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Eagles rookie report card from the loss to the Giants

Tracking the progress of Philly’s 2021 NFL Draft class.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles suffered an embarrassing loss against the Giants, putting a damper on their hot streak and playoff hopes. Despite an abysmal game, it is hard to pin the Eagles loss on their rookies.

DeVonta Smith: C, I guess

The Eagles went a bit pass happier against the Giants than anybody expected them to be, yet saw no reason to involve their highly drafted, highly productive rookie. DeVonta Smith caught two passes for 22 yards with three of his four total targets coming in the first quarter. A complete failure of the offensive staff and the quarterback to not get Smith involved.

Enough words will be spent on how stupid it was that the Eagles tried to feature Jalen Reagor in critical spots over DeVonta Smith, but I am more specially frustrated by how little creativity the staff has with their budding star. Smith is clearly capable of creating his own opportunities, which we’ve seen again and again all season, but the Eagles need to really prioritize him in their game plan and put the team in more positions where he is getting the ball.

No, this does not mean gimmicky swing passes like how they use Reagor, or the low upside pop passes they were getting Smith on early in the season. All the best receivers in the league are moved around the formation to create mismatches and give them regular chances to catch the ball. There is no reason in a game like this that Smith shouldn’t be featured in the slot against weak Giants linebackers or targeted on deep shots against their banged up group of cornerbacks.

The team’s usage of Smith yesterday defied common sense. Hopefully they realize they have a true star in him and start targeting him like one.

Landon Dickerson: B+

Landon Dickerson continued to be a factor in the run game. Injuries forced the offensive line to shuffle a few times in this game, with Dickerson having a new center next to him in three straight quarters. Despite this, Dickerson still looked really solid most of the game, except some pressure given up on a few passing plays.

That being said, the fact that the Eagles didn’t come out of the gate running the ball seemed to negatively impact the whole offense. It wasn’t until late in the second half that the Eagles found their rhythm on offense and that had a top to bottom impact on every offensive player, Dickerson included.

Milton Williams: B+

This was a nice showing for Milton Williams. He had some great plays against the run and an excellent sack that was wiped out by a Giants holding penalty. Some great flashes from him before he left the game late with an injury. Hopefully he can come back soon because he really looks to be hitting his stride of late.

Zech McPhearson: N/A

Though there was a chance McPhearson could’ve seen snaps on defense with the secondary banged up after last week, the Eagles starters were good to go against New York. McPhearson only played special teams.

Kenneth Gainwell: B

Kenneth Gainwell somehow led the team in receiving despite all of his three receptions coming on the last drive of the game. Gainwell barely saw any action until a Miles Sanders injury and a Boston Scott fumble had him on the field for a potential game winning drive.

Gainwell also got a bizarre third down target early in the game on an attempt to convert for a first down. It was a poorly run pick play and Gainwell couldn’t reel in a poorly thrown pass. Not sure why they tried to get him on that critical play considering how little he’s played the last two months. Once again, an example of the staff not putting their rookies in winning positions.

It is to be seen if Sanders can suit up next week, but Gainwell clearly adds value when he is in the line up. He is probably a better pass catcher than any Eagles skill player not named DeVonta, Dallas or Quez. We’ll seen.

Marlon Tuipulotu: N/A

Not active.

Patrick Johnson: N/A

Only saw time on special teams, where he played well. No snaps on defense despite the team desperately needing pass rush production and not getting it from their current line up.

Tarron Jackson: B

Jackson saw a bit of time on defense. Looked solid in limited snaps.

Jack Stoll: B

Jack Stoll saw a lighter workload in terms of snaps as the Eagles forgot that they are best running out of two tight end sets. Stoll looked good as a blocker when he was on the field, but continues to not contribute as a pass catcher.

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