Grading Philadelphia’s 2021 NFL Draft picks and UDFAs.
The Eagles came away with a preseason tie and, more importantly, got a nice, long look at rookies competing for a roster spot. Here is how the Eagles rookies fared in their final game before the regular season.
DeVonta Smith: N/A
To little surprise, DeVonta Smith didn’t dress for the final preseason game. While there was speculation about some starters potentially seeing time, the Eagles first-round pick will have to wait a few weeks before seeing the field. Hard not to be excited about it!
Landon Dickerson: N/A
Still on active/PUP.
Milton Williams; C
Unspectacular night for the rookie defensive lineman. The backup line as a whole had trouble with the Jets inside running game for much of the first half. Williams only played two series, so he did not get to show off much.
Zech McPhearson: B
McPhearson had a really solid night in that he barely got his name called when he was on the field. Back end coverage was solid against the Jets when McPhearson was playing, including a coverage sack that the rookie cornerback played a big part in.
Late in the game, McPhearson had a crucial interception to stop a two point conversion attempt, keeping the Eagles narrowly in the lead. This was exactly the type of steady performance the rookie could’ve hoped for to finish out his preseason.
Marlon Tuipulotu: C
Marlon Tuipulotu needed a strong performance against the Jets to contend for a roster spot and certainly got the playing time tonight to make them. Save for a late tackle for loss, it is hard to be impressed with his night. He made some tackles down the field due to his motor, but he failed to get any push as a pass rusher and got moved too easily by the Jets running game. Tuipulotu had an uphill climb to begin with, given the Eagles depth at defensive line, and tonight was just another middling performance for him when he needed to shine.
JaCoby Stevens: C+
The most important thing is that JaCoby Stevens is back and healthy. The team has high hopes for him as he moves from safety to linebacker, so it was good to see him back on the field, even if he did not make any huge plays.
Kenneth Gainwell: B+
Kenneth Gainwell got a bulk of touches in the first half and did not disappoint. The mid round running back looked spritely as with the ball in his hands, exploding past the line of scrimmage and using good vision to make big gains. He had a touchdown running the ball by way of good blocking and a better read near the goal line. Gainwell chipped in some nice plays as a receiver, showing off his three down versatility.
Gainwell blew a block and gave up a sack, which hurts his overall grade for the night. However, it is hard not to be encouraged by Gainwell’s potential in this offense as a versatile playmaker.
Patrick Johnson: B+
Another week where Patrick Johnson stands out for just how steady and solid he is as a rookie linebacker. He does not seemed phased by the game and is always around the ball. For the second time this preseason, Johnson got banged up and left midway through the third quarter, but returned later in the game.
Tarron Jackson: C+
The Eagles defensive line was underwhelming on the whole for this game, Tarron Jackson including. While he had a crucial tackle for a loss in the red zone, most of the night was quiet for the seventh round pick. This isn’t to say Jackson hasn’t had a good preseason, because he has, but this game was only okay by his standards.
JaQuan Bailey: C
It is hard not to like JaQuan Bailey’s energy as a defensive lineman. The motor is there, but tonight the plays weren’t. Like much of the defensive line, Bailey was quiet for most of the game, especially early on against higher quality players. Bailey also had a false start, which is not good when every snap counts for undrafted players in games like this.
Jack Stoll: C+
Jack Stoll may have a roster spot locked up with Tyree Jackson hurt. Stoll seems to be able to hold his own out there. Not only did he look good blocking, he has made tough catches all through preseason. He dropped a hospital ball from Flacco tonight, but largely looked solid. The Eagles might be in good shape with Stoll as their third or fourth tight end.