Impact Rookies

Posted: July 24th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Comments Off on Impact Rookies


This is Doug Pederson’s fourth year as the Eagles head coach. In each of the first three seasons, multiple rookies have been key players.

In 2016, Carson Wentz started all 16 games and showed moments of being a star QB. Isaac Seumalo started four games on the offensive line. Wendell Smallwood started three games. He ran for more than 300 yards and also returned a kickoff for a TD. Halapoulivaati Vaitai started six games at OT. Jalen Mills only started a couple of games, but finished fifth on the team in tackles.

The 2017 class was highlighted by DE Derek Barnett. He didn’t start at all, but was a key part of the DL rotation and finished with five sacks. He also made key plays in the postseason. Rasul Douglas started five games and helped the secondary deal with Ronald Darby’s injury. Mack Hollins proved to be a key role player, as a pass catcher, blocker and STer. UDFA Corey Clement became a Red Zone weapon and clutch player. He made some huge plays in the Super Bowl.

Last year there were two key rookies. Dallas Goedert was the offensive star. He caught 33 passes and proved to be a good blocker. Avonte Maddox was the defensive star. He played corner, nickel and safety. Maddox started nine games and made some big plays, even into the postseason. UDFA Josh Adams led the team in rushing, running for 511 yards.

So who will be the impact rookies this year?

First round pick Andre Dillard will likely spend most of the season backing up Jason Peters. Dillard isn’t some raw project so if he needs to play, he could step in and get the job done.

Miles Sanders could be the third rookie RB in a row to play a key role in the Eagles offense. He has big time potential. Sanders is an athletic player with outstanding cutting ability. He gives the team a player who is dangerous in space. Too often in recent years, Eagles RBs have left yards on the field due to not seeing where to go or not having the ability to get there. Sanders can make those plays. He wasn’t healthy in the spring, but I think he’ll prove to be the most important rookie of the group.

J.J. Arcega-Whiteside was also a second round pick. He is a big, physical WR who can step in right away and be a key role player. Arcega-Whiteside is a dangerous Red Zone weapon, an area where the offense struggled in 2018. He also offers depth at a spot where the Eagles had injury issues last year.

Shareef Miller will have a chance to play his way into the DL rotation. Vinny Curry is projected as the number three DE right now and things are wide open after him. Miller will battle Josh Sweat and Joe Ostman for playing time. Miller could be the darkhorse of the rookies. He’ll have a chance for playing time. He got better each year at Penn State so he’s an ascending player. Good athlete with solid size.

Clayton Thorson is obviously the least likely rookie to see the field. He will need a strong showing this summer to make the team. Thorson is more of a developmental prospect.

What about UDFAs?

LB T.J. Edwards has the potential to win a roster spot and help on STs, possibly defense.

DeAndre Thompkins has potential as a receiver, but more as a returner. If anything happens to Darren Sproles, Thompkins could be a player to watch.

Several OL have a chance to make the roster, but it doesn’t seem likely that any of them would play key roles.


Maddox and Goedert offered some thoughts on the challenge of being NFL rookies.

Those are definitely two guys to listen to. They were outstanding last year.


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