Philadelphia Eagles training camp will be huge for both Sua Opeta and Shareef Miller.
Sua Opeta might not have gotten the playing time that Marcus Epps did but it’s important to remember that he was sitting behind some great players on one of the best offensive lines in football.
Run game coordinator and offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland has had a knack for developing guys in the trenches. Matt Pryor sat on the bench during his rookie year and most of his second year until his first start came in the Wild Card Game in which he had a solid performance. Halapoulivaati Vaitai made noticeable mistakes, but he developed into a decent backup who started when Jason Peters went down in the Super Bowl season.
Opeta might have spent most of the year with the practice squad, but he did get called up in early December. If anything happens to Isaac Seumalo this year, Opeta might have the opportunity to compete for the job. If not, there’s still a good chance the Eagles will keep him around and try to develop him as a solid backup for years to come. He’ll be competing for one of the last few spots on the depth chart, or he’ll end up on the practice squad again.
Shareef Miller probably won’t develop into an elite pass rusher, but he does have the potential to be a great run stopper. Most analysts expected that he would need a year to work on his technique, especially with his hands. It’s also worth noting that he had Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Vinny Curry, and Josh Sweat ahead of him on the depth chart, but the “Birds” only played Curry in six games during his rookie season. Sweat saw limited reps in his rookie campaign as well, but Miller didn’t display nearly the same athleticism that Sweat did at their respective combines.
He might be able to contribute in time but it’s difficult to see him taking a big jump in year two when the only departure at defensive end was Curry. At the end of the day, however, you would expect to see a fourth-round pick play more than two snaps in his rookie season.
He has a decent ceiling but also has a pretty low floor. It’s also worth noting that Phillip Daniels lasted just one year as the defensive line coach. While the sack numbers were similar to what they were with Chris Wilson in years prior, the number of hits on the quarterback by the defensive line went down from 119 to just 82. It was noticeable too. Matt Burke will need to get that number back up in 2020, and hopefully, he can help Miller make some strides as well.