By Alyssa Adams


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Eagles head coach Doug Pederson has not decided if starting quarterback Carson Wentz will play during the first preseason game on Thursday night, but it could be a big night for one of the team’s rookies. The Birds will likely give rookie running back Miles Sanders plenty of chances to show off his explosive skills against the Tennessee Titans.

The quick, explosive running back has been a standout so far in training camp and has many waiting to see him in action.

“First of all with Miles, he’s explosive. You see him out of the backfield, catching the ball in space, making one cut, slash-type running back,” Wentz said.

Pederson says his expectations for the rookie on Thursday night are the same as his expectations of anyone else, “execution, hitting the hole, being patient, obviously hanging onto the football when he’s tackled.”

He also hopes to see some of the “bright spots” Sanders showed off during the Eagles’ open practice on Sunday night.

“He was able jump cut, circle the defense, and use his acceleration to get into the end zone. Those are things you want to see carry over into a game and give him an opportunity to do that.”

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Sanders is also gaining some attention from a veteran on the Eagles’ defensive line.

Last week, defensive end Brandon Graham called Sanders a “beast.”

“That boy is a beast, man. You’re going to see. Oh, I like him,” Graham said.

ESPN’s Tim McManus describes the rookie as a “running back with light feet and sudden burst who can change direction in a snap while keeping his shoulders square.”

Sanders says his first NFL preseason game is about getting comfortable.

“Getting after that game-time feel in the NFL and just getting used to it,” Sanders said.

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The Eagles took Sanders No. 53 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft. It was the first time they’ve selected a running back that high in a draft since LeSean McCoy in 2009 – who was also the 53rd pick.

Sanders has worked through some off season injuries, but could be a major part of the Eagles running back rotation this season.