Five Eagles to watch in preseason clash with Miami Dolphins

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The Eagles are just over 24-hours away from their third preseason matchup of 2017. The Dolphins are in town for a series of joint-practices before a game that’s crucial for so many. With roster spots on the line and future’s up in the air, here are five Eagles you need to watch when they clash with Miami tomorrow night.

 

Donnel Pumphrey
While the Offensive line certainly hasn’t helped, the Eagles fifth-round pick hasn’t exactly set the world on fire during his first two preseason games. Byron Marshall was able to flash some production with the same skillset, but Pumphrey has been swallowed up on poorly thrown passes and runs without clear holes.

In Training Camp and OTA’s, Pumphrey has been extremely strong and easily one of the Eagles biggest standouts, but live-game scenarios have left a lot to be desired so far. Pumphrey will need a big game against the Dolphins to prove that the issues in the first two matchups are not solely to be placed on his shoulders…showing the Eagles and their fans just how explosive he can be.

 

Wendell Smallwood
Smallwood entered camp with a tenacious new mentality. As he pushed through tackles, lowered his helmet upon contact and ran with a new sense of ferocity, Smallwood began to turn heads and show coaches that he can be the three-down slasher he was unable to emerge as in his rookie season. The presence of UDFA Corey Clement may have only spiked his growth…but there lies the problem.

While Clement has been shining in preseason games and leading the team in rushing, breaking off big plays and scoring his first NFL touchdown, Smallwood has been sat on the sideline injured. Thursday night may be the first taste of preseason action Smallwood has this year, and he simply has to make it count to back up a strong offseason with a stronger in-game scenario.

 

Patrick Robinson
After a turbulent offseason having been signed as the Eagles starting cornerback, Patrick Robinson saw himself demoted down the depth chart upon the arrival of Ronald Darby. But that may well have been his saving grace. Robinson took slot reps in place of the injured Ron Brooks, and when the former Buffalo Bill returned nothing changed. It was Robinson who was manning the first team nickel position…and if that continues into the third preseason game, it could spark one late and crucial roster battle with both players on prove-it contracts.

Robinson played his best season in the slot and if he can replicate that against the Dolphins and come up with a pick or something close, then it’s only going to bode well for a future that was previously uncertain.

 

Joe Walker
The former Oregon Duck has had a relatively strong offseason so far, flashing during training camp and picking up where he left off after suffering a torn ACL just before his rookie campaign was set to launch. Mychal Kendricks has had a strong preseason to say the least and with Najee Goode stepping in and taking first team reps in place of Jordan Hicks, it begs the question just how cemented Walker’s future is.

We know special teams is going to play a role when deciding the linebacker decision, and we know that Najee Goode and “KGH” are two of the team’s most reliable specialists. If Hicks does miss tomorrow’s game, Walker is going to have to put on a show in order to force himself a little higher up the depth chart and secure a roster spot.

 

Dillon Gordon
The Eagles made an interesting decision to part ways with Matt Tobin a few days ago, pushing former LSU TE Dillon Gordon up to the backup LT spot and all but securing his place on the roster. One of camp’s most underrated standouts, Gordon has been mentored by Jason Peters this offseason and comes from a similar background, but with some versatile interior guards and limited tackle depth behind him, Gordon is still going to need to shine against what may well be a first or second-team Dolphins pass-rush in order to ensure he makes the final 53.

 

Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

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