Eagles Preseason: 10 players to watch in Friday’s matchup with New York
For the first time since January 16, we’re going to see our Eagles in live action this Friday night at the Linc. Philly is set to square off with the New York Jets for their first preseason game of the year.
On Wednesday, head coach Nick Sirianni revealed that his starters will get playing time on Friday. He didn’t nail down an exact snap count for his starters, but he stated that they’ll likely get at least a series or two.
While seeing the 2022 Eagles starters in action for the first time is obviously exciting, there are also plenty of fringe players who are fighting for a roster spot. There will likely be a handful of players who earn themselves a spot on the 53-man roster because of their performance during preseason action. The preseason is their time to shine.
Here are 10 Eagles players worth keeping an eye on during Friday’s matchup with the Jets.
QB Jalen Hurts
Now that it’s confirmed the starters will get some run on Friday, all eyes will naturally be on quarterback Jalen Hurts.
Per reports out of camp, Hurts has had an up-and-down showing thus far. With such a small workload Friday night, it’ll be difficult to truly gauge how far Hurts has come in his development. Not to mention the fact that it’s the preseason; New York isn’t going to show any exotic looks defensively.
Regardless, Hurts will have the opportunity to quiet some of his critics if he can string together a solid drive or two.
WR Jalen Reagor
Jalen Reagor is fighting for his job right now. With AJ Brown and Zach Pascal now in the fold, Reagor’s status with the team is very much up in the air. But, according to reports from the NovaCare Complex, Reagor has put together a solid camp through two weeks.
He may not be a complete lock to make the final 53 just yet, but he’s certainly trending in that direction. Now that Reagor isn’t technically a starter, he should get plenty of run Friday night.
Once the second-team offense rotates in, Reagor or Pascal will be the No. 1 receiver on the field. I wouldn’t be shocked if Reagor ends up stealing the show.
DT Jordan Davis
The Eagles first-round pick has been turning heads at camp and is bound to get substantial playing time Friday night.
We all know what Jordan Davis is capable of when he’s at his best. The 6-foot-6, 336-pound interior lineman is as strong and athletic as they come for a man of his size.
One of the biggest concerns with Davis is his ability to rush the passer, something he was rarely asked to do during his time at Georgia. Jonathan Gannon has shown faith in Davis’ pass rushing acumen throughout the offseason, so we should see the former Bulldog on the field in certain passing situations.
Hopefully, we get to see a little bit of that pass rushing potential Friday night.
LB Nakobe Dean
Arguably the biggest steal of the 2022 NFL Draft, Nakobe Dean figures to get plenty of playing time come Friday.
The Eagles first unofficial depth chart listed Dean as the second-string MIKE backer, right behind T.J. Edwards. Edwards has reportedly had a strong camp, so the likelihood of Dean snagging the starting gig is low. Nevertheless, a strong showing in the preseason could earn Dean playing time.
Simply put, Dean is too good to keep on the bench. He’ll carve out a role for himself in Gannon’s defense. Friday will be our first glimpse at what that role may be.
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RB Kennedy Brooks
The top trio in the Eagles backfield is set in stone. Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, and Kenneth Gainwell will all get plenty of touches during the regular season. If the team opts to keep four backs on the roster, undrafted rookie Kennedy Brooks might be the front-runner to earn the spot.
Of all the backs on the Eagles roster, Brooks is the closest to fitting the power back archetype. Without Jordan Howard in the fold, Brooks could potentially fill those shoes with his north-south running style.
With both Scott and Gainwell out with injuries at the moment, Brooks should get plenty of touches against the Jets.
WR Britain Covey
Of all the undrafted players at Eagles camp, wideout Britain Covey may have the best shot to earn a spot on the 53-man roster.
He’s been a standout during camp on offense as well as on special teams as a returner. Covey is undersized for the position, standing at 5-foot-8, 170 pounds, but he has tremendous quickness in the open field.
If Covey puts together a solid preseason, he may be a lock for the final roster come Week 1.
QB Reid Sinnett
Reid Sinnett was the forgotten man in the Eagles QB room entering camp. Now that we’re two weeks into practice, Sinnett is battling Gardner Minshew for the QB2 spot on the depth chart.
Both Sinnett and Minshew will get a lot of action this preseason, but we already know what Minshew is. With Sinnett, we have no idea what he’s really capable of running Sirianni’s offense. If the 25-year-old Sinnett can put together some nice tape during preseason play, it could propel him into the backup role and make Minshew more expendable.
LB Davion Taylor
Like Sinnett, Davion Taylor has become the outcast among the Eagles linebackers. Despite starting six games and showing real growth in 2021, Taylor is the odd man out with the additions of Kyzir White and Nakobe Dean.
Nevertheless, Taylor has still put together a solid camp, per reports. He may not be a starter come Week 1, but with some solid preseason tape, he could convince Gannon to give him a role on his defense.
CB Zech McPhearson
Darius Slay, James Bradberry, and Avonte Maddox are the unquestioned starters in the cornerback room. Behind them, second-year player Zech McPhearson has quietly cemented his status as the first corner off the bench if any of the top-three CBs get injured.
He’s been getting praise from media members and teammates alike throughout camp. NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Reuben Frank went as far as stating that McPhearson could be the most improved player on the roster.
McPhearson didn’t see much action as a rookie, logging just 174 defensive snaps on the year. If all goes according to plan, he probably won’t see much playing time this year either. Regardless, his development will be key for the future of the cornerback position in Philadelphia. Hopefully we see some real growth with his play Friday night.
S Marcus Epps
Not only has Marcus Epps had a great camp thus far, some reporters have suggested that he may actually be the best safety on the roster. That’s high praise for a guy who started his Eagles career as an emergency option at the position.
The team’s first unofficial depth chart listed Epps as the starting strong safety opposite of Anthony Harris. He may not get a ton of playing time on Friday, but if he’s as good as some are suggesting, he should still leave his mark on the contest.
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