PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Eagles football is back.
That’s the good news. The bad news? Preseason football isn’t really football, persay.
The Eagles play at the Packers on Thursday night in their preseason opener and as we know, the game doesn’t matter for many of the players — especially the starters. But there are some players where this game is extremely important and could be a determining factor in their role, or job status, for the 2017 season.
Here are five players to watch in tonight’s Eagles preseason opener.
5. Nelson Agholor
Nelson Agholor is going to be on the Eagles’ roster in 2017, there’s no doubt about that. But the Agholor hype train picked up full steam during training camp, to the point where NFL analyst Daniel Jeremiah reported that he could still the slot role away from Jordan Matthews.
Agholor, the 20th overall pick in 2015, has disappointed in his first two NFL seasons. If this is a third-year breakout season for the wide receiver, he’s going to need a quick star.
He’s the only player on this list that we’ve already seen play games in an Eagles jersey.
4. Chance Warmack
The Eagles acquire Warmack this season, a former first-round pick in 2013 out of Alabama. Warmack is expected to start at right guard with Brandon Brooks out with an ankle injury. Warmack only signed a one-year and has a lot to prove in 2017.
3. Donnel Pumphrey
There are plenty of reasons to keep an eye on Pumphrey tonight. First, he’s a rookie making his NFL debut. Second, he’s 5’9″ and 176-pounds with 4.48 speed. Third, the Eagles have experimented with him in many different roles during practice — playing him in the backfield, in the slot, and as a returner. Let’s see what he can do.
2. Derek Barnett
Another rookie, but Barnett is the Eagles’ first-round pick…so expectations are high. The 21-year-old pass rusher is expected to make an immediate impact. It’s unclear how many snaps he’ll see tonight.
1. Rasul Douglas
Douglas, 21, was the Eagles third-round pick this year. The reason why he’s No. 1 on this list is because the Eagles will rely on Douglas more than any other rookie, because he’s a corner — and if you haven’t heard — the Eagles aren’t very strong at the cornerback position this year.
Douglas could realistically be one of the team’s Week 1 starting corners, but he’ll have to earn that role.