Training camp is weird this year, but overreactions are as regular as the sun rising in the east. With each rep at camp that leaks onto Twitter either in captured video or a chorus of beat writer amazement, the fanbase recalibrates their expectations for their team’s 2020 performers. And can you blame us? It’s the first new info we’ve gotten in months.
As such, here are my overreactions, placed within the framework of buying/selling stock. Here’s who I think is in for a big season and a stock rise in the scope of Eagles fans everywhere when the season finally lands, and who I think is receiving too much interest still from the fanbase.
DeSean Jackson — BUY
Everyone was high on DeSean Jackson following last year’s camp, and rightfully so — he looked explosive, dangerous, and in tune with his new QB in Carson Wentz. Injury kept him out of the 2019 season, and the mid-30s speed threat entered 2020 camp with a huge question circling his health.
He can’t answer that question until he plays the season, but for now, every report of Jackson is that he’s coming out with the same spryness in 2020 that he had in 2019. There was plenty of discussion about what Carson Wentz would do with the best deep threat of his career when Jackson joined the roster in 2019, and that conversation should return to our focus in 2020, especially with the other WR additions of late.
Speaking of which...
Jalen Reagor — BUY
The wording of Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer’s tweet on Jalen Reagor is important to me. Maybe that’s because I just want it to be true, but I think it matters.
1) I didn't get to see him, but I've heard the Eagles are happy with where Jalen Raegor is. He's come as advertised as a vertical threat, and has put in work getting better in the intermediate area.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) August 21, 2020
And John Hightower and Quez Watkins have also shown promise among the young WRs.
The legend goes in scouting circles that you can tell an early-round pick isn’t the guy you were hoping for within his first few practices. If that’s true, then the fact that Reagor is as advertised and where the Eagles expected is good news, simply in the fact that he looks the part. Further expositions on Reagor’s early days with the Eagles, like Jimmy Kempski’s note that Reagor is training at all WR alignments, is only continued good news when you consider the different avenues through which Reagor can see playing time.
As many have said, rookies face a steeper learning curve than usual. But with so little competition ahead of him for snaps, and with the ability to create plays with the ball in his hands, Reagor should be expected to contribute early.
Sidney Jones — SELL
I don’t own any more shares of Sidney Jones stock, and haven’t for a while now — but if you’re still holding on to the cause, I suggest you look to reevaluate.
For one, Jones once again found himself on the injury report at training camp with a lower-body injury, described as “day to day.” While the Eagles are clearly taking extreme measures with their injury reports in camp, the fact that Jones is continuing to experience health issues is further doubt cast on the hope that he can ever hold down a starting job.
As Reuben Frank brought up, Jones’ roster spot may be in jeopardy altogether. Calling Darius Slay, Nickell Robey-Coleman, Avonte Maddox, and Cre’Von LeBlanc roster locks, that puts Jones in a battle for the CB5 spot with Douglas, who, for all of his issues, has at least been available since being drafted one round after Jones in the 2017 draft. The Sidney Jones era in Philadelphia is on its last legs.
Miles Sanders — SELL
I’ve decided to stop believing the Eagles’ coaching staff and front office when they tell us not to be concerned with an injury to an Eagles player. Sanders is considered week-to-week with a lower-body injury, which sources have told ESPN’s Tim McManus is mostly precautionary and shouldn’t keep him from Week 1 of the season. I am going to be concerned until I see Sanders returned to full health, plain and simple — the Eagles’ management of injuries has not regained our trust just yet.
On top of that, an absence of Sanders in camp will give the Eagles a long and hard look at their thin RB room behind Sanders: Boston Scott, Corey Clement, Elijah Holyfield, and UDFAs. As the Eagles have been sniffing around veteran RBs for a while, I wouldn’t be surprised if some Sanders gingerness approaching Week 1, combined with poor play from the young backs, leads to the acquisition of a veteran.
And then, the season, when the Eagles will inevitably deploy some semblance of an RBBC as they try to keep Sanders fresh for the playoffs, or vary their looks and personnel, or do whatever justifies taking Sanders off the field. Much like with the Eagles’ injury reports, I’ll believe in the reports that they aren’t running a RBBC when I see them actually come to fruition, and not a moment sooner.
Shaun Bradley — BUY
If you know me, you know I’m low on the Eagles’ LB room as a whole. I don’t think Nate Gerry is an impact player despite all of the love the coaching staff has for his situational awareness, Davion Taylor own’t be ready anytime soon, and T.J. Edwards isn’t tenable on passing downs yet. Duke Riley was the most interesting option for me in the LB room coming into the season, but the long and local Shaun Bradley is now stealing my heart.
From BLG’s stock report from this week of practices:
Bradley’s managed to stand out on most days of practice. The Temple alumnus hasn’t been afraid to be physical, he has athleticism to cover, and his position coach lauded him for taking on a leadership role when it was only the rookies in the building. Bradley’s not going to be in the staring lineup but he’s showing promise as a backup.
Backup for now!
Jordan Mailata — SELL
Well, it’s been fun. But reports out of camp are bad, the Eagles drafted two guys who can play tackle in the last draft, including a developmental-y dude in Prince Tega Wanogho, and with Jason Peters on the roster again, they have about nineteen dudes who can play tackle on the depth chart ahead of Mailata. Maybe he hangs around on the roster for another year, but he’s still miles away from playing time.