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Eagles stock watch: Zach Ertz, Davion Taylor make most of 1st week of training camp; Andre Dillard needs to rebound


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Eagles stock watch: Zach Ertz, Davion Taylor make most of 1st week of training camp; Andre Dillard needs to rebound

Posted Aug 02, 2021

By Mike Kaye | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

The Eagles completed their first week of training camp practices on Saturday night. While the first four workouts had an unusually physical tone for a rev-up period, the Eagles were lucky to exit the batch of practices without any season-altering injuries.

The shells-and-shorts workouts can be a bit misleading when it comes to the evaluation process. As many coaches have said in the past, the padded workouts are the real test.

That said, there were a few notable standouts during the first run of practices. There were also some players who need to improve as the summer goes along.


Below are 11 players who helped or hurt their stock in practice this week:


LB T.J. Edwards

Edwards is competing for a starting nickel spot opposite Eric Wilson in camp. His main competition, Alex Singleton, missed the first week of practice on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Edwards has taken advantage of his playing time with the first- and second-team groups, making plays in the passing game, including an interception of QB Jalen Hurts in 7-on-7 drills on Saturday. Edwards is primed for a push toward the starting lineup at the moment.

LB Davion Taylor

While he suffered a minor quad injury towards the end of the week, Taylor was running with the first-team defense throughout the first three practices of camp. After basically being a non-factor as a rookie, Taylor took extra time to invest in his studies and fieldwork this offseason. That extra work paid as the Eagles’ staff has put him in the starting linebacker competition. He’s looked competent against the first-team offense.

RB Boston Scott

While most analysts, including those from NJ Advance Media, had Scott on the roster bubble, it’s clear the staff sees him as a locked-in asset. Scott has been a regular within the first-team offense, and he has been impressive in the passing game, especially on screen plays. Scott appears to be Miles Sanders’ primary backup. Both are having strong starts to camp.

TE Zach Ertz

Ertz seemed like a clear goner throughout the offseason, but so far in camp, he’s been a highlight (and we aren’t talking about his new platinum hairdo). Ertz has mentored younger teammates throughout camp, and he and head coach Nick Sirianni have seemingly started to forge a bond, meeting during stretch sessions before practice daily. Ertz has also made some impressive plays in the passing game, including a big gain off a double move in 11-on-11 drills to wrap up the week.

DE Josh Sweat

Sweat has been rotating with Derek Barnett as a first-team defensive end opposite Brandon Graham. Sweat has looked comfortable rushing from a two-point stance in Jonathan Gannon’s hybrid defense, and the fourth-year defensive end has routinely blown up running plays in 11-on-11 drills. He’s also routinely bested offensive tackles in 1-on-1 pass-rushing drills. Entering a contract year, Sweat could break out under a new staff.


OT Andre Dillard

In the competition for the starting left tackle job, Dillard appears to be well behind Jordan Mailata with a week of work in the can. Dillard was on the downside of Barnett’s rushes in team drills and individual battles throughout the first week. While Dillard looks to be in great shape, he’s still having an issue against bull rushes. At one point during team drills, Dillard had to wrestle Barnett down to the ground in order to prevent an obvious sack on Hurts.

CBs Shakial Taylor/Nate Meadors

It’s hard to pick on players for injuries, but Taylor and Meadors are becoming afterthoughts in the cornerback competition. Taylor (lower body, day-to-day) and Meadors (hamstring, week-to-week) missed the entire first week of practice. Those two players couldn’t afford to miss one practice, let alone four. Now, they are clearly behind Craig James, Josiah Scott and Michael Jacquet in the battle for the Eagles’ fifth cornerback spot.

QB Joe Flacco

Flacco has been OK through four practices, but the Eagles aren’t paying him to just be "OK” with the second-team offense. While Flacco has had the occasional highlight, he’s been seemingly outperformed by third-string QB Nick Mullens thus far. Sure, the talent level of the defense is different for Flacco and Mullens, but the former is a 14-year veteran who was guaranteed $3.5 million this year. Flacco needs to look like the most accomplished player on the field when he’s with the second-team offense.

K Jake Elliott

Elliott is coming off a sub-par season, and the only reason why he isn’t facing offseason competition is because he’s financially locked into a roster spot. Elliott is essentially uncuttable barring a major meltdown in the preseason. Saturday, he went 4-of-6 on field goals, missing a 33-yarder (yikes!) and a 49-yard attempt. Elliott really needs to find consistency for the Eagles to remain confident in him.

RB Kenny Gainwell

The fifth-round pick entered camp with a lot of internal hype. The dual-threat back was poised to shine during non-padded practice, but so far, he’s been a bit of a ghost. He’s had the occasional receiving highlight, but for the most part, he’s been outperformed by the likes of Scott, Jason Huntley, Jordan Howard and Kerryon Johnson. That’s not an ideal outlook for a rookie who is likely locked into a roster spot.


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