know how many first ballot HOFers we brought in by the end of the weekend. I’m putting the over/under at 3.5.

    • http://twitter.com/theguyotc the guy

      Only 3.5? Typical Negadelphian.

      • TommyLawlor

        Well done, Mr. Guy. Exposing the Negadelphians is job #1.

  • troy412

    Want to see wolf n logan play think they can start day one logan can be great five tech with cox and sop great front three and wolf and chung starting safties

    • GEagle

      if Logan is going to be a starter day one, I could see Logan being the NT, and Sopo moving to 5tec…If Kruger really would have been a 2nd or 3rd round pick if he stayed in college a year, his 2015 projections Are very exciting at 5tec

      • Neil

        I think even if Soap wasn’t in the twilight of his career, Logan would have the superior movement skills, making Logan the more natural fit at 5 if you want both of them on the field.

  • Anders

    How come Nate Mankin isn’t on the list. As far as I Know he never played a snap last season. On the other hand pretty cool that a veteran player can participate and show he is worth a spot. Do you see Gocong playing SAM or ILB? Because he played ILB for the Browns when they played. 3-4 a few years back

    • GEagle

      I would have to Imagine SAM, no? Although since we don’t exactly have a capable backup for Demeco, his experience inside and outside could be valuable to us…I would have to imagine that we would seriously consider signing him, unless his movement is really hampered still by the injury…How good was Gocong covering TE? Do you Remember?..I honestly can’t recall if he was good or bad at it….Baldi talked about how Pete Carrol insanely kept tweaking his roster, with small additions, but a high quantity of additions, til he eventually got the roster he liked…Howie and Chip are both aggressive, so I’m dying to find out what veterans other teams cut on June 1st

      • Anders

        Gocong is not a LB you want covering a TE down the seam, but neither is any of our LBs outside of Kendricks really.

        The benefit of Gocong at ILB is that he have the perfect frame, is athletic enough and I remember him as been very good a shedding blockings when he was a SAM for us.

        I do think he signs if he shows he still got enough movements to atleast be a good backup thumper

        • GEagle

          Thanks man

    • TommyLawlor

      Chris could get a look at ILB, but SAM seems more natural. We looked at Victor Butler and Trevor Scott, both OLBs, so I’m assuming finding depth for SAM is more of a priority than ILB. They do have Jake Knott and Jason Phillips to battle with Casey and Jamar for backup jobs.

      Nate was on the roster the whole year so that may have disqualified him.

      • Anders

        I also assumed he was meant for SAM depth, but I only thought of it because somebody brought it that he played ILB for the Browns.

        Its funny that after 7 years in the NFL, Gocong might actually finally get to play the position he fits best as a 3-4 OLB.

  • http://twitter.com/MFlicker Mike Flick

    Excellent write up. It is interesting to know a little of the background stories of these guys. You know some of these guys are pet projects from scouts and people that they were pushing in the 7th round.

    Thanks,
    Mike

  • izzylangfan

    I don’t want to overstate this, but I live for your DGR’s. That said I’m pretty sure it’s been established that Gocong can set the edge but he can’t cover.

    PS. He can rush but doesn’t get to the QB.

    PPS. Hasn’t it also been established that Cole and Graham can’t cover as well.

    • TommyLawlor

      When I say that Gocong can rush and cover, we’re talking about at a functional level…not that he’d be good in those roles.

      I do think he is a better player than when he left. Chris needed time to learn how to play LB. He started that here and it paid off more in CLE. We’ll see how healthy he is.

  • http://twitter.com/Gator_Hokie Bob Brewer

    I don’t have much to say about the rookie camp and OTAs, but I wanted to make a comment about the quality of the comments on this site.

    I can’t tell everyone how much I appreciate not only the quality of discussion on this site, but the civility shown to opposing views. I was reviewing another Eagles site, and I can barely read the comments anymore. It’s a cesspool of disrespect, trash, and outright boorishness. On this site, people disagree with opinions but, for the most part, are civil toward each other. People were very civil towards me in my displeasure over the Barkley pick and that’s what makes debates fun.

    Thanks a bunch for making this a great environment.

    • GEagle

      Sooo true. The quality of this site(in every way is very tough to beat)…Typically the good respectful sites like this, don’t get as much traffic as the trashy ones…but this site is an exception…you post something decent, come back an hour later, and you will usually find a decent, respectful, intelligent oppinion agreeing or disagreeing with you..land as an Crazed Eagles fan, this is first class!!!…I never even seen someone’s comment hit from a MOD on this site..I don’t even know that they even Mod here, because the comments are typically so respectful, that you don’t even have a chance to see if it gets hit by a mod…It’s awesome to find a site with both great article/responsible/non Lazy/Intel, and respectful, and knowledageable comment section, with a nice amount of traffic…you really can’t beat this…For example, BtheBeast is awesome for the article, but you won’t find much traffic on the comment section…

      • Thomas Fox

        I fought with myself to say anything, but Geagle you are exactly one of those disrespectful, nasty people being spoken of on other sites. Anyone just has to look at phillymag to see for themselves. I’m sorry to be bringing this up here just because this IS an awesome site full of respectful folks. I’m sure you are a great guy and your Eagles knowledge is without reproach. I’m just asking you one birds fan to another to bring the good behavior you display here with you to other sites man. The irony was just too much for me to resist weighing in on. INCOMING!! LOL

        • GEAgle

          Hey Idiot…I RESPOND.,..I dont Instigate!!!
          Happy?..please let me know when you can find one example of me, not talking football, and personally attacking someone for no reason…please find 1 instance! lol…
          ….
          Is there anyway I can post some pics onto this site on monday? lol from inside Novacare? hahaha…Let me know if there is anything I can do with these pics…bTW, meeting Dick Vermiel today hahahahahah..

          By the end of this week, Id be soooo happy to share my eagles credentials with this site!! lol…slily boys lol

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Riccardi/100000855463486 Michael Riccardi

    Tommy, what do you think of the guy out of Harvard, Lyon. 6-2, 260 seems very athletic.

  • Baloophi

    If Kenny Tate performs well and earns a spot, will his supporters refer to themselves as taters?

    • GermanEagle

      Quality!

      • http://twitter.com/benjabad Ben Hert

        Baloophi never disappoints! Plus great jokes sound much better coming from someone named…Baloophi, whatever that is.

        • RC5000

          I guess if you like corn with yer taters.

  • ACViking

    Re: An Arbitrage Story in the NFL Trade Market

    I’ve written before about the Eagles acquisition in early 1969 of second-year WR David McDaniels of Miss Valley State University from the Cowboys for the aging Mike Ditka. In the ’68 draft, Dallas had used a 2nd-Rd pick on McDaniels, who measured 6’4″ 200 lbs and, according to the scouts’ watches, ran a 4.40 40-yard-dash. Turns out, McDaniels ran the 40 in 4.73 because the MVSU track on which he ran measured only 38 yards.

    Anyway, the Eagles made the swap with the ‘Boys for McD on January 27, 1969.

    On July 29, 1969 — just 10 days as an Eagles after he reported to his first and only Philadelphia training camp — the Birds put McDaniels on waivers. Just 10 days.

    But two days later, on July 31, 1969, the Eagles pulled McD from waivers and traded him to the Chicago Bears for a 7th Rd pick in the 1970 draft.

    So the McDaniels’ deal wasn’t a total embarrassment . . . yet.

    The Bears — still run by the crafty George Halas — kept McDaniels for exactly 12 days.

    On August 12, 1969, Chicago traded McDaniels to the Rams, and their head coach George Allen, for a 4th-ROUND PICK.

    Allen had been the Bears’ D-Coordinator from 1958-’65. The story goes that Halas had promised Allen he’d be the next Bears’ HC. But Halas won Coach of the Year Honors in ’65, and Allen grew weary of waiting. So he jumped to the Rams. And Halas initiated legal action, alleging that Allen breached his contract with the Bear. (Halas won the lawsuit but let Allen leave anyway.)

    By the way, the Rams cut McDaniels later in training camp and his NFL career was over, having never caught a single pass. The Eagles used the Bears’ 7th Rd pick to select Notre Dame OT Terry Brennen, who never made it out of the his rookie training camp. And the Bears used the Rams’ 4th Rd’r on Texas A&M OLB Ross Brupbacher . . . who had a decent 7-year career with the Bears and the WFL Birmingham Americans.)
    ______________________

    With rookie camp underway, this story is a reminder of a couple things (for me, at least). First, no matter how good a rookie may have looked in college or on his pro day, you never know what you have until you have it.

    Second, although the last couple of seasons went from bad to worse, the current generation of Eagles fans don’t know how good things were under Andy Reid. Yes, Reid’s tenure ended poorly. And yes, his drafts were for disappointing at times.

    But Reid did deliver 5 NFC Title Games and 1 SB appearance.

    And he never traded a player for a 7th Rd pick only to see the team to which he traded him execute an arbitrage by trading the same guy 12 days for a 4th Rd’r.

    • jshort

      Great post, than again you always have interesting information.

  • HazletonEagle

    I am excited about Gocong. The last time he was a free agent I was interested in having him back considering SAM has been a weakness for us for so long.
    He wasnt flashy, but he did his job so well. Similar to Mike Patterson who most eagle fans loved while they were down on Gocong. Never made much sense to me.
    Gocong was a scapegoat for McDermott when he needed to fill in at MLB due to injury and did poorly in that spot. He should have never been released, he should have taken the SAM job back from Fokou.
    But I have always hoped for Gocong that he would eventually end up as a OLB in a 3-4 and I think we finally have a system that suits him well. I think he can play either OLB position in this defense and see him challenging for a starting job if healthy.

    • A_T_G

      If he really can play both OLB spots post injury, it might allow us to use him and Barwin as ROLB and LOLB instead of SAM and WILL.

      • HazletonEagle

        He failed miserably in his 1 or 2 games at MLB because he couldnt really play sideline to sideline or cover all that well. He was a good run stuffing SAM, and blew up running plays to his side constantly, and a good pass rusher.
        I think he would be more suited to the predator role where he can rush the passer more. But would be a viable backup on the strong side as well.

        • A_T_G

          Isn’t that how the ROLB/LOLB thing would work? The more “SAMish” of the two would play the side where the TE normally lines up, but they would swap roles instead of sides if the TE was on the other side?

          • HazletonEagle

            Yeah. I basically agreed with you.
            Id like to see them used interchangeably since both are better rushing the passer than they are in coverage. Gocong was wonderful at SAM taking on blockers to blow up run plays, but if he did that full time its almost like wasting his pass rushing skills just like we did the first time.
            Switching it up and giving them both opportunites sounds like a good plan to me.

  • ACViking

    Re: Gocong

    As a college senior, CG won the Buch Buchanan award as the best defensive player below Division 1.

    If memory serves, CG was a stand up DE/Rush LB who dominated at Cal Poly.

    He’s a great example of how important it is to be selected by the right team using the right scheme.

    I’m rooting for him to make the team and obviously that he’s recovered from the injury. Talk about versatile, CG could play any of the 4 LB positions in a pinch.

    • http://www.facebook.com/stephen.stempo Stephen Stempo

      I remember looking up gocong when we drafted him. Found a highlight video of him just demolishing as a pass rusher. He was like the defensive version of westbrook. Totally a man amongst boys in division ii. Did not translate as well in the NFL as Westy did obviously but that’s the risk of scouting players below D-I. The good ones look like superheroes but the competition makes it hard to tell if its real or if its just the one guy with a gun in a knife fight.

      • Anders

        Gocong was also played as a SAM lb in 4-3 instead as an pass rushing OLB that he was a much better fit at

    • Thomas Fox

      That nail was struck DEAD center on the head! I couldn’t for the life of me figure out exactly why I was pulling for him to be healthy & impressive enough to grab a roster spot. But you just figured it out for me BEAUTIFULLY AC! Thank you. Now I don’t feel COMPLETELY daft for hoping that .lol

  • troy412

    Anybody think poyer could take the nickel spot From boykin

    • Neil

      Very unlikely in his rookie season, maybe ever. I really like Brandon. His size isn’t much of a knock in the slot, and I think he even has a shot of playing outside with his vertical ability and speed. I could see them both getting on the field in the nickel and dime packages before Poyer replacing Boykin.

      • GEAgle

        Yeah, thats how I see it. I think Boykin will own that nickle spot for a while..I do expect to see Poyer and Boykin when we are in Dime package, with Poyer also contributing on ST..We now have 4 CB’s that I actually like in Bradley,C-dub,Poyer and Boykin, lets hope they realize the most of their potential

  • T_S_O_P

    Quick questio to the knowledgable to confirm: Can Vinny Curry line up in a 2- point stance wearing a 7 and a 5 on his jersey? I suspect not, am I wrong?

    • A_T_G

      I don’t know, but I would guess yes. When teams do the milling around with no one down they don’t pull certain number players, do they? If they start calling him a LB they will probably need to change his number, but is the league that strict about numbers, besides OL?

    • Neil

      You mean because that stance would mean he should be classified as a LB? I’m not entirely sure how the numbering rules work, but I’m sure if his job is to stand on the line of scrimmage and rush the passer most of the time, the NFL would allow it. In terms of his role in the defense rather than his stance presnap, he would be much more like a DE than a LB.

  • Flyin

    Does anyone have any negative vibes from Coach Kelly or any players so far?

    I think Tommy was only critical of Coach when he said he didn’t know what the 4-3 under was. My answer…Coach Kelly hates labels and one man’s 4-3 under may not be Blly’s version. And adaptibility holds you to no labels or schemes.