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Eagles Rookie Report Card: Shine from the defensive line

Some good showings from Philadelphia’s 2021 NFL Draft class.

NFL: AUG 12 Preseason - Steelers at Eagles Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Despite a preseason loss, it felt like a relief to see Eagles football again. After a tumultuous offseason with lots of upheaval, there was finally a sneak peek of the next era of Eagles football. For that era to be a successful one, the Eagles will need strong play from their 2021 NFL Draft class.

These preseason games will be hard to gauge anything definitive about the rookie class considering the Eagles' top two picks might not play much, if at all. However, the depth of the class is important and the Eagles got their first look at the mid-round picks last night.

DeVonta Smith: N/A

The Eagles’ first-round pick is still on ice after a knee injury. On August 2, the original timeline for his recovery was said to be two-to-three weeks. So, maybe he’ll be ready to return within the next 10 days?

Landon Dickerson: N/A

Dickerson is a redshirt this season anyway given the Eagles' interior offensive line talent. While he recovers from injury on the active/PUP list, we won’t see him in preseason games.

Milton Williams: B+

While Milton Williams didn’t get in on the box score, he contributed a key pressure that led to a sack.

Here Williams is, rushing off the edge, looking like a natural as he pummels Joe Haeg and pushes him into the quarterback’s lap. Williams, drafted as a defensive tackle, is showing off the versatility that his athletic profile and skill allow him. The fact that he can generate this pressure as a defensive end bodes well for his position in a defensive line rotation. Even a deep one.

Snaps counts are going to be uneven in the preseason, especially for players establishing themselves, so it means a lot for Williams to have a flash like this.

Poll

Grade Milton Williams

This poll is closed

  • 44%
    A
    (918 votes)
  • 52%
    B
    (1086 votes)
  • 2%
    C
    (58 votes)
  • 0%
    D
    (7 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (4 votes)
2073 votes total Vote Now

Zech McPhearson: C+

After a strong camp, eyes were on Zech McPhearson’s preseason debut. The rookie cornerback had his nice moments while looking solid as a tackler. His highlight of the night, unfortunately, was a pass interference penalty on a would-be touchdown. He played the receiver too aggressively, coming in a bit early with his hands. Ideally, that is the type of thing he can temper in the future.

Poll

Grade Zech McPhearson

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    A
    (83 votes)
  • 53%
    B
    (866 votes)
  • 36%
    C
    (593 votes)
  • 3%
    D
    (58 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (15 votes)
1615 votes total Vote Now

Kenneth Gainwell: C

Gainwell only saw four touches the whole game and dropped one of his targets in the passing game. It would be nice to see more looks for the young playmaker, especially when he makes nice plays like this…

Gainwell clearly has what it takes to be a contributor in this offense and it will be interesting to see him get a bigger workload in coming preseason games.

Poll

Grade Kenneth Gainwell

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    A
    (118 votes)
  • 58%
    B
    (907 votes)
  • 30%
    C
    (467 votes)
  • 2%
    D
    (37 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (14 votes)
1543 votes total Vote Now

Marlon Tuipulotu: D

Marlon Tuipulotu did not make a positive impact despite seeing a lot of time in the second half of the game. The rookie defensive tackle did not log a stat and was pushed around in the run game by the Steelers backups.

Tuipulotu is a promising young player but he was drafted to be a run stuffer. If he can’t show two-down ability in the preseason, it is hard to see how he fits into the Eagles’ defensive line picture.

Poll

Grade Marlon Tuipulotu

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    A
    (13 votes)
  • 1%
    B
    (13 votes)
  • 13%
    C
    (164 votes)
  • 51%
    D
    (619 votes)
  • 32%
    F
    (397 votes)
1206 votes total Vote Now

Tarron Jackson: A

A day three defensive end needs to do quite a bit to make an impression on a team as deep as the Eagles. If last night was any indicator, Jackson will fight his ass off to make the team, much like he fought to make plays against Pittsburgh.

His one logged stat of the night was one where motor and textbook technique helped him shed blocks to make a play in the backfield.

If that wasn’t impressive enough, Jackson kept the pressure on with impressive snaps rushing the passer.

Jackson was a difference-maker last night due to his great motor and consistency. He will need to bring these types of performances to the next few games in order to secure a roster spot. He is off to a great start.

Poll

Grade Tarron Jackson

This poll is closed

  • 44%
    A
    (637 votes)
  • 45%
    B
    (648 votes)
  • 7%
    C
    (111 votes)
  • 0%
    D
    (11 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (12 votes)
1419 votes total Vote Now

JaCoby Stevens: N/A

JaCoby Stevens is recovering from an injury after starting off camp with some promise.

Patrick Johnson: A

Patrick Johnson looked really natural at linebacker last night after years of playing with his hand in the ground at Tulane. The rookie defender played fast, physical and with very impressive instincts.

He got banged up towards the end of the game and had to be helped off the field. Hoping the injury is minor so he can keep balling out in preseason and potentially shake up the linebacker depth on this team.

Poll

Grade Patrick Johnson

This poll is closed

  • 31%
    A
    (308 votes)
  • 55%
    B
    (546 votes)
  • 10%
    C
    (102 votes)
  • 1%
    D
    (12 votes)
  • 1%
    F
    (13 votes)
981 votes total Vote Now

JaQuan Bailey: A

The undrafted rookie played well enough to get a mention in this review. Bailey played smart, physical football against Pittsburgh and even dropped a ball carrier in the backfield.

The former star from Iowa State needs strong showings in every game, either to make this roster or another one. His game against Pittsburgh is exactly where he needs to be.

Poll

Grade JaQuan Bailey

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    A
    (180 votes)
  • 54%
    B
    (422 votes)
  • 17%
    C
    (140 votes)
  • 2%
    D
    (23 votes)
  • 1%
    F
    (14 votes)
779 votes total Vote Now

Harry Crider: C

Crider didn’t stand out in any particular good or bad way. Average game from an UDFA trying to make a dent in a deep offensive line.

Poll

Grade Harry Crider

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    A
    (13 votes)
  • 4%
    B
    (24 votes)
  • 52%
    C
    (298 votes)
  • 32%
    D
    (187 votes)
  • 7%
    F
    (45 votes)
567 votes total Vote Now

Jack Stoll: C

Jack Stoll didn’t see the field much (five snaps), and he will need to if he wants to compete for a spot on a roster loaded at the tight end position.

Poll

Grade Jack Stoll

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    A
    (13 votes)
  • 4%
    B
    (25 votes)
  • 51%
    C
    (278 votes)
  • 35%
    D
    (189 votes)
  • 6%
    F
    (34 votes)
539 votes total Vote Now

Didn’t see enough: Jhamon Aubson, Kayode Awosika