The first few days of training camp for the Eagles are in the books, and the team has gotten off to a good start early on. With a chance to prove themselves ahead of the 2019 season, seven young players have emerged as early winners of camp so far.

Before listing those seven players, there are some other notes from camp to go over so far.

First and foremost is the health of CB Cre’Von LeBlanc, who has missed two practices after suffering an injury. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, LeBlanc suffered a minor foot sprain that landed him into a walking boot and using a roll-a-bout. LeBlanc will not have to undergo surgery and is expected to be ready for the start of the regular season.

Along with LeBlanc, CB Jalen Mills is also continuing to suffer foot problems of his own. As noted in a health update, Mills was placed on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list at the start of camp, which will hold him out of practice for the time being. It is unknown when Mills could return.

With the injury news of LeBlanc and Mills, the Eagles are suddenly in the market for a cornerback. The Eagles claimed CB Alex Brown off of waivers, who was waived by the San Francisco 49ers. The team also hosted free-agent CB Orlando Scandrick on a visit and worked him out earlier in the day.

Now, let’s get into some of the early winners of Eagles training camp.

7) DE Josh Sweat

Josh Sweat, who is entering his second season in Philadelphia, is set to have an increased role this year. After trading away Michael Bennett and losing Chris Long to retirement, the Eagles will be depending upon Sweat to emerge as a trustworthy backup.

In preparation for that, Sweat made some serious physical changes, that drastically better his chances of being able to produce in that role.

Sweat says he gained 22 pounds this offseason, which has him north of 265 pounds. In his rookie season, Sweat’s biggest knock was his lack of size, which for the most part kept him off of the field, outside of more dire situations.

In his transformed body, Sweat will be able to be far more effective on the field, putting him in a good position to make a nice jump in his sophomore season. Throughout camp, the changes have been well-noted, and he is looking like a player that can make a impact in 2019.

6) WR Mack Hollins

Mack Hollins looks to be fully healthy, which alone makes him a big-time winning for training camp. Hollins went through a mysterious 18-month recovery due to a hernia and groin injury that left many fans puzzling if he even were alive (yes, the matter of his existence is a comedic topic until this day!).

Now, Hollins is back on the field, but not only that, he is looking good in his play as well. Hollins has made a number of impressive plays in the first few days of practice, playing some with the first-team and some with the second-team.

Both health and productivity will be important for Hollins to solidify his spot on the Eagles roster.

The Eagles have eight wide receivers that are battling for one, or maybe two spots on the depth chart. Hollins has the upper hand due to his past experience in Philadelphia, but that was dependent on his ability to be on the field, and now that seems to not be of concern anymore.

Hollins is back, healthy, and completely alive, making him an easy candidate to be labeled as a winner at training camp early on.

5) LT Andre Dillard

Andre Dillard may not be set for tons of playing time this year, but the first training camp is already off to a good start for the first-round pick out of Washington State.

Dillard has been on future Hall of Fame LT Jason Peters all training camp, soaking up all of the knowledge he can from the living legend and Eagles offensive lineman.

Peters acknowledged his desire to teach Dillard and put him in as good of a position as possible for when he retires, which will benefit the rookie to no end.

In his first practices of training camp, Dillard has put the tips to good use. Dillard has been dominating defenders across from him constantly throughout 11-on-11 drills, most notably sticking Josh Sweat a number of times.

As mentioned before, Sweat is much stronger now, so that result is more of a compliment to Dillard’s game than it is a weakness of Sweat’s.

In the event Peters goes down with another injury, Dillard looks to be fully ready to quickly transition from one of college footballs most dominant offensive lineman to a productive left tackle protecting Carson Wentz’s blindside. For now, though, Dillard gets the honor of learning from one of the best-left tackle’s the game has ever seen.

4) TE Dallas Goedert

It would be hard to find an Eagles fan, reporter, or someone within the organization who hasn’t already hopped on the Dallas Goedert hype train.

Goedert, a second-round pick in 2018, is fully positioned to have a monster breakout season. Goedert got off to a great start in mandatory minicamps, being nominated the teams most impressive player by his teammates, and that success has translated to the early stages of training camp.

Goedert continues to be a top option for Carson Wentz, and the Eagles have used 12 formations (2 wide receivers, 2 tight ends, 1 running back) in an effort to maximize Goedert’s time on the field.

In training camp, Goedert continues to make impressive plays, being a factor in both the intermediate and downfield passing game.

Alongside Zach Ertz, Goedert gives the Eagles the chance to have the leagues most dangerous tight end cores in recent memory.

3) LB Kamu Grugier-Hill

The Eagles don’t value the linebacker position as much as some other teams, but it is still a position to keep an eye on. Top-end talent is a bit of an issue here for the Eagles, but the growth of Kamu Grugier-Hill may solve that.

The team already brought in Zach Brown, solidifying the inside, but outside of that, the Eagles have some question marks. Nigel Bradham continues to be limited after an offseason surgery to fix torn ligaments in his toe suffered in the divisional round game against the Saints, and outside of that, the Eagles just have a bunch of young, unproven talent.

On one side of the field at LB, though, the Eagles seem to be in a good position with Grugier-Hill.

Grugier-Hill has been all over the field during training camp, even getting in the way of, and intercepting a pass from Carson Wentz. Grugier-Hill may have legitimately developed into a LB that could play all three downs in 2019.

Once Bradham returns, the Eagles will have one of the more underrated LB cores in football, thanks in large part to the growth of Grugier-Hill. This production will have to stay consistent throughout camp and into the season, but for now, there is a lot to be happy about with Grugier-Hill.

2) CB Rasul Douglas

For the first time in his career, Rasul Douglas is being given a legitimate chance to win one of the outside cornerback spots. With Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills and Cre’Von LeBlanc sidelined due to injury, Douglas has started at one of the outside CB spots for every team practice this offseason.

For a few seasons now, the potential of Douglas has been seen, but it has never really come to fruition until last season. Douglas helped solidify the CB position for the Eagles after Darby and Mills went down, playing against opposing teams top wide receiver frequently.

Coming into this season, there is a real chance Douglas will get a chance to do the same to open up the season.

At training camp, Douglas has played well, continuing his steady rise of productivity since he came into the league in 2017. Over the next few weeks, Douglas could lock down one of the starting CB spots while the others continue to be on the mend due to injury.

1) CB Sidney Jones

Sidney Jones, the player who many called a bust, has been the most impressive Eagle at the start of training camp.

Jones has been all over the field making plays, and better yet, he is completely health. It’s worth noting: going into last season, Jones was still recovering from a torn Achilles, which affected his strength. Due to that, Jones suffered a couple of soft-tissue injuries.

One thing is clear: while Jones was out due to injury, he took the time to thoroughly study and learn the Eagles defense. Now, that time in the film room is resulting in performances that has positioned him to win one of the starting CB jobs.

With Darby, Mills, and LeBlanc all out with injury, as noted before, it is completely feasible that Jones does enough to bump all three to become a starting CB. Jones has been switching between the outside and the slot, and he most recently took over Avonte Maddox as one of the starting outside CB’s.

Even if Jones ends up in the slot, he is more than capable of producing. Jones ranked among the best slot CB’s in the first few weeks of last season before going down with injury.

Wherever Jones ends up, he has positioned himself with a strong start to camp to become a major contributor in 2019 for the Eagles.

It is still early on, but numerous young players on the Eagles have emerged as the early winners of camp. As a team that will rely on young talent moving forward, that bodes as nothing but good news.

Photo: John Jones/Getty Images
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