By Ed Benkin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Eagles rookies have gathered in South Philadelphia for a three-day mini-camp. None of them are taking anything for granted.
Many of the rookies are expected to make an immediate impact, but players such as fourth round draft choice Jaylen Watkins knows there is plenty of work to be done before the veterans arrive next week.
“I think all of us want to make this team,” said Watkins. “There’s always going to be pressure on everyone that was drafted. There still is pressure.”
The rookies will have the opportunity to get plenty of individual attention from the coaches this weekend. Second round draft choice Jordan Matthews says the key this weekend will be to work at a slower pace rather than trying to absorb too much too soon.
“My opponent is myself getting to the point where I’m actually very confident with the offense,” Matthews said. “I’ve been in the playbook more trying to learn and I’ll come back and watch film to try and correct my mistakes.”
First round draft choice Marcus Smith should have little worries about making the roster. However, Smith was still taking in a stretch which resulted in his college graduation and the thrill of becoming a first round draft pick.
“It’s been a great experience,” said Smith. “It’s exactly what I wanted to happen in my life and what I dreamed of. Just going back to last week. I graduated and got drafted and now I’m with the Philadelphia Eagles.”
One rookie free agent has already more than made his mark off the field. Defensive End Alejandro Villanueva has spent the last four years in the army, which included three tours of duty in Afghanistan.
“This is the first time we’ve had the chance to put on helmets and go against each other,” said Villanueva. “It felt different. Obviously, I think there’s a lot to improve. I’m just really excited to work with the coaches here to see where we can take this.”
The rookie camp will continue throughout the weekend.