2021 Eagles Training Camp Awards

Training camp came to a close in Florham Park on Wednesday so it's time to tally up the results after 17 practices
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The official training-camp portion of the Eagles' summer is over after Wednesday's 17th practice session, four of them of the joint variety vs. the Patriots and the Jets.

That means it's time to hand out the awards.

That includes the 2021 Mr. NovaCare Award winner, the player honored with the mythical "Paul Turner Trophy," even though we should all understand there is little chance the current champ could ever be quite as good as PT, who was once so beloved by so many in the Delaware Valley for hands that evidently rivaled Cris Carter.

So without further adieu, the envelopes please:

Most Improved: NT Javon Hargrave - The big man arrived in Philadelphia with the expectations that come along with a big-money contract.

Hargrave wasn't bad in 2020 but the stilted nature of the pandemic season where he really never got to know his teammates on a personal level and didn’t have even the scaled-back training camp due to a hamstring injury affected the former Steelers star.

In year 2 with the Eagles, Hargrave is much more comfortable and humming along next to Fletcher Cox on what should be one of the best interior defensive lines in the NFL. Hargrave has had a great summer overall and finished string Tuesday against the Jets when he may have put together the best overall individual practice from any player in camp.

Best Rookie: DL Milton Williams - First-round pick DeVonta Smith spent too much time on the sidelines to beat out Williams, who has shown great promise as a Brandon Graham-like player with the versatility to move inside and outside on the defensive line.

Biggest Disappointment: LT Andre Dillard - Penciled in as a potential starter at left tackle and given the first opportunity due to his pedigree of being a 2019 first-round pick, Dillard was being routed by Jordan Mailata in the competition before hurting his knee.

Now the narrative shifts to a potential trade with Dillard.

Toughest Rookie Debut: DT Marlon Tuipulotu - All of the Eagles’ rookie draft picks have an argument to make the final 53 with the exception of Tuipulotu who will likely get a redshirt year on the practice squad to hit the weight room.

The sixth-round, Southern Cal product has gotten pushed around by NFL offensive linemen and he simply needs to get stronger.

Best Undrafted Rookie: OL Kayode Awosika - Tight end Jack Stoll gets noticed more because of his position but Awosika has proven he's got a future in the league.

A natural left tackle, the former University of Buffalo star had handled cross-training well and while the Eagles are simply too deep on the offensive line to offer a 53-man roster spot right now, the organization would love to keep Awosika around on the practice squad as a developmental prospect.

Toughest Injury: TE Tyree Jackson (Fractured bone in his back) - Speaking of developmental players from Buffalo, Jackson, a former college QB there, was en route to making the roster, flashing natural receiving and route-running skills before he raised up to make a brilliant catch at the back of the end zone but landed flat on his back, resulting in a fractured bone in his back that will keep him out about two months.

The Eagles want Jackson around so the question becomes whether they shut him down completely or keep him on the original 53 before sending him to short-term IR.

Toughest to Figure Out: WR Jalen Reagor - Two Odell Beckham, Jr.-like one-handed catches in practice and occasional brilliance in one-on-one drills are often mitigated by route-running issues when the red light goes on for Reagor.

Head coach Nick Sirianni intimated conditioning could be part of the issue, a notable admittance considering that Reagor was fined twice by the old coaching staff for missing his weight limit.

"I guess in team situations, you're up [against it]," Sirianni said. "Hey, there is a 40-second clock and you're up again, there is a 40-second clock and you're up again. You know, we're not really snapping it at one every time, so it's really like 20 to 25 seconds. So just to sustain that conditioning throughout the whole thing.

"What the one-on-ones are there to do is really perfect your technique and fundamentals and see if the talent that you have and the fundamentals that you learned is going to win your one-on-one matchups. 

"That's what this league is about, the one-on-one matchups that you have to win. So, those are great experiences for him, and he's doing a really good job winning those one-on-one battles there, and now it’s just, hey, can you sustain that play to play?"

Biggest Flame Out: WR Michael Walker - Walker showed up looking like a route-running machine from the inside with rare short-area quickness before injuries quickly took hold and he was waived injured.

Best Late Pickup: WR Marken Michel - The ex-CFL star isn't here to make the team but his route-running is the most refined on the team and he has to set a good example to the younger receivers.

Fastest Player: WR Quez Watkins - As evidenced by the 79-yard bubble screen against Pittsburgh, Watkins is fast when measured against other fast players in a league obsessed with speed. He's the one Eagles player who can erase tackling angles.

“I was watching him in the offseason and he was working out at his place and I was watching one clip and I said ‘what the f@#$,’” cornerback Avonte Maddox said when discussing Watkins’ speed.

The Lane Johnson Award for Best Quote: RT Lane Johnson, of course, on the offensive line room - "O-line room is pretty vicious, man. We’re pretty mean to each other."

The Championship Banner Award: No truth to the rumors that the 4-0 joint-practice record will be celebrated with a banner next to the 2017 World Championship one at Lincoln Financial Field but the success is almost as significant. As an aside, that 2017 banner should read Super Bowl champions and it really bothers me.

Mr. NovaCare: TE Tyree Jackson - Even with the injury, no player generated more hype than Jackson as far as the unheralded opening eyes. The 6-foot-7 monstrous tight end went from bottom-of-the-roster player to a guy who is expected to contribute down the road.

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John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports-talk host Jody McDonald every morning from 8-10 on ‘Birds 365,” streaming live on both PhillyVoice.com and YouTube. John is also the host of his own show "Extending the Play" on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at jmcmullen44@gmail.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen

Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.