7 Players off to the Best and Worst Starts at Philadelphia Eagles Camp

John McGonigalCorrespondent IIAugust 6, 2013

7 Players off to the Best and Worst Starts at Philadelphia Eagles Camp

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    With the team’s first preseason game on the horizon, the Philadelphia Eagles have seen both stellar and dismal starts to training camp for a handful of players.

    Whether it’s been on the field or off, the Eagles certainly haven’t been short of storylines. But injuries and poor decisions have masked some progress made on the gridiron.

    With that, let’s take a look at those Eagles who have impressed or disappointed thus far in training camp.

Best: DeSean Jackson

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    An electric player coming off a dull 2012 season, DeSean Jackson has found himself in his comfort zone this offseason, making lots of big plays.

    The drills in training camp and the light contact Kelly prefers have played well for Jackson over the first two weeks.

    One-on-one matchups in drills have been nightmare after nightmare for corners. Jackson's quickness is on full display. The speedster has jelled especially well with Michael Vick on the field.

    Jackson has been arguably the best player in camp thus far, and it looks like Kelly's offense is going to serve him well. 

    An electric player coming off a dull 2012 season, DeSean Jackson has found himself in his comfort zone this offseason: making big plays.

    The drills in training camp and light contact Kelly has wanted has played well for Jackson over the first two weeks.

    One-on-one matchups in drills have been nightmares for corners as Jackson's quickness is on full display.

    The speedster has seemingly gelled especially well with Michael Vick on the field with 40-yard bomb after bomb as evidence.

    Jackson has been arguably the best player in camp thus far, without a doubt. 

Worst: Riley Cooper

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    With the team’s first preseason game on the horizon, the Philadelphia Eagles have seen both stellar and dismal starts to training camp for a handful of players.

    Whether it’s been on the field or off, the Eagles certainly haven’t been short of storylines, but injuries and poor decisions have masked some progress made on the gridiron.

    With that, let’s take a look at those Eagles who have impressed or disappointed thus far in training camp.

Best: Brandon Boykin

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    While Jackson has been the most impressive on the offensive side of the ball, Brandon Boykin has been phenomenal so far at corner, on the outside or covering the slot.

    The times Boykin has been burnt are few and far between. He has been consistent regardless of whom he goes up against.

    Boykin appeared in all 16 games last year for the team but tallied only 31 tackles.

    The second-year player played almost exclusively in the slot last year. He has a chance to compete for more than a specialized role in 2013.

    If he keeps up the tenacious and instinctive play in camp, he'll find himself fighting for significant time alongside Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher when the season opener rolls around.

Worst: Jeremy Maclin/Arrelious Benn

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    Two different people, same issue.

    News of a torn ACL struck Jeremy Maclin on the first few days of training camp, and Arrelious Benn was burdened by the same reality on Tuesday.

    Both will miss the entire 2013 season. 

    For Maclin, he entered camp to talks of a new, more lucrative contract after the season and what 2013 meant to him. Benn had a disappointing 2012 campaign, so getting off to an accelerated beginning to this year's camp was imperative.

    It doesn't appear either of these guys will be accelerating any time soon. Nursing injuries is their primary concern moving forward.

     

Best: Damaris Johnson

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    A lot has been written over the past few years about Damaris Johnson's potential as a slot receiver and crafty ball-catcher. He still possesses the same potential, but it's been an especially solid start to camp considering the reps he's getting.

    With Maclin out from the start, Benn held out for most of practice, and Cooper in counseling, Johnson has been working alongside Jackson on the Eagles' first team.

    In the first training camp depth chart, Johnson is still listed behind Jackson with Cooper the No. 2 starter, but don't be surprised if he overtakes the former Florida Gator.

    Johnson has the speed, route running precision and awareness after the catch to produce at a high level, and if he continues to do so in camp, he'll get ample opportunities when it counts.

Worst: Jason Peters

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    Turnovers killed the Eagles last season, especially interceptions and fumbles by wild-card quarterback Michael Vick. But those issues had origins elsewhere. Philly's offensive line didn't serve as much protection to Vick and Nick Foles.

    And that issue (so many issues), started with Jason Peters' season-ending injuries last offseason.

    That's not to say all the turnovers can be pinned on Peters' absence and the offensive line, but it certainly factors in.

    But it's all good because Peters is totally healthy now right?

    Not quite.

    Only a week into camp, Peters left Eagles practice early with a mild right hamstring injury. It doesn't sound overly serious, but any health issues with a 340-pound man who tore two Achilles tendons shouldn't sit right with Eagles fans.

    Expecting to be fully fit entering the season, Peters is off to a rocky start. 

Best: Cedric Thornton

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    Cedric Thornton wasn't a household name in college, at the 2011 draft or even now.

    But he's the starting left defensive end for the Eagles, and people better get to know him.

    An undrafted free agent signed by the Eagles in 2011, Thornton spent the vast majority of that season on the practice squad. The defensive end eventually worked his way into some limited playing time in 2012, making 27 tackles and appearing in all 16 games last year.

    But with Trent Cole and Brandon Graham transitioning to outside linebacker in the Eagles' new 3-4 defense, Thornton was presented with an opportunity and has capitalized so far in camp.

    It's not a guarantee that Thornton keeps that starting spot all the way up to the season opener, but for a guy hailing from Central Arkansas, he's making some noise in Eagles camp.