First rookie minicamp, then OTAs; some players I will watch closely this spring

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The three players are only the start of what figures to be a compelling spring leading into training camp

Storylines will soon becoming fast and furiously, beginning Friday when the Eagles open a three-day minicamp for rookies.

It begins when head coach Doug Pederson meets with reporters at approximately 11:20 a.m. From there, it’s a noon practice start, but reporters aren’t allowed to watch the entire practice. Afterward, the locker room opens and the storytelling begins.

This is the first step toward OTAs, and they are, as always, voluntary.

Here is that schedule: May 21-23, May 28, May 30-31, and June 3-6.
A mandatory three-day minicamp begins June 11 then players and coaches break until training camp begins sometime probably in late July.

Here are some players I will be watching closely (see attached video for more detail):

Josh Adams. The running back was injured throughout most of the Eagles’ offseason work last year when he was signed as an undrafted free agent. He should be ready to go when everything gets underway, and he has a lot to build on from last season, when he showed flashes of being a serviceable NFL running back. The running back is more crowded now than at the end of last season with the additions of Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders, so Adams needs to have a good spring and summer to secure a roster spot.

Joe Ostman. Yes, I’m drinking the Howie Roseman Kool-Aid on a defensive end that seemed undersized last year, but maybe, after a year in the Eagles’ system won’t be as undersized this year. Head coach Doug Pederson and Roseman, the executive vice president of football operations, have gushed all offseason about Ostman. As it is, he is listed at 6-3, 255 pounds, which doesn’t sound terribly undersized, but let’s see if he can play that big if not bigger.

Sidney Jones. It’s time for the cornerback to play to the skillset that would have made him a first-round draft pick two years ago if not for an Achilles rupture that cost him all but one game of his rookie NFL season. Jones struggled to heal from a hamstring injury throughout a lot of last season.

“I’m going to cherish every moment of every day of this process,” said Jones back in January when the players cleaned out their lockers and headed intot he offseason. “That’s what’s going to make this special, embracing these next upcoming months and embracing the grind that’s going to be the special part, taking every moment of every day to literally put everything I have into it.”

Jones said his playing weight is 181. He doesn’t necessarily want to add weight, but he wanted to get stronger this offseason.

“Obviously one of my goals is to be stronger than I am and that will put on the weight, too,” said Jones. “(The Eagles) told me they would rather me be lighter and move. I’ve never been a super heavy guy. Even in college I was skinny, but I still handled my business. They’d rather me be comfortable in what I can do rather than pack on a bunch of weight.”

Soon, we’ll see how he looks and does, and if he is able to stay healthy.

With what is expected to be about 90 players roaming the Eagles’ South Philly training facility, there will obviously be plenty of other surprises and things to watch.

At the top of the watch list is the health of Carson Wentz. How much on-field work will the quarterback see?

How will the five rookie draft picks assimilate?

Will defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan play like he has something to prove after missing most of last year with a still-undisclosed injury?

Some answers will come this spring; others will wait until training camp later this summer.

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