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Eagles vs. Colts: 10 players to watch in Philadelphia's first preseason game

Here's what to watch for.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles are scheduled to play a meaningless preseason game today. But while the final result doesn't count, it will still be interesting to see how certain players perform.

Here are the 10 Eagles players who deserve extra attention. Keep in mind the starters will likely only play 10 snaps or so.

1) Byron Maxwell

One of the Eagles' most expensive offseason additions has looked great in camp. The former Seattle Seahawks cornerback makes plays on the ball and he doesn't allow defenders to beat him very often. The Colts have a number of quality receiving options, along with a good quarterback in Andrew Luck, so Maxwell might get tested a little early on.

2) Nolan Carroll

Eagles players and coaches have raved about the offseason Carroll has had. Others are more suspect of the player who couldn't beat out Bradley Fletcher last season. Carroll is battling rookie Eric Rowe for the outside starting job so he'll be looking to prove himself here.

3) Eric Rowe

Three cornerbacks in a row! Tic-tac-toe. Or maybe Tic-tac-Rowe?  OK, that was awful. Anyway, the rookie second round pick is not only battling for an outside job with Carroll but he's also been getting some first team work as the nickel cornerback in practice. Maybe the Eagles will give him the first look there against the Colts as well. Rowe should get a decent amount of playing time.

4) Walter Thurmond

Another defensive back! Thurmond has looked impressive at safety during practice, which isn't a total surprise. He's a talented player with good coverage skills. Concerns remain, however, about his durability and his tackling. Today marks the first time Thurmond has ever lined up at safety in a game setting. The Eagles are really counting on him to at least be solid on the back end.

5) Marcus Smith

There's been talk about how the 2014 first round pick has had a good offseason. He's added weight and the coaches feel he's way ahead of where he was last year as a rookie. Now it's time for Smith to prove it. After only playing 105 snaps as a rookie, he should get plenty of playing time this summer. The team needs him to show he can be counted on as the third outside linebacker behind starters Connor Barwin and Brandon Graham.

6) Nelson Agholor

Philadelphia's first round rookie flashed during spring and summer workouts. He won't just be handed a starting job, however, so it's up to him to show the team why he's too good to keep on the bench.

7) Ryan Mathews

DeMarco Murray probably won't play much (if at all), so Mathews will have time to shine.

8) Andrew Gardner/John Moffitt/Matt Tobin/Julian Vandervelde

If the Eagles can list four players like this at one spot on their depth chart, I can steal that idea for this post. It will be interesting to see how the right guard situation plays out. It currently seems like Gardner is the early favorite, but the starting job is hardly set in stone. This position is up for grabs.

9) Brad Jones

With Kiko Alonso, Mychal Kendricks, and DeMeco Ryans presumably out for this game, veteran Brad Jones will likely get a look with the first team defense. Emmanuel Acho and Najee Goode are also worth watching here. These players are competing for a depth spot at inside linebacker behind the top three.


You already know. Tebow is back in the NFL for the first time since 2013. He's been up and down in training camp, as expected, but he has a real shot to win the third quarterback job in Philadelphia. Tebow will get plenty of playing time against the Colts. Considering how the Eagles have shown they're ready to move on from Matt Barkley, the team would probably like to see Tebow win the third string quarterback job.

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