2018 Eagles Training Camp Awards
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - And the envelope, please.
After watching all 15 training-camp practices this summer it's time to hand out the hardware.
Here's the annual 973espn.com Eagles TC Awards:
BEST NEWCOMER - Dallas Goedert - The rookie second-round pick has looked like a Zach Ertz clone as a receiver with length, speed, a huge catching radius, and impressive hands while also showing the willingness to block, which is half the battle when you possess a 6-foot-5, 260-pound frame. Goedert also showed his mystical healing powers turning a "broken arm" into a minor elbow issue in less than 24 hours.
LATE RISER - Avonte Maddox - The rookie fourth-round pick spent most of camp on the second- and third-team defense in the nickel before taking over first-team work for the final three sessions. An undersized, speed demon the Eagles are enamored with Maddox's moxie and playmaking ability.
BETTER THAN YOU THOUGHT - Kamu Grugier-Hill - Often special-teams players get pigeonholed but KGH is quietly showing he could be more than an excellent kick-coverage option after adding 15 pounds to his frame. A rover in college, Grugier-Hill is running behind Nate Gerry, another converted safety, for the weak-side linebacker position but Grugier-Hill is the one who has made more splash plays. If consistency in assignments from down to down follows, Grugier-Hill could earn the old Mychal Kendricks role.
NOT WHAT WAS EXPECTED - Corey Nelson - Nelson was brought in as the potential replacement for Kendricks but has fallen behind both Gerry and KGH and is now backing up Nigel Bradham on the strong side.
THE OTHER BIG GUY - Matt Pryor - Overshadowed by the interesting story that is Jordan Mailata, the Eagles' other massive rookie offensive lineman, Matt Pryor, has been so good during camp, it's now a fait accompli he will be on the 53-man roster.
SECOND-YEAR LEAP - Shelton Gibson - Gibson was underwater as a rookie, often overwhelmed by the steep learning curve then-receivers coach Mike Groh threw at him. Now more comfortable, Gibson is even getting a nickname from the Super Bowl MVP for making plays. There will be no hand-wringing for "Gibby" on cutdown day this year.
SECOND-YEAR STUMBLE - Mack Hollins - Those expecting Hollins to challenge Mike Wallace for playing time were off their rockers to begin with but with Alshon Jeffery sidelined for the entire camp, Hollins was unable to do much with added first-team reps. His special-teams acumen will ensure his job is safe but Hollins is going backward at receiver on this team.
HARDEST WORKER - Steven Means - People always talk about Malcolm Jenkins and Darren Sproles because they are stars and their work ethics are something to see (Brandon Graham would be in that category as well if not injured) but the hardest working man in show business at the MovaCare Complex remains Steven Means. The energy that man brings every day is almost otherworldly.
MATCHUP NIGHTMARE - Zach Ertz - During one red-zone session at an open practice at Lincoln Financial Field, Ertz dominated Jim Schwartz's defense with three TD catches, including a ridiculous one-handed grab. When skill, measurables and confidence meet you get players like Ertz is right now.
PERSONNEL DEPARTMENT AWARD - Jalen Mills - From seventh-round pick to Pro Bowl alternate in two years and now The Green Goblin is a given after his best training camp as a professional.
PERSONNEL DEPARTMENT DEMERIT - Donnel Pumphrey - We giveth and we taketh away here at 973espn.com. The only thing keeping Pumphrey is the roster conversation at this point is his pedigree as a former fourth-round pick the Eagles traded up for. The team wants Pumphrey to succeed but a lower-body injury has stunted his development and taken away the opportunity to prove he belongs in this league from a physical standpoint.
BY A MISSISSIPPI MILE - Fletcher Cox - The best pure football player on the reigning Super Bowl champions is Fletcher Cox, a Magnolia State native, and it's not really all that close.
WHAT'S GOING ON? - Chris Maragos - Maragos’ season ended in Carolina during October of last season after tearing both his ACL and PCL. Unlike Carson Wentz, who looks very close, Maragos hasn't done a thing on the practice field despite undergoing surgery before Wentz. Do we say the first unsuccessful surgery in sports history on our hands?
PEOPLE DON'T GET IT - Cameron Johnston - People have pointed out Johnson's inconsistency in practice a lot but understand the Eagles have him working on directional kicking all the time. That's what training camp is for, to work on the things you need to work on.
JEFF STOUTLAND'S GET OUT OF ROSTER JAIL FREE CARD - Chance Warmack - Jeff Stoutland has an affinity for Warmack dating back to their days together at Alabama but that protection could be running out.
PROFILING VICTIM - Tre Sullivan - The young safety did nothing wrong in camp but had fallen victim to his lack of experience. Schwartz, Cory Undlin, and Tim Hauck simply trust Corey Graham and that's why the organization let Graham extend his vacation for a couple of weeks before bringing him back earlier this month.
WHAT ARE WE MISSING? - Isaac Seumalo - The Eagles rave about Seumalo's versatility but he failed at left guard last season and spent the summer air-mailing snaps at center. Seems like a jack-of-all-trades, master of none at this stage.
MR. NOVACARE - Joe Ostman - Ostman faces an insurmountable numbers game at perhaps the Eagles' deepest position, defensive end. He spent the summer interning how to be a professional under players like Chris Long, Michael Bennett, and Graham, however, and often showed explosive pass-rushing skills. Ostman needs to prove he can hold up in run support down the line but he's going to stick in this league somewhere.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen