8 Eagles Who Have Turned Heads During Offseason Workouts
Whether it's a Brian Dawkins admirer or a potentially perfect player for Chip Kelly's offense, the Philadelphia Eagles have had a bushel of guys turn heads during offseason workouts.
Organized team activities might get blown out of proportion sometimes—I'm sure Cary Williams would agree—but some players used the time to make headlines or quietly move up in the coaches' minds.
As Williams pointed out time and time again, these OTAs weren't mandatory, but many who attended saw positive results in the end.
That considered, here's who turned heads in OTAs during Kelly's first camp in Philadelphia.
Earl Wolff, S
There's been an emotional and physical hole on the defense ever since the Brian Dawkins era in Philadelphia ended in 2008.
"Weapon X" isn't a guy you replace right away; his impact was felt on all facets on defense, especially shell-shocking hits he levied on opponents.
Now in 2013, the Eagles are still searching for a viable replacement for Dawkins. Scratch that, they're still looking for someone at safety who can tackle and inspire a defense a bit.
He's got a heavy burden on his shoulders if he lands the starting job, but it looks like Earl Wolff could be the guy.
Wolff, a fifth-round selection out of North Carolina State, has been receiving a heavy dosage of first-team reps in the nickel and was sprinkled in during the regular four-player secondary alignment.
The former member of the Wolfpack played a lot in the box his senior year, so his physicality isn't really a question. Also, if he's getting exclusive looks in the nickel, then he can obviously contribute to the pass defense.
Not saying he will be an instant starter by time the 2013 season rolls around, but what Wolff showed during OTAs was encouraging.
Nick Foles, QB
When the Eagles re-signed Michael Vick, the speculation of trading Nick Foles started to flap its wings.
The idea of sending Foles packing was only further pressed into the picture when Philadelphia moved up to select USC product Matt Barkley in the NFL draft.
But not only is Foles still an Eagle after Philadelphia shunned trade talks during the draft, according to Phillymag.com's Tim McManus, but the second-year quarterback is in a dead heat for the starting job.
Jordan Raanan of NJ.com reported that Foles took way more snaps in OTAs than Vick. Foles enjoyed moderate success in 2012, throwing at a 61 percent clip for six touchdowns and five picks.
Maybe it's his less-than-stellar physical attributes. Perhaps it's Foles' lack of mobility or a perceived notion that he can't run an up-tempo offense.
Whatever reasons were suggested in the case against Foles are apparently being trumped right now after the former Arizona Wildcat impressed fellow Pac-12 product Chip Kelly in OTAs.
Despite those trade rumors surrounding Foles, it doesn't seem like he's going anywhere in the near future. In fact, it looks like this quarterback battle could go into the wee hours of training camp if Foles keeps doing what he's doing.
Damaris Johnson, WR
Damaris Johnson is somewhat like a jack-in-the-box. You're sitting there waiting for him to burst out of his box, surprise you and give off a sense of excitement.
Johnson, who caught just 19 passes last year, is due for a larger role this year. His speed, spurtability and the versatility of Chip Kelly's offense says so.
As CSNPhilly.com's Reuben Frank reported, Johnson is expecting a much "bigger year" this upcoming season.
The all-purpose athlete should have high expectations for himself considering the system he's playing in.
If Johnson can take the reins of primary slot receiver, his contributions could be through the roof considering Kelly's love of getting the ball out of the quarterback's hands and to his playmakers.
Johnson, who was singled out by Maclin as a player who will thrive in Kelly's offense, averaged a solid 5.47 yards after the catch per reception last year.
Granted, he didn't have a large sampling size to review. But after slowly adjusting to the speed of the NFL last year, tempo should be his friend in 2013.
And with his potential, Johnson and Kelly's offense could become best friends by the time the upcoming season is over.
Cary Williams, CB
So far we've analyzed how players stood out in OTAs by way of superb play on the practice field.
As many know, Cary Williams turned heads by what he was doing off the gridiron (at a toddler's dance recital to be precise).
Wiliams was adamant about missing copious amounts of voluntary workouts because of personal reasons like seeing his three-year-old daughter's dance recital and doing home improvements.
Technically, it isn't required that the players show up for OTAs. But as Williams said on 97.5 The Fanatic, the offseason workouts are hung over players' heads as if they were mandatory.
In that interview, Williams also made it clear he didn't need to offer an explanation to the fans as to why he missed the voluntary workouts.
It seems as though many understand where he's coming from, but the way he went about it on the offensive may not have been the best way.
Regardless if fans applaud his family-first approach or dislike his absence, Williams turned heads and got people talking during OTAs.
Brandon Boykin, CB
With Williams missing out on a good chunk of practices, someone had to fill in for the Super Bowl winner and recent free-agent signing.
For the majority of the time, that someone was Brandon Boykin. And considering his performances during offseason camp, significant snaps is a strong possibility heading forward if Williams is on the field or not.
Boykin, who made his impact last year on special teams and as the Eagles' primary slot corner, has seen first-team action this offseason.
Even though he doesn't get the most recognition out there, those who watched the Eagles last year shouldn't be surprised by the Georgia product's fast track to a potential starting role.
According to an article on the Eagles' website, Boykin was graded as the team's best cornerback in 2012.
The one thing that's not going for Boykin is his height.
Standing at 5'10'', it would be understandable for taller, more physical receivers to single him out in open space.
But with this kind of freakish athleticism and vertical leap, Boykin should be okay in that regard.
Bradley Fletcher, CB
Sticking to the secondary theme, yet another cornerback should contend for serious playing time in 2013 if his offseason workouts were any indication.
Working almost exclusively with the first-team defense during OTAs, four-year veteran Bradley Fletcher hasn't exactly made huge headlines.
Fletcher, who was signed on the first day of free agency, has specialized in press coverage over the years but isn't against taking a more laissez-faire approach if the defensive scheme calls for it, according to an article on the Eagles' website.
And while Fletcher hasn't necessarily caught the eye of the casual fan, he's excited to show the coaching staff what he does best when hitting starts in July's training camp.
In an article by Philly.com's Zach Berman, Fletcher talked about his eagerness to strap up the pads and start contact football:
We can't press right now, but in training camp we'll be able to do that. I'm looking forward to getting up there on the line of scrimmage.
So, basically, Fletcher secured an abundance of snaps at corner without even showcasing his best skill?
That not only turned heads, but should also make Eagles fans very intrigued.
Dennis Kelly, OT
After being selected as the No. 4 overall pick in the 2013 draft, it was somewhat expected that the starting job was his from the get-go for Lane Johnson.
Welp, that simply wasn't the case as one of the earliest headlines from OTAs came when Johnson wasn't receiving first-team snaps.
No, instead it was Dennis Kelly getting first-team reps over Johnson early on in camp, according to CSNPhilly.com's Geoff Mosher.
And while Philly.com's Jeff McLane points out that Philadelphia's projected first-team offensive line (including Johnson) practiced together for the first time on June 4, Dennis Kelly still made a nice impression in the offseason.
He's not expected to start, but what Kelly proved was his capability to compete and stick with the first-team guys.
As the Eagles know very well, injuries happen, especially to offensive linemen, so an able-bodied bench is a necessity.
Kelly got the attention of some people during OTAs, and that success should be a good boost for him moving forward.
DeSean Jackson, WR
A solid amount of attention focused on DeSean Jackson? Not a surprise at all.
While Jackson has had his fair share of attention-grabbers in the past, one of his biggest was the firing of his agent Drew Rosenhaus.
A powerhouse (no pun intended) in the sports business industry, Jackson's former agent claimed after his firing that the Eagles' No. 1 receiver four of the past five years owed him a healthy sum of money.
Alleging Jackson owed him $400,000 in unpaid loans, Rosenhaus filed a formal grievance against his former client.
And with rumors of a move to Jay-Z's Roc Nation, according to Mike Garafolo of USA Today, Jackson has once again caught the attention of the fans and media.