5 potential Philadelphia Eagles position battles between a rookie and a vet
Philadelphia Eagles’ Rasul Douglas runs a drill during an NFL football rookie minicamp at the team’s training facility in Philadelphia, Friday, May 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
First-year players took the field for the Philadelphia Eagles rookie minicamp over the weekend, and now the youngests are clear to join the veterans for workouts over the next month. The team will hit the field for organized team activities starting May 22, and the mandatory full-team minicamp will run from June 13-15.
That means the Birds’ will soon be sharing turf with the older players, making way for position battles to crystalize.
Here’s a look at five potential competitions that could arise between rookies and players with experience.
The Eagles drafted Barnett, a defensive end out of Tennessee, with the 14th overall pick last month in an attempt to bolster their pass rush. But Vinny Curry has four years left on a lucrative contract, while the 32-year-old Long signed with Philly this offseason in hopes of earning a more expanded role than he played last season in New England.
These qualified defensive ends will likely be competing for one starting spot, opposite Brandon Graham. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz often rotates his defensive linemen, so all three should see the field, but Barnett’s youth and potential give him an edge over two pass-rushers who were mediocre at best in 2016.
Graham, a 2016 second-team all-pro, has missed recent voluntary workouts with the Eagles. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Graham wants to restructure his contract, while other outlets have refuted that report. In any case, if Graham is absent for a part of the regular season, it would alter the complexion of the defensive end rotation.
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