Welcome to the Eagles rookie report — a weekly check in on Philadelphia’s young talents.
A week after Clayton Thorson turned in a forgettable NFL debut, the 2019 fifth-round pick rebounded in the exact way you’d want a rookie quarterback to do so. After Cody Kessler left the Jaguars game early with a concussion, Thorson was forced into playing the rest of the night.
Thorson responded with an unspectacular performance, which is actually a good thing! He looked calm, decisive and accurate. His touchdown pass was a bit of a lob, but it came on fourth down against a blitz, so you gotta love the kid’s chutzpah. For him to follow up a 0.0 passer rating game with what he did last night should give the staff confidence in him as a developmental starter.
Whether he’s ready to be the number two quarterback is still very much up in the air as Cody Kessler and Nate Sudfeld recover from their injuries. The long game with Thorson, at this point, has a glimmer of hope on the horizon.
Andre Dillard had another night with few mistakes. Folks tried laying blame on Dillard for the hit that took Kessler out of the fame, but Dillard was clearly doing his job by squeezing down to block a blitzing linebacker. Dillard continues to be solid while impressing with his physical tools.
Dillard took part in a collective offensive line performance for the Eagles that paved the way for Miles Sanders and co. all game. Sanders had exciting 12 and 16 yard runs where the line opened a huge gap for the rookie and Sanders shaked and baked his way down field. Albeit he had six carries, but Sanders showed off wiggle and some hard running. He looks like he’s on a different level than any other Eagles back.
JJ Arcega-Whiteside has been *okay* so far this preseason and is still clearly getting settled into NFL speed. What is notable is that Arcega-Whiteside has been targeted 11 times through two games, seven of those coming last night. It’s clear that the coaches and quarterbacks want to get him the ball, but he will need to start doing more with those opportunities.
On the defensive side of the ball, Eagles newcomer and third year player Daeshon Hall is making a lot of noise and overshadowing quietly impressive rookie preseasons. Shareef Miller continues to show a lot of promise. He had another sack last night when he spun out of a block and brought down the quarterback! Miller continues looking quick off the ball and has played with an impressive motor. This is encouraging for a team looking for young outside pass rushing talent, but the question remains if he can overtake a Daeshon Hall for a roster spot.
Also on the defensive side, undrafted free agent T.J. Edwards looked really solid last night. Edwards looked great coming downhill against the run. The team needs depth at linebacker and Edwards is playing himself into a roster spot.
As the team heads into their “dress rehearsal” game next week, they have to be happy with how their raft class has performed so far. It will be notable as to which rookies are heavily featured with the starters for the upcoming preseason game.