Eagles Mailbag: Zach Ertz's Ceiling, Running Backs, Chris Givens

Plenty of your questions, including ones about wins and the slot corner, were answered earlier this week. 

But there are more. As always, let's dive in: 

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I think Zach Ertz is in for a big season to follow his big payday. 

Even if Doug Pederson wasn't hired as the Eagles' new coach, I think Ertz had the chance to have a big year under Chip Kelly. Certainly, Kelce's success in Kansas City bodes well for Ertz. 

But it's not like Ertz hasn't been putting up the numbers. In fact, look at the comparison in 2015.

Kelce: 72 receptions, 875 yards, five touchdowns

Ertz: 75 receptions, 853 yards, two touchdowns

No, maybe Ertz hasn't had the major breakout season many expected from him by this point in his career, but he's improved every year so far, and that should continue under Pederson in 2016. 

Perhaps one of the biggest things he has going for him is the return of Sam Bradford. We've heard so much about Bradford's last seven games of 2015, and he was really good in them, but so was Ertz. 

In Bradford's last seven games, Ertz had 54 catches for 571 yards and two touchdowns. Even if Ertz only played those seven games, he would have still been the Eagles' second-leading receiver by a wide margin. 

If Ertz kept up that pace for a full season, he'd have 123 catches for 1,305 yards and four touchdowns. 

Not now, but he could be, especially if Nelson Agholor and Josh Huff don't live up to their potential. 

Right now, I'd say Jordan Matthews, Agholor, Huff and Rueben Randle are ahead of Givens, but I still think Givens is on the roster as the fifth wideout. And I certainly think he could play this season. 

If the Eagles elect to keep five wideouts on the team, I think Givens is the last one in. If they keep six, T.J. Graham is probably the next guy up. 

Well, you're right. Ryan Mathews does have an injury history in the league and Darren Sproles likely won't get a ton of touches. 

I do think there is some opportunity for fifth-rounder Wendell Smallwood this season. But I think it really depends on the health of Mathews. Remember, when he was healthy last year, Mathews was really good, averaging 5.1 yards per carry. If he's averaging 5.1 next season, he's not going to lose snaps to a rookie. 

The biggest thing Smallwood needs to show is his ability to block and pick up blitzes. That's often a big hurdle for rookie running backs. If he does show he can block, with his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, Smallwood has a three-down skillset. 

Rookies, quarterbacks and select vets report to camp on July 25. The rest of the team reports on July 27 and the first team practice is on July 28 at 3:30 p.m.

There are two open practice at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday, July 31 at 10 a.m. and on Sunday, Aug. 14 at 7 p.m. 

Both open practices are free and don't require tickets. Seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

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