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Eagles vs. Packers: 19 most interesting players to watch in Philadelphia's first preseason game

Who do you want to see?

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles-Minicamp Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles are set to play a meaningless football game tonight against the Green Bay Packers. The final score doesn't matter, but it will still be interesting to see how certain players perform. There are plenty of roster jobs and position battles to be won/lost this summer. Here are the 19 most interesting Eagles players to watch in tonight's game. Keep in mind the starters will only play for a series or two. Jersey numbers listed next to the names of players.

1 - Carson Wentz - No. 11

Doug Pederson confirmed Wentz will start on Thursday night. He probably won’t play much, but it’ll still be interesting to see how he looks in limited snaps. Wentz has looked really great in training camp. Now we’ll get to see him in game action for the first time since January. I’m quite certain his performance won’t cause fans to overreact one way or the other. It’s not like an Eagles quarterback ever played well against Green Bay in the preseason and sent this fanbase into a frenzy before.

2 - Nelson Agholor - No. 13

A lot of people have had a hard time believing the Agholor hype is legit. I don’t blame them. Agholor was literally one of the worst wide receivers in the NFL over the past two seasons. It’s hard to believe he’s actually good now until he proves it in game action. Daniel Jeremiah’s claim about Agholor being the Eagles’ slot receiver won’t seem so ridiculous if he lights it up in the preseason.

3 - Marcus Johnson - No. 84

A day before Eagles training camp began, I wrote an article titled: “Get to know the surprise Eagles wide receiver who might make the final roster.” Allow me to pat myself on the back because Johnson indeed seems bound to make the final cut. He’s looked good in practice by flashing off deep speed, good hands, and consistency. Johnson could get some run with the starters considering how he’s filled in when Alshon Jeffery has been out. This game marks the first time Eagles fans will get a look at Johnson since he was injured during the preseason games last year.

4 - Greg Ward - No. 89

I really could have listed the wide receiver position as a whole. Ward is especially interesting, though, due to his transition from quarterback to wide receiver. I think you might be surprised how polished he looks. Ward has practiced well and could be bound for the practice squad. A strong preseason showing, however, might force the Eagles to try to keep him on the active roster or else risk losing him to waivers.

5 - Billy Brown - No. 85

The Division II undrafted tight end turned wide receiver has done a good job of catching the ball during camp. Now Brown’s blocking ability will be heavily tested. The good news for Brown is Anthony Denham will likely be out, so he should get plenty of snaps. Brown is on the roster bubble. A strong preseason could earn him a spot on the roster. Otherwise he might just be a practice squad candidate.

6 - Adam Zaruba - No. 80

Zaruba is the longest of long shots. The former Canadian rugby player likely doesn’t have a shot to make the team or practice squad but it’ll be interesting to see how he handles his first NFL game action.

7 - Chance Warmack - No. 67

With Brandon Brooks expected to be out due to an ankle injury, Chance Warmack will likely get the nod at starting right guard. I like what I’ve seen out of Warmack in camp. I’m curious to see how he’ll hold up in real game action.

8 - Dillon Gordon - No. 69

The Eagles have lined Gordon up everywhere. He’s the second team left tackle. He’s the sixth offensive lineman when the Eagles use an extra blocker. He’s a goal line fullback. He’s a situational tight end. Gordon’s progress will be worth monitoring.

9 - LeGarrette Blount - No. 35

Blount probably won’t play much at all, but I want to see at least one play where he fights for extra yardage after first contract. I love that kind of stuff. It’s hard to fully judge the Eagles’ running backs in practice so I’m eager to see the team’s new starter in live action.

10 - Donnel Pumphrey - No. 34

How will the 5-9, 176 pound rookie running back hold up in his first NFL playing time? How will the Eagles use Pump? Will he get many carries? Will he be more of a receiver? Both? Will he even play much after dealing with a hamstring issue recently? Lots of questions to answer here.

11 - Corey Clement - No. 30

Wendell Smallwood potentially being out opens up playing time for the local kid Corey Clement. I get the feeling Clement is going to be this year’s Henry Josey or Raheem Mostert: a young rusher who fills up the stat sheet and later gets cut, much to the outrage of Eagles fans.

12 - Joe Walker - No. 59

Walker was on pace to make the Eagles’ roster at the backup MIKE behind Jordan Hicks last year. He was having a pretty good preseason until he unfortunately suffered a season-ending ACL injury. I thought Walker looked better in the games than he did in practice last summer. That might end up being the case again this year. Walker needs to step up in order to ensure a roster spot.

13 - Nathan Gerry - No. 47

Jim Schwartz said he’s liked what he’s seen out of Gerry this summer. The safety-turned-linebacker has looked more than capable in coverage and he’s held his own as a tackler. Now Gerry will play his first career game at his new position. If Gerry continues to look good, the Eagles could feel comfortable enough with him at WILL to finally move on from Mychal Kendricks.

14 - Tim Jernigan - No. 93

Jernigan won’t play much but I’m hoping to see him get at least or two good interior pressures. I really think the combination of him and Fletcher Cox will be a lot for opposing offensive lines to handle this season.

15 - Derek Barnett - No. 96

If you’re wondering why it took me so long to mention the Eagles’ first round pick, notice that I started out with the offense first. But Barnett being placed down here is fitting for how he’s kind of flown under the radar. Barnett’s flashed good pass rush ability in practice but there are other times where it’s apparent he’s a 21-year-old rookie who still has some growing to do. I’m eager to see him in action tonight.

16 - Rasul Douglas - No. 32

The Eagles desperately need someone to step up at cornerback. Why not Rasul Douglas, the team’s third round pick? Douglas has been up and down in practice all offseason. He’ll do a real nice job of covering underneath throws before getting burned deep. The preseason games should give us a good reading on how ready Douglas is to play this year.

17 - C.J. Smith - No. 37

If Patrick Robinson continues to struggle, Smith might be the guy taking his job on the outside. Smith has quietly been solid ever since signing with Philadelphia as an undrafted free agent in 2016. The North Dakota State alumnus can play himself into more playing time if he looks good in these exhibition games.

18 - Corey Graham - No. 36

How will the Eagles use their newly-signed defensive back? Graham has been running with the second team defense at safety. That could mean he’s the third safety behind Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod. Maybe the Eagles will give Graham some looks at corner. We’ll see.

19 - Terrence Brooks - No. 29

Brooks has made a big play in practice nearly every day. Let’s see if that carries over to the games. Brooks’ spot may be less safe than originally thought due to the Graham signing. He needs to continue to shine in the preseason.

Honorable mention

Alshon Jeffery (No. 17) would be on this list if he wasn’t expected to be out.

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