PHILADELPHIA – The Eagles’ preseason opener against the Jets Friday night was as volatile as the stock market.
The first team came out and played well, putting 14 points on the board early in the game and forcing a turnover in the process. In the second half, the Eagles’ reserves came in and struggled, allowing the Jets to come back and win the game 24-21.
If the players were investments, the Eagles had a few that appear as if they will pay off in the long run. However, a few players were trending downward, with a couple the team may have to look to “sell” if things do not turn around quickly.
Here are five players whose stock is up after Friday’s preseason loss to the Jets:
QB Jalen Hurts
Hurts came out looking sharp, using the entire field and different receivers to keep the Jets from locking onto one target. In Hurts’ only drive of the game, he completed all six of his passes for 80 yards and a touchdown pass to Dallas Goedert, hitting four different receivers in the process. Hurts looked comfortable in the pocket and stepped up and escaped when there was pressure.
Hurts also looked accurate, placing the ball in areas where only his receivers could catch it while putting enough touch to make it easier on the receivers. Hurts’ first impression should briefly quiet the fears of some of the doubters, at least for a week.
DT Jordan Davis
This year’s first-round pick used his size and strength to disrupt things in the middle of the field. Davis forced the Jets to double-team him after he pushed center Connor McGovern back into the pockets. Davis’ pressure allowed some of the other defensive linemen to get some pressure. With starting defensive tackle Javon Hargrave nursing a toe sprain, Davis could see more first-team reps during the rest of the preseason.
DE Tarron Jackson
Jackson applied a lot of pressure when he was on the field, finishing with two tackles, a quarterback hit, and a pass deflection. Jackson has shown steady improvement as training camp has gone on and carried that effort over to the field Friday. Jackson looks as if he has one of the final spots on the roster at defensive end, and his strong play only adds to the case.
TE Noah Togiai
Togiai is battling for a job in a very close tight end competition. Togiai has quarterback Reid Sinnett’s safety valve on the late fourth-quarter drive that briefly put the Eagles ahead. Togiai finished with four catches for 29 yards. Togiai also looked decent with his run blocking, potentially earning a plus grade overall from Eagles tight ends coach Jason Michaels.
LB Nakobe Dean
Dean showed why he was one of the better college football players last season. Dean used his football IQ, anticipation, and speed to put him in a position to make plays. Dean’s five tackles were tied for second on the team. Dean is currently playing with the second unit but is playing well enough that he could be inserted in specific defensive personnel packages.
Here are five players whose stock is in a “bear market,” trending downward:
G Sua Opeta
Filling in for starting left guard Landon Dickerson, Opeta struggled early on with Jets defensive lineman Quinnen Williams, letting Williams get inside of Opeta and driving him backwards. The pressure forced Hurts from the pocket twice. Opeta did better with the second team, seemingly settling in and holding his own next to Andre Dillard. Dickerson should be back soon, but Opeta’s performance slightly dropped his stock as a reserve.
CB Josh Jobe
When Jobe entered the game, it looked like the Jets quarterback Zach Wilson began targeting him, trying to exploit most of their matchups. Jets wide receiver Elijah Moore ran a nice route that put Jobe out of position for a completion. It’s never good to see a defensive back among the leaders in tackles, but Jobe was tied with Dean in that category. Jobe is still a young cornerback with a lot of talent, but he must learn to fix his mistakes quickly to earn a spot on the 53-man roster.
WR Deon Cain
Cain has had a strong training camp but did not play well against the Jets. Cain dropped a catchable pass in the third quarter and committed a false start penalty. Cain is currently the seventh wide receiver for a team that may keep six. Friday’s performance did not help his prospects.
QB Reid Sinnett
Sinnett completed nine of the 17 passes he threw for 81 yards and a touchdown. Most of Sinnett’s completions came in the fourth quarter when his 5-yard touchdown pass to running back Kennedy Brooks briefly gave the Eagles a lead. Before that, Sinnett was throwing off his back foot, throwing off-target. Sinnett also missed a couple of players who were breaking open, notably wide receiver Britain Covey who was open up the seam for what would have been a touchdown. Sinnett looks locked in as the third quarterback, but he should have turned in a stronger performance.
Even with Sinnett struggling, Strong did not see any playing time. There was a point where Strong had his helmet on and began throwing, but he was never inserted in the game. Strong has arm talent but still needs to refine other aspects of his game, such as consistent footwork and getting used to the speed of the NFL game. Not having him in the game at all drops his stock.
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Chris Franklin may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.