OTAs for the Philadelphia Eagles have already come and gone. Now, they’re off until training camp rolls around on July 26. The Eagles will join the Bengals as the only two teams in the league not holding mandatory minicamp this offseason.
Hey, if it prevents injuries, I’m cool with it.
Media members only got to see the team in action twice during the OTAs period, but we still got a handful of interesting nuggets to hold us over until camp.
Here are three of the most interesting and important storylines that came out of OTAs this year.
Brandon Graham is 100% healthy and ready to go
The Eagles defensive line underperformed drastically in 2021. The defense has a whole only totaled 29 sacks on the year, second-worst in the NFL. Maybe the assortment of talent along the line was a bit overrated, but it’s fair to assume at least some of their shortcomings can be linked back to the absence Brandon Graham.
BG tore his Achilles in Week 2, missing essentially the entire 2021 season. At 34 years old, it was hard to imagine BG bouncing back to his former self after such a devastating injury. But it appears he’s 100% healthy and ready to go, and we still have over a month until training camp gets underway.
He was a full participant during OTAs, which is obviously a great sign. BG himself even said it felt like nothing even happened after recovering from his torn Achilles.
Howie Roseman added some much needed youth to his defensive line this offseason with the likes of Haason Reddick and Jordan Davis. Getting Graham back in the fold could prove to be the most pivotal addition. He’s the leader of the defense and the lifeblood of the Eagles defensive line.
All signs are pointing towards BG being a full-go once the regular season rolls around. I can’t wait to see the big fella back out there.
DeVonta Smith looks like the best player on the Eagles offense
That statement shouldn’t shock anyone. From a pure talent standpoint, there isn’t a more talented player on the Eagles entire roster than wideout DeVonta Smith.
According to pretty much everyone at attendance during OTAs, Smith dominated. He cooked both Darius Slay and James Bradberry. He was catching bombs from Hurts. He didn’t drop a single pass. I know we’re all excited to see A.J. Brown in midnight green, but the maturation process of Smitty from year one to year two should be just as exciting.
There’s a reason this guy was the 10th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. DeVonta Smith is a problem. If you haven’t already, buy up all the Smith stock you can get your hands on.
Jalen Hurts looks like an improved passer
We can talk about the talent this team has on both sides of the ball all we want — if Jalen Hurts doesn’t improve in 2022, we’re looking at another 9-10 win season and first-round playoff exit.
Well, so far, so good on that front it seems.
Reporters were singing Hurts’ praises all week, along with his head coach, who told ESPN he’s seen a lot of improvement in Hurts’ game this offseason. “I’m noticing a big difference,” Sirianni told ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio. “What I see is a crisper ball. The accuracy I’ve been very pleased with. You can just see him taking strides every single day with his accuracy because of the fundamentals he has with his feet and his upper body.”
WIP’s Eliot Shorr-Parks keeps track of quarterback stats throughout all organized team activities. For Wednesday, the second and final day that media members were in attendance, he stated that Hurts went 10-for-12 with 2 touchdowns during 7-on-7 drills. During Sirianni’s press conference on Wednesday, he stated that Hurts went 11-for-12 during Tuesday’s practice.
Do these stats really matter when assessing quarterback play? No, not a whole lot. There were no 11-on-11 drills during OTAs, so all of these stats came without the threat of a pass rush coming after Hurts. But, we have heard players give Hurts recognition for his progress as well.
We’ll see if all this Hurts praise is just lip service once the regular season rolls around. Nevertheless, it is encouraging to see everyone in agreement that Hurts has shown improvement with his passing.
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