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Eagles rookie report card: Young players fail to shine in loss to Cowboys

Keeping tabs on Philly’s 2022 NFL Draft class.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles suffered another loss on Monday, this one more embarrassing than the last. Mixed into the Eagles poor play was uninspiring performances across their rookie class.

DeVonta Smith: C-

DeVonta Smith has had a quiet two weeks after his breakout game, and it is not for lack of opportunities. The rookie first rounder saw six targets and only caught three passes.

While he was dealing with not-so-perfect throws all night, Smith twice lost semi-contested catches that he should have caught. Second year cornerback Trevon Diggs had DeVonta Smith in tight coverage all game and Smith failed to make a play on the ball.

Smith can obviously contribute outside of contested catches. He showed some juice on a 19 yard catch where he got open against zone, picked up some yards after the catch and took tacklers with him. However, the Eagles need him to be The Guy in their passing game and that will require making plays against tighter coverage and “erasing” bad throws.

Poll

Grade DeVonta Smith

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    A
    (15 votes)
  • 8%
    B
    (137 votes)
  • 42%
    C
    (690 votes)
  • 35%
    D
    (564 votes)
  • 12%
    F
    (201 votes)
1607 votes total Vote Now

Landon Dickerson: D

Landon Dickerson’s debut as a starter was not one to be remembered fondly. Dickerson was seemingly giving up pressure on passing plays all game, including giving up an easy sack.

To cut Dickerson some slack, the rookie is still transitioning to guard after starring at center at Alabama. It is a meaningful position change exacerbated by a lack of practice time due to injury recovery. Dickerson is clearly shaking off rust while getting comfortable in a new position. That is no easy task.

Moreover, Nick Sirianni could have helped Dickers (and the whole offense), by getting the running game going and asking Dickerson to be aggressive and move downhill. The Eagles only called three (!!!) handoffs, making it harder for Dickerson to settle in. After all, the Cowboys knew to tee off against a passing play on every snap. Not ideal.

Dickerson will hopefully settle into the position over the next few weeks; a more desperate ask now that Isaac Seumalo is out for a while with a foot injury. There is no doubt however that he will want to study the Cowboys game tape closely and then bury it somewhere.

Poll

Grade Landon Dickerson

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    A
    (18 votes)
  • 2%
    B
    (42 votes)
  • 22%
    C
    (320 votes)
  • 37%
    D
    (523 votes)
  • 36%
    F
    (508 votes)
1411 votes total Vote Now

Milton Williams: C

Milton Williams came up with another solid, if not unspectacular, game against Dallas. He is still mostly being asked to two-gap in 3-4 and 5-2 alignments, which doesn’t allow him to show off his athleticism by shooting gaps. His play would be more appreciated if the linebackers could do anything competent in terms of filling gaps and stopping up the run. They don’t, however, so Williams play tends to go unnoticed.

It would be nice to see Williams deployed in ways where he can be more aggressive. Obviously with Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, and an emergent Hassan Ridgeway, it is tough for Williams to see snaps on obvious passing downs. Once the Eagles can get him on the field in those situations, however, Williams should be able to shine a bit more.

Poll

Grade Milton Williams

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    A
    (11 votes)
  • 20%
    B
    (207 votes)
  • 52%
    C
    (540 votes)
  • 17%
    D
    (182 votes)
  • 8%
    F
    (86 votes)
1026 votes total Vote Now

Zech McPhearson: C

The Eagles were punting a lot and the coverage team mostly did a good job downing kicks deep in Cowboys territory.

Poll

Grade Zech McPhearson

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    A
    (36 votes)
  • 24%
    B
    (208 votes)
  • 45%
    C
    (384 votes)
  • 14%
    D
    (119 votes)
  • 10%
    F
    (91 votes)
838 votes total Vote Now

Kenneth Gainwell: C

Gainwell has been flashing the last few weeks now, which makes it all the more disappointing that the rookie running back only got one carry and four total touches.

Gainwell dropped a pass in the second half but made up for it by turning a short pass into a 19 yard gain.

Notably, Gainwell was in the backfield in the red zone on passing plays. An indicator of how much faith they have in the fifth round pick already.

His low grade is hardly his fault. The Eagles were off all night and Gainwell was one of the many players to be affected by that.

Poll

Grade Kenneth Gainwell

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    A
    (23 votes)
  • 31%
    B
    (276 votes)
  • 44%
    C
    (391 votes)
  • 13%
    D
    (115 votes)
  • 7%
    F
    (68 votes)
873 votes total Vote Now

Tarron Jackson; N/A

Tarron Jackson was only on the field for a few snaps against the Cowboys. With Brandon Graham out, there was a massive hole on the defense (and still is) that could have been filled with rookies.

Jackson is a solid player who can contribute as a run and pass defender. As the season goes on, Jackson should see some more opportunities. Especially as Derek Barnett continues to be a headache.

Marlon Tuipulotu: N/A

Tuipulotu saw some early snaps but did not really get on the field much for the Eagles defense. The rookie defensive tackle might be called on more as the season goes on and the Eagles have to go deeper into their rotation.

Patrick Johnson: B

Patrick Johnson was a faint and lone bright spot among the Eagles linebackers. Johnson has comfortably carved out a role as a rotational outside linebacker where he is used to rush the passer, defend the run and occasionally drop into coverage.

Patrick Johnson had a great moment where the Cowboys tried to run a reverse and he pursued the play beautifully to help shut it down. It might seem like a small thing, but the Cowboys failed to score on that red zone appearance in part due to that play’s failure.

Johnson is clearly the only linebacker with any juice. Eric Wilson and Alex Singleton have been beyond disappointing and TJ Edwards is solely a run stopping linebacker (though he had a nice sack on Dak Prescott). Patrick Johnson looked really solid in preseason playing off-ball, and it is only a matter of time before he starts cutting into other players snaps. They need him to.

Poll

Grade Patrick Johnson

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    A
    (109 votes)
  • 56%
    B
    (408 votes)
  • 18%
    C
    (132 votes)
  • 4%
    D
    (31 votes)
  • 5%
    F
    (41 votes)
721 votes total Vote Now

Jack Stoll: N/A

Jack Stoll did not see the field much. The Eagles did not go heavy at all, so Stoll’s few snaps came in relief of Goedert and Ertz.