The Eagles are trending upwards and a huge part of their resurgence has been young players stepping up in a big way. Here is how the Eagles’ rookies fared in the big win over the Denver Broncos.
DeVonta Smith: A
DeVonta Smith turned 23 yesterday and he celebrated by hanging two touchdowns on one of the best defenses in the NFL. Smith made easily the best grab of his young career when he posterized fellow first round rookie and former Alabama teammate, Patrick Surtain, for this long touchdown:
Surtain is enjoying a tremendous rookie season, so Smith taking him to school like that is no small feat. Also this is a great example of Smith overcoming his size with physicality, ball skills and strong hands.
Smith wasn’t done yet.
Smith got open easily against man coverage in the middle of the field here. Just a little pitch and catch for him and Jalen Hurts.
Smith finished the game with four catches for 66 yards and two scores. The Eagles went away from the passing game in the fourth quarter as the game was out of reach and they burned clock. Otherwise, Smith might’ve have kept eating the Broncos secondary alive.
Smith put on a stellar performance against a really talented secondary. Exactly the play the Eagles need from him. After the last two weeks, it really feels like DeVonta Smith has arrived.
Landon Dickerson: B+
Landon Dickerson continues to impress. The Eagles newfound ground and pound mentality has served the rookie lineman extremely well. He is kicking ass down in the trenches and Sunday was another example of his play.
Dickerson’s major hiccups came on hard to miss plays. Early in the game, he gave up a sack and forced fumble. Just got turnstiled by Dre’Mont Jones. Then, he failed to pick up a rusher in the second half which gave a defender a free run at Jalen Hurts and it led to an interception.
Of course, these are two plays out of 57 snaps on the field.
Dickerson missed some time late in the game after getting banged up but he returned.
Milton Williams: B
Milton Williams showed up again with more pressure on the quarterback in limited snaps. The rookie defensive tackle did not see the field much, but he looked really solid when he did.
Zech McPhearson: B
Zech McPhearson saw some action due to Darius Slay coming off for injury a couple times. McPhearson did not make any big plays, but importantly did not give up any big plays, either.
Kenneth Gainwell: ?
Still perplexed by the Kenneth Gainwell situation. The Eagles rushed for over 200 yards and Gainwell touched the ball three times. It is clear the running game is cooking with Jordan Howard, Boston Scott, and Jalen Hurts. I am just wondering where all the enthusiasm for Kenneth Gainwell went.
Marlon Tuipulotu: N/A
Was not active for the game.
Patrick Johnson: A
Okay, he was on the field for two defensive snaps, but he did make an awesome play!
Johnson showed great instincts on this play to come off pressing a tight end at the line to then tip this pass and almost pick it off. This is the type of play that should warrant more playing time for the rookie linebacker.
Tarron Jackson: B
Tarron Jackson is getting a bit of run as a rotational defensive end. He is not making a huge impact, but he is playing well against the run and looked solid in Denver yesterday.
Jack Stoll: B+
Jack Stoll has made himself invaluable to the Eagles run game. He is a physical, smart player who is relied on to make key blocks on running plays. When Dallas Goedert went out of the game, Stoll had to step up as the top tight end. While he still hasn’t shown much catching the ball, he is clearly an asset when it comes to having extra blockers on the field.