The Eagles face off with the Browns in a Thursday night preseason game. While the starters are unlikely to play much (if at all), the rookies will continue to get their chance to make an impression on the coaches and front office. Here are some things to watch.
Will Jalen Carter and Nolan Smith keep stacking big plays?
The Eagles’ first-round picks had some bright moments last week. Jalen Carter turned his first snap into an impressive rush and pressure, forcing a three and out. Nolan Smith, meanwhile, had a great speed rush around Daniel Faalele later in the game. It would not be surprising to see the rookie defenders get some more snaps in this contest against the Browns and they have a talented and deep offensive line to test them with.
Can Tanner McKee follow up his encouraging debut?
Tanner McKee came out slinging against the Ravens. The passer out of Stanford showed an NFL-level arm and a willingness to use it during his first NFL quarters, showing the Eagles they might have a legit developmental project in the signal caller. McKee should get at least a quarter of play against the Browns and another opportunity to show he has a place in this league.
More promise in the secondary?
As it stands, the Eagles have a handful of rookie defensive backs that warrant some excitement. Sydney Brown looked like a heat seeking missile last week at safety while the trio of Eli Ricks, Kelee Ringo, and Mekhi Gardner all looked solid at cornerback. The Eagles are deep in their defensive backfield and the young guns will need to be reliable in coverage while hopefully mixing in some splash plays. This is the only way for them to hang around on a team that already has so much talent in the secondary.
Steady play from Steen?
Tyler Steen settled in at left tackle last week after giving up a sack on a blitz early in the game. After that faux pas, Steen looked solid in the run game and held his own against a Ravens team that was unafraid to bring a lot of pressure. Steen will be challenged again by a Browns team with some talent on their line. Hopefully he can build on how he finished last week and start hot when he sees the field on Thursday.