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Eagles Rookie Report: Young players struggle in the spotlight

Grading members of the 2020 NFL Draft class.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles somehow found themselves in playoff contention 16 weeks into the season despite being an abject mess. With a postseason berth on the line, all the Eagles had to do Sunday was beat Dallas so they could have a win-and-in situation against Washington next week. To do that, they had to rely heavily on their rookie starters, and it didn’t go well.

Jalen Hurts: C

After a brilliant performance last week, Hurts fell down to earth against the Cowboys. Hurts started with a bang in the first quarter; leading two scoring drives including a bomb to DeSean Jackson.

But it was basically downhill from there.

wo interceptions and a lost fumble proved costly for the team as there were still moments in the fourth quarter where the Eagles could’ve clawed back into the game and didn’t.

Hurts’ accuracy waned after looking sharp last week and he had a tough time overcoming Dallas clamping up the pass catchers and shutting down Miles Sanders. Offensive success rested on Hurts’ shoulders and it was two big for him at this early stage in his career.

I am not discouraged by his performance yesterday. It is more in line with what you’d expect from a rookie in his third start than what he did last week. Hurts still impressed with his now signature collectedness in the face of adversity. He made a few big time throws downfield to Desean Jackson, Alshon Jefffery and Quez Watkins.

Hurts is the second quarterback ever with back-to-back games of over 300 passing yards and 50 rushing yards (Michael Vick). He is the second quarterback ever to start his career off with at least three games rushing for 50 yards or more (Lamar Jackson). Hurts is still a playmaker on this team. Just one who had a bad game in a bright moment. Comparisons to Carson Wentz’ play are going to be inevitable but Hurts is only 22. Carson Wentz was still a junior at North Dakota State when he was that age.

Poll

Grade Jalen Hurts’ Week 16 performance

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    A
    (14 votes)
  • 27%
    B
    (421 votes)
  • 45%
    C
    (707 votes)
  • 20%
    D
    (317 votes)
  • 6%
    F
    (100 votes)
1559 votes total Vote Now

Jalen Reagor: F

Woof.

Reagor’s failure to make an impact for basically this whole season was never more glaring than it was against Dallas. Reagor was hard to notice against the Cowboys and they didn’t seemed worried about him beating them the way that Arizona was worried last week.

Reagor caught three passes on seven targets. One of which was a screen that Reagor totally misread blocking on and got blown up. Reagor looked uninterested in looking for, let alone fighting for, the ball. Hurts threw a great pass to Reagor in the end zone and the rookie receiver couldn’t even be bothered to look for it. He had another play across the middle of the field where he ran a bad route and looked totally unable to find the football.

Just really poor stuff.

Reagor’s rookie season feels Nelson Agholor-esque in its badness. However, I am worried that Reagor’s play feels uniquely uninspired sometimes compared to some of the other bad rookie seasons we’ve seen from receivers here.

There is plenty of time for Reagor to turn it around and maybe he ends the season on a high note. However, his lackadaisical play against Dallas hurt the team.

Poll

Grade Jalen Reagor’s Week 16 performance

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    A
    (11 votes)
  • 1%
    B
    (15 votes)
  • 7%
    C
    (104 votes)
  • 35%
    D
    (506 votes)
  • 55%
    F
    (802 votes)
1438 votes total Vote Now

Quez Watkins: B

Despite only getting targeted three times, Watkins was second on the team in receiving yards yesterday. The rookie speedster had a nice big play downfield and looks like the top young playmaker in the receiver group.

If it were up to me, Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson wouldn’t play next week. I want to see Watkins, Reagor, Hightower, Ward and Fulgham out there trying to make an impact. Let’s see what we got in the young guys one more time before going into the offseason.

Poll

Grade Quez Watkins’ Week 16 performance

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    A
    (178 votes)
  • 52%
    B
    (596 votes)
  • 25%
    C
    (295 votes)
  • 3%
    D
    (45 votes)
  • 2%
    F
    (28 votes)
1142 votes total Vote Now

Michael Jacquet III: Oh NO

After playing really inspired football last week, Jacquet III was baptized by the Cowboys’ receiving group. Didn’t matter who lined up against him, the rookie cornerback was feasted on as the Cowboys put up huge passing numbers.

This is a game to forget for Jacquet. I want to cut the rookie some slack though because of the position he was put in by the defensive staff. Jacquet was continuously singled up with Cowboys receivers. Which is a very bold thing to do with an undrafted rookie, no matter how he looked last week. With Darius Slay on the other side, the Cowboys went after Jacquet play after play after play. It was the perfect storm.

I am still intrigued overall in MJIII’s prospects with the team. He is still a talented player who had a horrible game. Plus, the Eagles ain’t got much else at cornerback. We are talking about a guy who is new to the third hardest position in football behind quarterback and left tackle. Hopefully he grows from this.

Poll

Grade Michael Jacquet’s Week 16 performance

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    A
    (35 votes)
  • 1%
    B
    (13 votes)
  • 4%
    C
    (56 votes)
  • 14%
    D
    (177 votes)
  • 76%
    F
    (933 votes)
1214 votes total Vote Now

K’Von Wallace: D

Wallace saw limited playing time against Dallas despite indicators that he should’ve played more often. The Eagles were thin all over the secondary and in their linebackers corps. Having Wallace play in the box just made sense. However he was only trusted to play on a rotational basis.

Wallace’s inability to get on the field is a bit worrying. Optimistically, the staff has no idea how to manage players and maybe Wallace can shine with new decision makers. Either way, this was another forgettable game in an overall underwhelming season.

Poll

Grade K’Von Wallace’s Week 16 performance

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    A
    (14 votes)
  • 3%
    B
    (29 votes)
  • 30%
    C
    (261 votes)
  • 39%
    D
    (343 votes)
  • 25%
    F
    (223 votes)
870 votes total Vote Now