Carson Wentz

Well, we all want to know about the big man himself. Coming off another season which ended early due to injury, a lot of people are questioning Carson Wentz’s durability. Hell, Donovan McNabb thought it was a good idea to go after the young franchise QB. That turned out to be a bad idea for the ex-Eagles star. Wentz ended his season early, handing the reigns for the second year in a row, to Nick Foles to lead the team into the playoffs. Now, I love Carson Wentz, but the Eagles need to protect him. Three years in, and one Super Bowl win, and we haven’t seen Wentz in the playoffs yet.

Good news though, as OTA’s started yesterday, Wentz was a full participant. Sans knee brace and with no restrictions we got to see Wentz begin work with his usual targets like Zach Ertz. The more exciting news for most this year though is the ability for him to throw the deep ball to Eagles prodigal son DeSean Jackson.

Mack Hollins

Does anyone remember Mack Hollins? 2017 4th round pick out of North Carolina? Big body Wide Receiver who is 6’4″ 221 pounds? You might not. He hasn’t played since the Eagles win in Super Bowl LII back in 2017. Unless you count 25 snaps of a preseason game in 2018. Hollins had sports hernia surgery shortly after the Super Bowl and was supposedly ready for week 1 in 2018. Now, 15 months later, Hollins is still not ready to practice. There isn’t a lot known about what is going on, other than Coach Pederson saying he is “..Encouraged by his progress right now..” whatever that means… He was evidently healthy enough to ride 15 miles on a bike for the Eagles Autism Challenge though.

Whatever the case with his health it will be interesting to see how the Eagles handle this on the roster. Hollins had a good rookie season with 16 receptions for 226 yards. 14.1 yards per reception was enough for him to rank number one on the team in that category. He also showed his strengths on Special Teams as well, playing 231 snaps.

His competition is not to be taken lightly though. There are four WR’s who are, more or less, guaranteed a roster spots. Competing for the last few spots you have Shelton Gibson, Braxton Miller (who spent last year on the Eagles practice squad), and veteran Charles Johnson. The Eagles also have DeAndre Thompkins who received a guaranteed $85,000 as a UDFA, the third most on the team this year. Needless to say, Hollins has his work cut out to make the roster, no matter how talented, he needs to be healthy.

Malcolm Jenkins

Where is he? That’s the question everyone should be asking right now. Jenkins has never missed OTA’s in his career, albeit they are optional it is unusual for the veteran. One of the likely reasons is he wants a new contract to better align with the impact he has on the team. Not an entirely unreasonable thing to ask. Jenkins is one of the most impactful players on the Eagles. Currently, Jenkins average salary value per year is $8.75 million. Most of us we would gladly take that, even with a pay cut. But in reality, that ranks 9th among safeties in the NFL. The problem is, he is far more productive than some of the names above him on that list.

Keep in mind, this is speculation. Jenkins and the Eagles have not come out and stated he is holding out due to his contract, but it is a strong possibility. One other possibility is that he is 31 years old and has played in the league for 10 years already. He might just not want to go to optional camps. It is not uncommon for veteran players to work out separately from the team. While it is something to keep an eye on as we move through OTA’s and further into camp, as of this moment this is not overly concerning.

Halapoulivaati Vaitai

Big V. He definitely is not Jason Peters. Now, don’t get me wrong, Vaitai played well in 2017. He went all the way to the Super Bowl at Left Tackle, but there are holes in his game. This is why the Eagles drafted Andre Dillard in Round 1 this year. After a few seasons playing as the swing tackle, Vaitai debuted a new position yesterday. With Brandon Brooks not available at Right Guard the Eagles have begun cross-training Big V to fill that hole in the line.

While he may not be the ideal starting Right Guard, at least compared to Brooks who is one of the top Guards in the league. This does add options for the Eagles on the interior O-Line though, along with Seumalo, Wisniewski, and Matt Pryor. Cross training Vaitai provides flexibility going into the year without having to sign or trade for another player.

Jordan Mailata

Another Offensive Lineman? This one provides some excitement though. The 6’8″ 346 pound Australian is in his second year of football. Not just the NFL, we’re talking about ever playing football. Mailata was a rugby player who outgrew the sport and at 20, came to the US and was drafted in the 7th round last year and a Left Tackle. He learned about half a bag of peanuts about the game last year. (I guess that’s an Australian thing?) Many even came out stating they believe he would be a future All-Pro.

There are a few roadblocks for Mailata going forward at Tackle on the Eagles though. In front of him are two of the best in the game to learn from in Jason Peters and Lane Johnson. By the way, they both converted to the position as well. Yeah, that sounds like a great thing, not a roadblock. The roadblock is Lane Johnson is 29 and not going anywhere, anytime soon. Peters, on the other hand, has heir apparent Andre Dillard now. So where does Mailata fit in? (No size pun intended) The answer is a swing Tackle. This was Vaitai’s role last year, but as you see above he is being moved to the interior. This let Mailata begin his cross training at Right Tackle yesterday, giving him the ability to play both sides of the line.

Joe Douglas

Who? Ah, Eagles Vice President of Player Personnel. Right. Why is he here? Oh, the Jets want a new GM. Got it. Douglas is the current front-runner for the Jets GM spot right now, which would be disappointing. Mostly because that means he would have to deal with robotic psychopath Adam Gase. **Insert video of robot Adam Gase looking like a lunatic below**

The Jets brainwashed Adam Gase. Only explanation for this twitch. pic.twitter.com/aP53o4w33j— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) January 14, 2019

Chris Long

Well, this isn’t exactly OTA news, but we all know Chris Long retired. *Insert sad face here* We will all miss him greatly, and most Eagles players had heartfelt messages congratulating him on his retirement.

The good news is he won’t go quietly, even though it’s not surprising. The whole world seems to think it’s a huge deal the Long admitted to often smoking weed while in the league. Is anyone honestly surprised by this? The league’s policy on it is a joke. I don’t understand how guys like Josh Gordon managed to get busted for it. The whole league smokes. And by the way, would you rather your players be addicted to opioid pain killers? Or do you want them to sit on their couch on an off day and re-watch Game of Thrones while smoking a bowl? I think the answer is clear Goodell. Get it together. And Stephen A. Smith don’t even come at me about “STAY OFF THE DAMN WEEEEEED” because even you know it’s better than pills.

But Chris Long. We will miss you dearly and I wish you all the best in your retirement. You gave the Eagles and the community so much and I think I speak for all Eagles fans by saying, thank you. Enjoy retirement, underdog.

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