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Training Camp Stock Report

WR Russell Shepard has been a pleasant surprise at Eagles training camp

WR Russell Shepard has been a pleasant surprise at Eagles training camp

As a disclaimer, I was unable to attend Sunday’s practice. This stock report is based on a collection of first hand accounts of the Eagles’ first padded practice.

Stock Up

  • QB Matt Barkley – Barkley isn’t much of a contender for the starting quarterback job yet, but he could soon play himself into the discussion. He had the highest completion percentage of the team’s top three quarterbacks, and if Michael Vick and Nick Foles continue to disappoint, Chip Kelly might just decide to go with the rookie.
  • CB Brandon Boykin – Boykin was reportedly very sticky in man coverage on Sunday, and never got beat. Not only was he singled out as the team’s most impressive defensive back by several reporters, but he also lined up as an outside corner at times. If Boykin proves himself capable of playing on the boundary despite his 5’9″ frame, he could be in line for a higher snap count.
  • TE Zach Ertz – As he did at Stanford, Ertz made up for a drop or two with some spectacular grabs and was able to run away from linebackers in his pass routes. He’s a far superior athlete to Brent Celek and much taller than James Casey, and he is already getting first team reps despite missing all of OTAs. He could develop into a big-time weapon for the Eagles.
  • DL Bennie Logan – Though Logan was primarily a run stuffer at LSU, those in attendance came away impressed with his quickness in pass rush drills. He won’t open the season as a starter, but could carve out a sizeable backup role because he is both big enough to play nose tackle and athletic enough to play end.
  • OLB Chris McCoy – McCoy’s coverage skills stood out at practice because most Eagles outside linebackers are converted defensive ends who struggle to drop back. McCoy’s athleticism and comfort in a 3-4 scheme will make the Eagles think twice about cutting him. Phillip Hunt is his primary competition for a roster spot.
  • S Kenny Phillips – Earlier in the offseason, the Eagles were very cautious with Phillips’ troublesome knee, which led me to believe that he was not fully healthy. However, he has been a full go at training camp and showed off good range at practice. If he’s 100%, he should have no trouble beating out Nate Allen for a starting safety job.
  • RB Chris Polk – Polk looked heavy and slow in his rookie training camp, but has slimmed down in year two. He has always been a grind-it-out runner, but he showed better burst and athleticism in practice. Polk has also impressed coaches with his receiving ability and is now solidly entrenched as the team’s #4 back following the release of William Powell.
  • WR Greg Salas – Competition for Jeremy Maclin’s roster spot will be fierce, and although Salas’ name doesn’t come up a lot, he is making his case for Chip Kelly to keep him on the squad. He hauled in several tough catches on Sunday and his NFL experience could help him make the team.
  • WR Russell Shepard – Shepard has probably been the biggest surprise of training camp so far. A big-time high school recruit, Shepard never looked comfortable in any of the roles that LSU tried him. Some NFL teams evaluated him as a defensive back, but the Eagles brought him aboard as a receiver and return specialist. He has put in a lot of extra work on the jugs machine and has displayed soft hands and good chemistry with the Eagles QBs throughout the offseason. He looks more polished than anyone anticipated and snagged Sunday’s catch of the day.

Stock Down

  • TE Brent Celek – Celek reportedly struggled with drops on Sunday, and that won’t help him hold off Zach Ertz, who’s making a play for his job. The coaching staff values Celek’s blocking more than anything else, so don’t expect him to play a big part in the passing game anymore. He’s taking a back seat to James Casey and potentially Ertz too.
  • QB Nick Foles – Foles failed to capitalize on his first team reps on Sunday and completed barely 50% of his passes. Luckily for him, Michael Vick’s play was equally uninspiring. Though it’s disappointing that neither quarterback has responded all that well to competition, it only confirms that the Eagles do not have a franchise quarterback on the roster.
  • OLB Brandon Graham – Graham has struggled mightily in coverage and does not look nearly as comfortable in a 3-4 scheme as he did in Jim Washburn’s wide 9. It’s a shame that the Eagles can’t find a way to use one of their best defensive players correctly. Graham will likely be relegated to a nickel pass rusher role while Connor Barwin and Trent Cole handle the bulk of the snaps at outside linebacker.
  • WR Jeremy Maclin – Doctors confirmed that Maclin suffered a torn ACL at practice on Saturday and will miss the entire season. It’s a huge deal for Maclin, whose rookie contract expires after this season. He was very excited about playing in Chip Kelly’s offense, and now will have to watch from the sidelines. His decision not to pursue a contract extension this offseason is also a tough pill to swallow, since Maclin will lose out on many millions of dollars in free agency.
  • QB Michael Vick – Vick posted slightly better numbers than Nick Foles at Sunday’s open practice, but has reportedly struggled to get the ball out on time. He did not look particularly sharp, and if Nick Foles finds his rhythm soon, Vick is in real danger of losing his job.
  • CB Cary Williams – Williams drew the ire of Eagles fans for skipping many voluntary OTA workouts earlier in the year, and although he reported early for training camp, a tender hamstring has kept him from practicing. While Williams is still the heavy favorite to start at right corner, the Eagles have to be growing impatient with him.

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