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Eagles Rookie Report Card: Encouraging start for DeVonta Smith

Examining Philadelphia’s 2021 NFL Draft class.

NFL: New England Patriots at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles took on the New England Patriots in their second preseason game of the year. Many starters sat out the game and that created an opportunity for the Eagles rookies to make an impression.

DeVonta Smith: B-

It was clear that the Eagles wanted to get DeVonta Smith involved in his preseason debut. He saw a handful of targets in the first half from Joe Flacco. It took a bit for the two to get on the same page, with Flacco misfiring on early throws and Smith not able to adjust to poorly thrown balls.

Towards the end of the half, Flacco got DeVonta Smith the ball twice on short passes. Both times, Smith won early at the line of scrimmage, secured a catch and then picked up yards after the catch.

The game hardly seemed too big for DeVonta Smith, even with the early drops. He looked fast, aggressive and confident against a tough defensive backfield. This is an encouraging start to his career.

Poll

Grade DeVonta Smith

This poll is closed

  • 20%
    A
    (405 votes)
  • 56%
    B
    (1111 votes)
  • 18%
    C
    (373 votes)
  • 2%
    D
    (49 votes)
  • 1%
    F
    (37 votes)
1975 votes total Vote Now

Landon Dickerson: N/A

No surprise with Landon Dickerson still on the NFI list. Bonus points for his pregame outfit though!

Milton Williams: C

After a strong showing against Pittsburgh last week, Milton Williams got the start with much of the Eagles defensive line sitting out for the game. Williams got moved inside and out all game, a peek at the kind of versatility they see in him. It is clear his role will be multifaceted in this defense and the team has high hopes for him.

Despite those hopes, this was not the same exciting showing as Williams had last week. The Patriots starters pushed him and much of the young defensive line around in the run game and Williams and the Birds’ line failed to generate much pressure.

Poll

Grade Milton Williams

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    A
    (47 votes)
  • 38%
    B
    (410 votes)
  • 40%
    C
    (422 votes)
  • 13%
    D
    (137 votes)
  • 3%
    F
    (37 votes)
1053 votes total Vote Now

Zech McPhearson: C-

Zech McPhearson got the start at cornerback tonight and the Patriots went AFTER him. On a scoring drive, Jakobi Meyers got open against him for three straight catches. Later in the first half, he got burned deep by N’Keal Harry who dropped the pass. To his defense, the pass rush had him in coverage for longer than any corner would have wanted to be.

McPhearson still played tough and made some solid tackles against the run while not allowing yards after the catch. It is important for the young player to take his lumps now so he can learn from mistakes and keep improving.

Poll

Grade Zech McPhearson

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    A
    (19 votes)
  • 14%
    B
    (148 votes)
  • 34%
    C
    (363 votes)
  • 40%
    D
    (422 votes)
  • 9%
    F
    (102 votes)
1054 votes total Vote Now

Kenneth Gainwell: B+

After some brief flashes last week, Kenneth Gainwell saw the ball a few more times against New England and made the most with each touch. Gainwell looked quick as a ball carrier while doing a good job to pick up yards as a check down option in the passing game.

Gainwell clearly has the skill set to be a difference maker in this offense. He has one more week to show his stuff in preseason and maybe make a good argument for a regular season role.

Poll

Grade Kenny Gainwell

This poll is closed

  • 28%
    A
    (281 votes)
  • 56%
    B
    (566 votes)
  • 12%
    C
    (122 votes)
  • 0%
    D
    (8 votes)
  • 1%
    F
    (17 votes)
994 votes total Vote Now

Marlon Tuipulotu: D-

Marlon Tuipulotu had another rough showing against New England after a mediocre game last week. Not only did Tuipulotu fail to anchor against the run, the thing he was drafted for, but he also added nothing as a pass rusher.

Not good if he wants to compete for a spot on such a deep defensive line.

Poll

Grade Mr. T

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    A
    (7 votes)
  • 0%
    B
    (3 votes)
  • 3%
    C
    (29 votes)
  • 32%
    D
    (258 votes)
  • 63%
    F
    (507 votes)
804 votes total Vote Now

Tarron Jackson: C

Tarron Jackson got the start at defensive end tonight, but failed to make the impact he made a week ago. Against the Patriots starting offensive line, Jackson didn’t get much pressure or push. Not a huge concern in the grand scheme of things, but it would have been nice to see some building on last week.

Poll

Grade Tarron Jackson

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    A
    (8 votes)
  • 6%
    B
    (46 votes)
  • 41%
    C
    (292 votes)
  • 40%
    D
    (288 votes)
  • 10%
    F
    (75 votes)
709 votes total Vote Now

JaCoby Stevens: N/A

Still listed as “week-to-week” with a lower body injury.

Patrick Johnson: B

Patrick Johnson was all over the field in his second preseason game. Not only did he look good on special teams coverage, but he had some really nice flashes at linebacker and coming off the edge.

Johnson is an intriguing young player for Philadelphia and the staff seemingly wants to use his versatility.

Poll

Grade Patrick Johnson

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    A
    (129 votes)
  • 55%
    B
    (392 votes)
  • 20%
    C
    (143 votes)
  • 2%
    D
    (15 votes)
  • 3%
    F
    (23 votes)
702 votes total Vote Now

JaQuan Bailey: C

Bailey, like much of his compatriots on the defensive line, failed to make a big impact against the Patriots offense. Even against the backups, Bailey did not stand out the way you would want him too after such a strong NFL debut.

Poll

Grade JaQuan Bailey

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    A
    (5 votes)
  • 4%
    B
    (22 votes)
  • 34%
    C
    (176 votes)
  • 45%
    D
    (230 votes)
  • 15%
    F
    (78 votes)
511 votes total Vote Now

Harry Crider: C

We didn’t hear much of Crider’s name when he was on the field late in the game. Usually a good sign, but nothing spectacular.

Poll

Grade Harry Crider

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    A
    (8 votes)
  • 6%
    B
    (29 votes)
  • 52%
    C
    (227 votes)
  • 24%
    D
    (107 votes)
  • 14%
    F
    (62 votes)
433 votes total Vote Now

Jack Stoll: B+

With Tyree Jackson hurt and Jason Croom going down early in the game, Jack Stoll got some early opportunity to make a mark on the roster. Frankly, he did!

Stoll only caught the ball three times, but the catches were relatively tough catches against coverage. Meanwhile, he looked really solid as a blocker.

Stoll’s outlook has improved tremendously this week with unforeseen injuries happening ahead of him on the depth chart. With a strong showing, he could be pushing Richard Rodgers for the TE3 spot.

Poll

Grade Jack Stoll

This poll is closed

  • 28%
    A
    (189 votes)
  • 53%
    B
    (359 votes)
  • 13%
    C
    (91 votes)
  • 1%
    D
    (11 votes)
  • 2%
    F
    (16 votes)
666 votes total Vote Now