Preseason football is over for the Philadelphia Eagles this year and the team can look ahead to the regular season opener on September 10th. The final game against the Colts was hardly a heart pounder and the Eagles starters all sat, but there were some rookie performances of note.
Jalen Carter: N/A
Jalen Carter figures to be a big piece of the defense in his rookie year and his absence on Thursday was a confirmation of that. Excitement should be high for Carter’s regular season debut.
Nolan Smith: N/A
Nolan Smith sustained a shoulder injury in the Eagles second preseason game, but him not playing last night was precautionary. If anything, it is an indicator that the Eagles want Smith to be a factor as a rookie.
Tyler Steen: B
Tyler Steen continued to see a ton of snaps on the offensive line last night as the team continues to cross train him at right guard and left tackle. He regularly held his own and looked very comfortable as a run blocker. Steen will hopefully not need to see the field much as a rookie which is why the team saw it as imperative to get him so many preseason snaps.
Sydney Brown: C+
The Eagles are clearly holding an open competition at the safety spot next to Reed Blankenship. Blankenship was the only safety who didn’t suit up last night as Sydney Brown, Justin Evans and Terrell Edmunds all saw a ton of play. Brown was fine, mostly, but had an early blemish when he got dragged into the end zone by a Colts running back. Brown needs to be an impact tackler and that was not his brightest moment. Brown still has a path to starting early in his rookie year, but it might not be immediate if last night’s lineup was any indicator.
Kelee Ringo: D
Not the best showing by the rookie cornerback. Ringo was consistently letting guys come open and giving up catches. He did a good job as a tackler, especially against the run, but he needs to play better in coverage… especially given the competition in the defensive backfield.
Moro Ojomo: N/A
The rookie defensive tackle had his impressive preseason cut short by a head and neck injury. Fingers crossed he can make a full recovery!
Tanner McKee: B+
Tanner McKee continues to be far more impressive than a Day 3 rookie should look. He has been poised and decisive as a passer, his arm looks live, and his mobility is surprising. McKee had a handful of wow throws against the Colts as he has done all preseason. The announcers were talking all night about how McKee could push Mariota at the QB2 spot and I don’t think they were off-base.
The Rest: Eli Ricks continues to be really solid and easily the Eagles best rookie cornerback. Him and fellow UDFA Mekhi Gardner are going to force the Eagles to make some tough decisions when they trim the roster down. Joseph Ngata had some bright moments against the Colts but his night was highlighted by mistakes in the form of frustrating drops and a fumble in scoring territory. The hype he garnered in camp did not translate to the games, unfortunately. Ben VanSumeren is a tackle machine but the box score makes his play look better than it was. Many of his tackles came far downfield and he failed to make a positive impact as a run or pass defender.