Camp Observations: No hesitation, limitations for Maclin

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Camp Observations: No hesitation, limitations for Maclin

He hasn’t missed a rep, hasn’t needed a day off, hasn’t worried that three straight practices in pads would be detrimental to his reconstructed knee.

Each day at Eagles camp, Jeremy Maclin has jogged onto the NovaCare Complex field and practiced as if he didn’t miss the entire 2014 with the second torn knee ligament he’s suffered in his life.

“I didn’t come in here thinking I have any limitations or anything like that,” Maclin said after practice. “The knee has felt fine. It’s held up. I feel great. I’m out here getting better each and every day. That’s all I can ask for.”

More than a year has passed since Maclin ripped his knee up on the practice field, ensuring he would undergo surgery and miss out on Chip Kelly’s promising first year as head coach.

But watching him on the field since the team started practicing Saturday, he’s showing no signs of hesitation or loss of explosion. In one drill Thursday, Maclin faked safety Chris Maragos out of his jock for an easy catch. In another, Maclin made a touch catch over the middle despite tight coverage from safety Malcolm Jenkins.

On another catch, Maclin fought off so much contact from Bradley Fletcher that the referee quickly tossed out the yellow flag.

He’s worked in the slot. He’s worked on the outside. He’s done everything the coaches have asked. He’s also fulfilling his offseason pledge to replace the leadership lost when the team cut Jason Avant. Maclin has stayed on the field after practice to get some extra receptions from the JUGS machine, along with rookies Jordan Matthews and Josh Huff.

Not that this comes as a surprise to him.

“I don't think I necessarily needed confirmation (that I’m 100 percent recovered),” he said. “Maybe you guys do. Like I said, I’ve been feeling fine. I’ve been out here since April 21, continuing to get strong, continuing to get better, just working on my craft.”

Other observations from the fifth day of training camp:

Rising stock
Nolan Carroll, an early camp star, has a knack for getting his hands on the ball. He broke up two more passes, including a sprawling deflection of a Nick Foles pass to Maclin in the end zone. By unofficial tally, Carroll leads the defensive backs in breakups as he continues to push Fletcher for the left cornerback job.

Falling stock
Rough day for Nick Foles and G.J. Kinne. Kinne threw his first pick of camp and Foles was picked off for the second time in as many days, when his underthrown pass over the middle landed in the hands of DeMeco Ryans. Foles also had one of his passes batted down by one of the human flyswatters, which is believed to be the first time he’s ever done that since the obstruction devices first appeared last year.

Mismatch of the day
Tight end Brent Celek lost outside linebacker Brandon Graham in the end zone and reeled in a nice touchdown pass from Foles in red-zone drills.

Trampling of the day
Cary Williams, perhaps eager to back up his comments that he’s as good as any corner in the league (see story), took his wrath out on receiver Jeff Maehl. At the end of a play, Maehl had trouble getting back to his feet -- because Williams was still on top of him and in no hurry to get up.

Catch of the day I
Tiny wideout Damaris Johnson made a diving catch in the back corner of the end zone on a well-placed Matt Barkley toss. Very good effort for the little guy who, up until Wednesday, hadn’t been very impressive.

Catch of the day II
Towering wideout Ifeanyi Momah twisted in midair to reel in a Barkley pass along the left sideline with cornerback Brandon Boykin doing his best to compensate for the nine-inch differential.

Special guest of the day
Former Cowboys wide receiver and Eagles nemesis Michael Irvin, a Hall of Famer, attended camp Thursday on behalf of his current employer, the NFL Network.

Henery vs. Murderleg
Still no clear leader in this kicking competition. In the early afternoon duel, Alex Henery and Carey Spear each went 5 for 5 on attempts of (unofficially) 36, 39, 47, 50 and 52 yards. Later, Henery nailed a 50-yarder, then missed from 33, then hit from 40. Spear dropped in one from 41 yards out but had his 46-yard attempt minutes later rejected by the left goalpost.

Believe the hype?
Matthews, who’s caught everything at camp, ran with the first team early as the Eagles continued to practice without Riley Cooper (foot). Matthews dropped the first two passes thrown to him by Foles and later struggled to get separation against safety Jenkins. Be careful about sky-high expectations for the rookie wideout.

Personnel shuffles
Rookie seventh-rounder Beau Allen, who teammates have raved about since the spring camps, ran at nose tackle frequently on the first-team base defense. The Eagles have worked Bennie Logan and Damion Square mostly on the first team before giving Allen some reps there. Also, Maragos took his turn running alongside Jenkins at safety on the first defense.

Injury update
Cooper (foot), running back Chris Polk (hamstring) and center Julian Vandervelde (back) each missed practice for the second straight day. Safety Earl Wolff, who ran with the first defense Wednesday, was in his pads and helmet but didn’t get many snaps on any team. No word on if he suffered an injury.

Up next
The Eagles practice at 11:45 a.m. Friday at the NovaCare Complex, their last practice before an off day Saturday.

Eagles draft CB Sidney Jones with 2nd-round pick (43rd overall)

Eagles draft CB Sidney Jones with 2nd-round pick (43rd overall)

Eagles Draft Tracker

The way the Eagles look at it, they've selected two of their 14 favorite players despite having just one first-round pick.

The Eagles selected promising but injured Washington cornerback Sidney Jones with the 43rd pick in the draft Friday evening.

"When we started this process, he was one of the guys we were talking about with the 14th pick in the draft," Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman said.

"Great character, great player. The injury was a factor here, but we spent a lot of time with our doctors … talking about this situation. For us, it's about what we believe this kid brings to our football team moving forward.

"To get two of our top 14 players in the whole draft? We thought it was a really good opportunity for our football team. … He's a difference maker at cornerback. That's something we've been looking for."
  
Jones, originally projected as a first-round pick, dropped out of the first round when he tore an Achilles tendon during his pro-day workout in mid-March.
 
Jones, who stands 6-foot, 180 pounds, underwent surgery and has said he expects to be healthy and ready to play at some point during the 2017 season.

"We anticipate a full recovery," Roseman said. "We don't know the timetable, but we believe he can be an impact player for us when we do get him on the field."
 
Jones had nine interceptions, six forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, 8½ tackles for loss, 145 tackles in 40 career games.

He was the third member of Washington’s secondary to be selected in Friday’s second round. Corner Kevin King went No. 33 overall to the Packers and safety Budda Baker was the No. 36 pick overall to the Cards.

"The steal of the draft," King told CSN's John Clark of Jones. "He could've been a top 10 pick."
 
Eagles senior director of college scouting Anthony Patch was at Jones' pro day when he got hurt and immediately called Roseman and let him know that not only had Jones gotten injured but he had a tremendous workout before the injury.
 
Roseman said the Eagles' medical team studied numerous players from football and other sports who suffered similar injuries to measure their recovery timetable and determine what Jones' chances of a full recovery were.
 
"Our doctors and training staff not only looked at corners, but we reached out to teams in other sports," he said. "That gave us a lot of confidence here.
 
"There's no insurance for this, but we feel really confident that with our medical team when he gets here he's going to be able to be the exact same player he was before the injury."
 
When will we see Jones on the field?
 
"There'll be no rushing back from this," Roseman said. "We'll do whatever's in the best interest of getting Sidney Jones 100 percent. Whatever the timetable is. We'll defer to the doctors. That will not be our decision."
 
Jones is only the second cornerback the Eagles have taken in the first two rounds in the last six years. They drafted Eric Rowe in the second round in 2015 but traded him to the Patriots, where he became a starter last year and won a Super Bowl ring.
 
Before Rowe, the last time the Eagles spent a pick in the first two rounds on a cornerback was 2002, when they took Lito Sheppard in the first round.
 
The Eagles cut ties with both of their starting cornerbacks from last year, Nolan Carroll and Leodis McKelvin. They signed journeyman Patrick Robinson this offseason and return Jalen Mills, who was their third corner last year.
 
The Eagles ranked second-to-last in the NFL last year allowing 27 pass plays of 30 yards or more.
 
"We just got a first-round talented corner and he's somebody that as Howie alluded to we're not going to rush," head coach Doug Pederson said. "(We're going to) make sure he's 100 percent before we put him out on that football field. This kid is dynamic. He's extremely special on the field."
 
The Eagles have addressed the defense in each of the first two rounds, taking defensive end Derek Barnett at No. 14 overall and Jones in the second round.
 
This is the first time since 2012 the Eagles have gone defense with their first two picks. They took Fletcher Cox and Mychal Kendricks in the first two rounds.
 
Jones is the first University of Washington player the Eagles have drafted since defensive end Daniel Te'o-Nesheim in the third round in 2010 and the first they've taken in the first two rounds since center Ray Mansfield in the second round in 1963.
 
Washington had a home game the day before the Eagles played the Seahawks in Seattle this past fall, and Eagles vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas, in town for the Eagles-Seahawks game, saw Jones in person that day.
 
"They played against Arizona State, and the entire secondary played well," Douglas said.
 
"The thing that jumps out most about Sidney is his length, his feet. Very smooth mover, can easily flip his hips, can carry guys down the field.
 
"He's very instinctive, very route-aware. He has a really good gauge on what the receivers are going to do on the top of their routes. I think he has ideal ball skills."

Forever linked to Reggie White, Derek Barnett wants to create own identity

Forever linked to Reggie White, Derek Barnett wants to create own identity

Derek Barnett was 4 years old when Reggie White played in his final NFL game.

Nonetheless, the two are inexorably linked. And probably always will be.

Barnett broke White's University of Tennessee career sack record this past winter, and on Thursday — 25 years after White played his final game in an Eagles uniform — Barnett joined the team White spent his first eight NFL seasons with.

Barnett said Friday he's actually been in contact with White's widow, Sara, who contacted him after he broke Reggie's Volunteers sack record in the Music City Bowl against Nebraska in Nashville this past Dec. 30.

"She gave me a phone call about a week after the bowl game after I broke the record," Barnett said. "She just congratulated me on everything I've accomplished.

"Even though I broke the record, I told her, 'Reggie's still Reggie. I don't think I'm better than Reggie.' I told her thank you a lot and I really appreciated it.

"It meant a lot. She went out of her way. She didn't have to call me, but I'm glad she did."

Barnett recorded 33 sacks in his college career. White had 32.

Now, let's be realistic. Barnett is not White. Nobody is. White recorded 124 sacks in 121 games as an Eagle — more than one per game.

Add in his six years with the Packers and final season with the Panthers, and White had 198 sacks in his career. That stood as the NFL record until Bruce Smith finished with 200. White still ranks second all-time.

White, inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006, his first year of eligibility, died the day after Christmas in 2004.

It was Sara White who spoke for White at his Hall of Fame induction in Canton, Ohio, and Barnett said he can't wait to meet her in person.

"She lives in Nashville, so when I get the chance, I will go over there and meet with them," Barnett said. "But Reggie White, in Knoxville, is a legend. He's all over the place in the state of Tennessee."

Since White left Philly for Green Bay, the Eagles have drafted exactly one defensive end who's ever had double-digit sacks in a season. That was Trent Cole, a fifth-round pick in 2005.

One guy in a quarter of a century.

Barnett said he actually watched old film of White while he was in college to try and learn from his arsenal of pass-rush moves.

"I watched tape of him at Tennessee because I was trying to put the hump move in my game," Barnett said. "As a pass rusher, I feel like everyone has their own moves and I think that move is for him, probably not for me."

None of this is really fair to Barnett, who found himself being compared to maybe the greatest defensive player in NFL history before his NFL career was 24 hours old.

In an open letter to NFL teams published in the Players' Tribune this week, Barnett said he's proud he broke White's record but ultimately wants to be known for more.

"You might know me as the kid who broke Reggie White's sack record at Tennessee, but that's not the only thing I'm going to be remembered for by the time I leave this game," he wrote.

"Achieving that sack record definitely meant a lot to me, but I would have traded it away in a heartbeat to have won a championship while I was in college."