The Eagles will be kicking off their preseason tonight when they host the Steelers at 7:30 p.m.
It’s the first preseason action since before the 2019 season, so we’re pretty excited.
We’ll obviously be watching how Nick Sirianni handles his first game at the helm and all eyes will of course be on starting quarterback Jalen Hurts. But here are 10 other players I’ll be watching closely tonight:
DT Milton Williams
The Eagles’ third-round pick out of Louisiana Tech has been having a very good camp at both defensive tackle and defensive end. He’s an absolute physical freak but his football intelligence has been impressive this summer as he learns two positions at once. He has an extremely explosive first move, great athleticism and enough pure strength to go through linemen too. He might be fun to watch.
TE Tyree Jackson
The 6-foot-7 former college quarterback just began his transition to tight end back in November and he’s already seriously pushing for a roster spot. He’s been making plays every day during training camp so now it’s time to see if he can keep it going in game action. It’s amazing how smooth he looks.
WR Quez Watkins
Another guy who has been a star of training camp is Watkins. You can argue he’s been the best offensive player and he’s certainly been the most consistent receiver. He probably deserves more first-team reps than he’s been getting. Hopefully, he’ll get them tonight against the Steelers. Because the second-year receiver might be able to contribute.
WR Jalen Reagor
It has been an up-and-down training camp for the 2020 first-round pick. After failing his conditioning test entering training camp after the death of a close friend, Reagor has made some great plays. In fact, he owns the best catch of the summer; a one-handed grab over Darius Slay in a 1-on-1. But Reagor has struggled to find consistency. Without DeVonta Smith tonight, Reagor needs to have a big performance.
CB Zech McPhearson
The fourth-round pick out of Texas Tech has been a pleasant surprise this summer. You never know what you’re going to get from fourth-round picks in their rookie seasons but McPhearson has been very good. He’s sticky in coverage, super aggressive and always seems to be around the ball. Of course, he’s been facing very young receivers in training camp. It’ll be nice to see him go against someone else.
LB Eric Wilson
The veteran linebacker figures to be a very important part of Jonathan Gannon’s defense. In fact, Wilson will likely be the linebacker with the headset making sure the first team is set up correctly. He’s coming off a breakout year in Minnesota but still got just a one-year deal from the Eagles. I’ve been impressed by what I have seen from Wilson in training camp, but this is our first chance to see him in a game.
DE Josh Sweat
We’ll go ahead and say that Sweat has been the biggest overall star of training camp. There’s a ton of buzz around Sweat and some serious hope that he could be in line for a double digit sack season. He’s always been immensely talented but he’s really starting to put it all together.
P Arryn Siposs
The punter? The punter. The Eagles didn’t bring in any competition for Siposs this summer, which I found curious. But just because he’s the only guy in camp, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t have to perform well. There are always punters waiting by the phone.
RB Kenny Gainwell
The fifth-round pick out of Memphis got off to a slow start in his rookie training camp but has been getting more comfortable in recent weeks. He has looked pretty good as a runner but has really excelled as a receiver out of the backfield. If he can find a role with the team this year, it’s going to be his receiving ability that helps.
OG Kayode Awosika
There’s no question that Awosika is probably the most under-the-radar guy on this list but he’s really stood out to me in the first 11 practices of the summer. The UDFA from Buffalo is a former offensive tackle but is playing guard with the Eagles and has been playing at a high level. He’s one of my dark horses to make the 53-man roster. If he has a good preseason, the Eagles might not be willing to expose him to waivers.
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