Through two preseason games, a few unexpected names have really stood out in both impressive and worrisome kinds of ways. While it is far too early to start greasing up light posts or triggering a wide spread panic across Philadelphia, the performance of some players through the first two preseason games has been quite curious. Too see where some of our favorite players currently line up, I consulted our friends at Pro Football Focus to see who the five highest-graded players currently are, as well as the five lowest-graded players are. Please note, a minimum of 20 snaps is required to make this list.
Le Crème de la Crème
Brandon Brooks - RG (93.9 overall)
Among offensive linemen with 20 snaps, Brooks’s grade of 93.9 ranks second only to Mike Iupati of the Arizona Cardinals. Brooks is yet to allow a single QB pressure through 35 snaps and has looked absolutely dominate in the running game.
Sidney Jones - CB (84.8 overall)
Even though he has allowed a passer rating of 108.9 when targeted (97.2 from the slot), PFF is high on the quasi-rookie cornerback thus far. Jones has allowed 4 catches on 7 targets for 33 yards and 1 TD. Also for those wondering, he has taken 23 of his 35 coverage snaps from the slot, which is less than some of you might have been expecting.
Shelton Gibson - WR (81.8 overall)
On 2 deep passing targets (20+ yards down the field), Gibson has made two receptions for 120 yards and 1 touchdown. In addition to his presence in the deep passing game, Gibson has also made 5 additional catches for 47 yards and another TD. With 5 first downs, 7.3 yards per reception, and a perfect passer rating when targeted (158.3), Gibson leads the team in just about every receiving category. If Gibson can continue to play like this, its hard to envision him not making the final 53-man roster in 2 weeks.
Nate STUDfeld - QB (81.7 overall)
Through two games, Sudfeld has accumulated the following stats (and rank among quarterbacks with 20+ dropbacks):
- 17 1st down passes (2nd)
- 5 Touchdowns (1st)
- 452 yards (1st)
- 147.3 passer rating when kept clean (1st)
- 143.8 passer rating on throws 20+ yards downfield (1st)
While these numbers must come with the obvious caveat that it is only the preseason, it also must be noted that someone needs to lead these categories. It will be interesting to see how the quarterback situation unfolds in the coming weeks, as the Eagles seem to have 3 capable starting quarterbacks on the roster.
Fletcher Cox - DI (81.6 overall)
No surprise to see Cox here. PFF has long loved the big man. Cox has 4 pressures on 21 passing downs, which is solid, but has 0 stops on 7 running plays. Its a small sample size, of course, but it would be nice to see Cox make an impact in the running game this week.
Le Bottom de la Barrel
Stefen Wisniewski - LG (39.7 overall)
As the great Confucius once said “An offensive line is only as good as its weakest link”, and in this case, Wisniewski is exactly who the big fella was talking about. While the team doesn’t have many better options (looking at you Seumalo and Warmack) to plug in at the left guard position, through the first two preseason games, Wiz has looked much more like the 2016 and prior version of himself than the 2017 Super Bowl Champ one. Only 3 other guards are graded worse than him (one of which is from Dallas and another one is from Washington). It should be noted that Wiz has done just fine in pass blocking situations (1 allowed pressure through 20 passing downs) but his run blocking has been borderline abysmal.
Elijah Qualls - DI (38.8 overall)
With Timmy Jernigan out for the start of the season, many, myself included, were hoping to see Qualls step up as a dependable backup for the Eagles. Among interior defensive linemen with at least 50 snaps, Qualls is the second lowest graded by PFF. The defensive tackle is one of just five defensive players in the league to accumulate three penalties through the first two games. It should be noted that these penalties are likely dragging his grade down additionally so if Qualls can avoid getting flagged moving forward he should rise up the ranks.
Jeremy Reaves - S (37.7 overall)
So far, the only thing Reaves has really shown is that he needs to work on his tackling. On 7 attempts, he completed just 5 tackles. His tackling efficiency ranks T-10th worst among 54 safeties with 50 or more snaps (Tre Sullivan is one of the 9 who have tackled worse than him). Reaves has only been targeted once through 33 coverage snaps, which seems to bode well for his coverage abilities.
Matt Jones - RB (34.0 overall)
Its almost hard to believe that this is the same player who had such a promising rookie season in 2015 with the Washington football team. With 1.67 yards after contact per attempt Jones ranks T-97th out of 123 running backs (Ajayi is 9th with 5.4). Its hard to criticize a guy who has only carried the ball 6 times, but it seems clear that Jones does not have the explosiveness to be an NFL level talent anymore.
D.J. Killings - CB (29.1 overall)
While every list needs to have a bottom, it is somewhat curious how Killings ended up here. Among Eagles cornerbacks with at least 10 coverage snaps, Killings ranks 2nd to only Ronald Darby (39.6) with a 71.9 passer rating allowed. He has allowed a reception on 2 of 4 targets, which is not ideal, but it appears small sample size is working against him. The young cornerback has a long shot to make the roster, and his PFF grade isn’t doing him any favors.