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Eagles Rookie Report Card: Frustration with Jonathan Gannon

Weekly check in on members of Philadelphia’s 2022 NFL Draft class.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles Rookie Minicamp Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles kicked off their season with a high-scoring win over the Lions! But there are more questions than answers when it comes to the development of their rookie class.

Jordan Davis: B

It is hard to grade Jordan Davis’ performance against the Lions, because his usage (or lack thereof) was so head scratching. Davis saw the field on just over 30% of snaps, and there was little rhyme or reason to when or why he saw the field.

The Lions’ offensive line is one of the better units in the league and Dan Campbell was content to run the ball at will. Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave struggled with the run coming their way while Jordan Davis was on the field for the few times when the Eagles defense was able to limit Detroit on the ground.

Davis’ impact is obvious to most when he is on the field, but not so obvious to Jonathan Gannon. While there is a possibility that the Eagles are concerned about conditioning for the rookie, what is more likely is the second year defensive coordinator has no idea what to do with his new batch of talent on defense.

Last year, Jonathan Gannon was frustratingly conservative on defense, but he also took a long time to really adjust to who he should be putting out on the field. Remember how long it took before TJ Edwards was seeing snaps instead of Eric Wilson? Or all the Derek Barnett snaps?

While week one of the season should not dictate expectations for the coming 17 weeks, Sunday was more of the same stubborn, uncreative personnel usage and play calling from Gannon. The defense suffered for it and Davis’ rookie debut could’ve been a lot better if Gannon was more content to use their first round pick. Hopefully that changes with the explosive Vikings offense up next.

Nakobe Dean: N/A

Nakobe Dean did not see the field very much on defense and that feels like a mistake. Conventional wisdom would suggest that Nickel packages on defense would have Kyzir White and TJ Edwards as the two linebackers with Haason Reddick walking up to the line as a pass rusher. Instead, Reddick was playing off-ball in nickel at tiems against the Lions and they were able to pick on him in coverage. Considering he’s had 23.5 sacks in the last two seasons, it would make a lot of sense to let him rush the passer in obvious passing situations…

Anyway! If the Eagles do not want Edwards on the field for obvious passing downs due to speed, but want someone playing off ball that can threaten as a blitzer pre-snap, Nakobe Dean feels like an obvious fit for that role.

Once again, these are things that Gannon needs to figure out soon. He has a really versatile group of players at his disposal and early signs indicate he has no idea what to do with them.

Cam Jurgens: N/A

Some special teams snaps.

Kyron Johnson: B

Saw some action on special teams and looked solid.

Grant Calcaterra: N/A

Healthy scratch as the fourth tight end option.

Josh Jobe: B

Core special teams player already.

Reed Blankenship: N/A

Healthy scratch.

Britain Covey: B

Looked solid on a few punt return attempts. The Eagles should probably keep him on the active roster going forward.

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