Eagles Practice Report: Douglas Stands Out During Rainy Session
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - The Eagles returned to the practice field Tuesday and were greeted by a somewhat steady rain that made things a bit sloppy, especially for the quarterbacks who struggled with their accuracy while throwing the wet football.
Here are 973espn.com's five takeaways from Tuesday's session, which lasted just over two hours:
The Eagles third-round pick showed the ball skills everyone in the organization has been raving about, breaking up three passes during team drills. He may have failed during the play of the day when Alshon Jeffery ripped away a 50/50 ball from Carson Wentz for a touchdown and then emphatically spiked the football in front of Douglas but the West Virginia product is going to get a lot of playing time early for this defense. His ability to find the football in the air is impressive.
While defensive tackle Fletcher Cox returned, plenty were absent on Tuesday, including left tackle Jason Peters, punter Donnie Jones and defensive end Marcus Smith, who all missed last week's OTAs along with Cox.
Also missing Tuesday for personal reasons were running back LeGarrette Blount, defensive tackle Tim Jernigan, running back Darren Sproles. defensive end Alex McCalister and cornerback Ron Brooks while receiver Jordan Matthews was sidelined with knee tendonitis and defensive end Vinny Curry was out with an illness.
Linebacker Mychal Kendricks, meanwhile, is dealing with a sore hamstring and watched most of the practice.
An Eagles spokesman confirmed that Jernigan missed the practice for the birth of a child while Blount was at a family wedding and will be back Wednesday.
Smith is the most serious absence as the former first-round pick is likely trying to force the Eagles' hand for what seems like the inevitable release.
DILLON GORDON, FULLBACK
The former LSU tight end makes his living as a backup offensive tackle nowadays but he also showed off his versatility and movement skills on Tuesday by playing fullback during several drills. A 320-pounder Gordon is finding ways to make himself more valuable.
AGHOLOR IN THE SLOT
With Matthews sitting, Nelson Agholor got work in the slot with the first team and caught the football well for the second straight practice open to the media. He's still got to prove he can produce when the red light comes on but at least during offseason work the former first-round pick has looked like one of the most improved players on the Eagles.
PUMPING UP PUMPHREY AS A RECEIVER
The Eagles seem intent on finding ways to get Donnel Pumphrey the football and the undersized, explosive rookie is being featured as a receiver in a lot of formations, which creates some interesting mismatches for Doug Pederson. Whether that's viable when the real bullets are flying and Blount and Sproles are here getting touches
Whether that's viable when the real bullets are flying and Blount and Sproles are here getting touches remains to be seen but the offseason is a time for experimenting and the Eagles have a unique toy in the former San Diego State star.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen