Eagles OTA’s Observations: Our First Look at AJ Brown


Eagles OTA's Observations: Our First Look at AJ Brown

The Eagles were on the practice field Friday for their third of six OTA practices…and we got to watch!

A theme during Nick Sirianni’s time as head coach was the prioritization of player health and safety. That’s why they’re taking it so easy this spring. And that’s why Friday practice – the toughest of the week – was still only about 55 minutes long and didn’t involve 11-on-11 work.

Nevertheless, there were observations to be made:

1. Friday was our first personal look at new wideout AJ Brown. Although Brown and Jalen Hurt are best friends, they are still working to develop a relationship on the field. While Hurts Brown met with a short pass early in the 7-on-7 section, they missed two deep balls. At the first, Hurts threw Brown after a stuttering stride; In this case, Brown became a defender and had to knock the ball away from Darius Slay. After that game, Brown told Hurts if he was going to miss him, miss him deeply. So the next time, Hurts airmailed one within Brown’s reach. So they’re still working on it. There is still a long way to go until week 1.

2. Other than that, Hurts had a very strong day and completed most of his passes. Hurts had some sharp throws on Friday. One of them went to backup tight end Jack Stoll, who made a nice catch through traffic. Although he might have been in danger in a game after the catch.

3. Isaac Seumalo apparently gets the first crack at the right guard spot and was in this role on Friday. Of course, three offensive line starters (Jordan Mailata, Jason Kelce, Lane Johnson) weren’t at the voluntary drills. So this was the orienteering of the first team on Friday:

LT: Andre Dillard
LG: Landon Dickerson
C: Cam Jurgens
RG: Isaac Seumalo
RT: Jack Driscoll

So it’s important to note that while Seumalo will likely get the first crack at the right guard job, Jurgens and Driscoll (two other candidates) have been with the Ones in other spots.

4. On defense in the 7-on-7 drills, the Eagles had Darius Slay, James Bradberry, Avonte Maddox, Anthony Harris and Marcus Epps in the secondary; no surprises. For linebackers, TJ Edwards and Kyzir White were the top two most of the afternoon, although Nakobe Dean got a rep in the MIKE and Davion Taylor got mixed up in the WILL. The Eagles kept it nickels on those 7-on-7s, so no Haason Reddick out there at SAM.

5. Receiver Deon Cain made some nice catches during 7-on-7s. One came on a deep ball from Hurts as Cain slashed Slay for cover. I wouldn’t worry too much about Slay, but it’s a beautiful moment for Cain. Clemson’s former sixth-round pick joined the Eagles on the practice squad last year. He was originally drafted by the Colts when Nick Sirianni was their offensive coordinator.

6. Sophomore cornerback Zech McPhearson had a nice pass break while working with the second team. He almost got Gardner Minshew. McPhearson stood in line as a starter until the Eagles signed Bradberry. But now he’s back as their best outside cornerback.

7. A little 41v41 violence in practice when safety Jared Mayden collided with Britain Covey who took the brunt of it and flew. That happened again to Covey later in the session. At 5-8 and 173 pounds, Covey is the lightest player on the roster besides the kicker. That showed up on Friday.

8th. We saw some movement among receivers on Friday. Quez Watkins wasn’t at practice so maybe that changed a few things. Greg Ward was with the first team as a slot receiver. But we saw AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith do a few reps indoors. While they’ll likely play most of their snaps on the outside, the Eagles will occasionally bring them inside to take advantage of matchups. Brown played the slot quite a bit in Tennessee.

9. Practice got off to a hot start as Hurts found Smith deep on the right touchline over James Bradberry for a long finish. He beat Smith over Slay on the left touchline later in the session.

10 Former receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside is now a tight end and looked noticeably fatter in the transition. He still faces a tough fight but had a snag in this training session.

Stupid observation of the day: During COVID, the Eagles have set up an additional outdoor weight room right next to their regular weight room. They had to spread during COVID. Now they have a small and bouncy turf field in its place.

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