Free agency for the Eagles was stacked on the offensive side of the ball as was last year’s draft headed by Carson Wentz. The defense needed to be addressed, especially in the secondary with a hell-bent-for-leather pass rusher. He’s not former Eagle Reggie White, but Derek Barnett broke “The Minister of Defenses” record for sacks at the University of Tennessee. He is the only player in SEC history with three straight 10- sack seasons. Twenty-nine of his 33 career sacks came against SEC opponents. Barnett is a lunch pail carrying, overtime working, blue collar rolling ball of butcher knives. Wins at the quarterback with effort. Lacks some length and stopwatch speed, but he has a high on-the-field IQ. Made a good first impression during OTAs with his tool box of pass rush moves. The ex-Volunteer gave Lane Johnson his patented spin move that got him by more than one SEC blocker. Has a pair of violent and powerful hands that were on display in camp. He has a relentless work ethic that wears down his opponent. Sidney Jones is recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon, but the word out of Philadelphia is that there has been no decision on when Jones will return. It may be prudent to set him out for the year unless he is 100% to keep him from reinjuring himself. Rasul Douglas picked up in OTAs where he left off in rookie mini-camp. He earned first team reps in the nickel sub packages when Jalen Mills moved inside to cover slot receivers. Douglas went outside and worked against the veteran wide receivers where he didn’t look out of place. Mack Hollins, if he stays healthy, will first be a big time special teams’ cover guy and gunner on the punt coverage unit. Hollins also flashed game breaking speed as a wide receiver. Donnel Pumphrey had a strong spring and looks like he could make some noise this fall. The ex-Aztec received reps in a variety of sub packages where he lined up in the slot as a receiver and looked speedy when he did touch the ball. He also received work returning punts. Shelton Gibson dropped more than one pass during camp and he dropped balls in every segment. Carson Wentz throws a hot ball and Gibson must get used to it or he will struggle to make the roster. He needs work on route running and catching quick throws. Has trouble tracking the ball and is a body catcher. Nathan Gerry looks to have a future as a hybrid safety/linebacker combination. Has a chance to make the team as a sub package and special teams’ player. Plays his best the closer he is to the line of scrimmage. Gets downfield quickly on run support. Elijah Qualls is still learning the defense and didn’t take advantage of Fletcher Cox and Beau Allen missing the first week of OTAs. Has short arms for the position. Must work to play low. Gives pursuit effort and has good athletic ability. GRADE: AVERAGE.
FREE AGENCY: The Eagles brought in a potpourri of seasoned veterans to help Carson Wentz in his second year. Receivers Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith, if he is healthy, will give a boost to the West Coast offensive scheme. Dependable and consistent LeGarrette Blount will help control the ball late in games and on the goal-line. Stefen Wisniewski and Chance Warmack will bring competition and depth to the offensive line. Nick Foles was signed as a backup quarterback and Chris Long, a veteran defensive end, will be in the front rotation.
NOTABLE UNDRAFTED COLLEGE FREE AGENTS: Victor Salako (Oklahoma State) OT, Tyler Orlosky (West Virginia) OC, Billy Brown (Shepherd) TE, Corey Clement (Wisconsin) RB, and Randall Goforth (UCLA) S.