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Eagles rookie storylines against the Patriots

Cleveland Browns v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The NFL season is finally here and we are merely one day away from real Eagles football! Excitement is high and expectations higher for so many players on this team. Philadelphia’s rookie class came in with a lot of fanfare and here are some storylines to watch against the Patriots.

Just how dominant can Jalen Carter be?

Jalen Carter was considered by many (myself included) to be the best player in the 2023 NFL draft. Since arriving in Philadelphia, he has gotten nothing but glowing reviews about his play in training camp. It’s clear the Eagles see a big role for Carter considering how little he played in preseason and he should be fully unleashed against the Patriots. While it would be unfair to want Carter to be Aaron Donald in his first start, it’s definitely reasonable to see some impact plays from the rookie.

What does Nolan Smith’s role look like in this defense?

Nolan Smith got a lot more run in preseason than his fellow first rounder, bringing into question how big of a role the Eagles see for him in his rookie year. Smith is playing behind Haason Reddick, Josh Sweat, and Brandon Graham as an edge player, limiting his opportunities. However, Smith is a different kind of player with a unique skill set compared to some of his teammates. It’s possible his role in this defense is simply much different than what the team might ask of someone like Brandon Graham. Will he play off ball more? Will he be a third down specialist? Sunday’s game could be a sneak peak into what Nolan Smith can do in year one.

Is Sydney Brown the second safety?

The Eagles have yet to name another starting safety next to Reed Blankenship. Sydney Brown impressed in preseason but he has to contend with established veterans like Justin Evans and Terrell Edmunds for snaps. Brown certainly could start based on talent and quality of depth alone, but we won’t know for sure until Sunday.

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