Philadelphia Eagles: Players Whose Stock Is on the Rise After OTAs
With OTAs complete, there's no football for almost two weeks, when NFL teams report for their mandatory three-week training camp period.
Training camp and the preseason will obviously help settle many significant training camp battles, especially for an underachieving team like the Philadelphia Eagles. But many positional battles had a player take a leg up on his competition during the brief OTA period.
The following slides will highlight, in no particular order, the players whose stock rose during the last several days.
1. Nick Foles, Quarterback
The battle for starting quarterback is likely going to be one of the top storylines throughout the entire National Football League this summer, as veteran Michael Vick will duke it out with young studs Nick Foles and Matt Barkley.
Arguments could be made for both Vick and Foles, and even Barkley, as the Week 1 starter, and it's likely that Kelly won't announce the winner of the quarterback battle until the end of August, right before the season starts.
Technically, both quarterback are seeing their fair share of first-team reps, but Jordan Raanan of NJ.com reported that Foles received a lot more first-team reps than Vick.
The battle for the starting quarterback is still far from decided, but it appears now that Foles has the early edge, as much as Vick supporters won't want to admit it.
2. Chris Polk, Running Back
Running back might be the strongest position on the Eagles.
All-Pro LeSean McCoy and last year's stud rookie Bryce Brown make up one of the best running back duos in the NFL. Former first-round draft choice Felix Jones was signed as a free agent and the former Cowboys' bust will look to revive his career in a fast-paced offense.
That leaves Chris Polk in an uphill battle to make the team. Don't count him out though. Last year's third running back has reportedly lost 15 pounds this offseason, according to PhiladelphiaEagles.com, and is working harder than ever to earn a spot on the crowded depth chart at running back.
3. Damaris Johnson, Wide Receiver
Don't be surprised to see the speedy second-year receiver overtake veteran Jason Avant as the team's slot receiver heading into the 2013 season.
Johnson was singled out by Jeremy Maclin as a player he could see succeeding in Kelly's offense. Last year, Johnson caught 19 passes for 256 yards (and returned 26 punts for more than 11 yards per return, including a touchdown).
This year, Kelly has already been using Avant at defensive back, which is surprising considering his lack of speed.
If Avant is a training camp surprise cut, expect Johnson to take his spot as the third receiver.
4. Brandon Boykin, Cornerback
I'm not impressed with the dedication that new cornerback Cary Williams has shown since signing a three-year deal via free agency.
Williams has missed OTAs for a wedding, house work, dental work and a daughter's recital. I consider three of those four to be unacceptable (and even a wedding could have easily been planned for another time).
Williams really struggled in coverage last season in Baltimore and he's definitely not a lock to earn a starting job.
Brandon Boykin had a solid rookie season and is continuing to grow and develop as a cornerback. In fact, ESPN named him as one of their breakout candidates for the 2013 season.
He could earn a starting gig with a strong preseason and training camp.
5. Earl Wolff, Safety
The Eagles would like to replace both of last year's starting safeties, Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman, heading into the 2013 season. They signed Kenny Phillips and Patrick Chung early in free agency, with both expected to earn a starting job.
But the news that Phillips' surgically repaired knee is already giving him problems is not a good sign for the former first-round pick.
Earl Wolff, the team's fifth-round pick this year, could have an early advantage to winning a starting job, according to NFL Network's Gil Brandt.
Wolff is a tough, physical player who is capable of making plays from all over the field. He's got preseason to show that he deserves to be a starter, a job that will be a lot easier for him if Phillips can't stay healthy.
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