Eight overlooked players to watch in Eagles preseason clash with Jags

WR Marken Michel

Here’s that name again . . . we’ll take any excuse for bringing up the CFL transfer. While he’s been getting a lot of deserved attention after a big first game, Michel may fly under the radar in week two of the preseason. Last week’s 75-yard scamper put Eagles fans on notice, but he’ll have to some more impressive performances to lock in a spot on the final roster. The coaching staff clearly felt that they had seen enough out of the speedy receiver and yanked him after only 15 plays. It will be interesting to see who starts the game in the slot for Philadelphia. There are a few other talented young players vying for that role that didn’t get a ton of opportunity last Thursday. Quarterback play will be a catalyst for how well they can show their stuff.

As much as the offensive staff covet their burners, Michel will have to display some versatility to have a legitimate shot at the roster. One long touchdown will not be enough to guarantee a space on the roster. His deep threat value may also see a drop with check-down king Cody Kessler taking the reigns. Some after-the-catch flashes and solid possession catches could mean a lot for him making the team. He should also get another chance at returning kicks, where the position battle is still ongoing and could mean the difference between a roster spot and the chopping block. As positive as his first impression was, there is a fine line separating a Paul Turner-like preseason hero from the final 53.

Greg Ward Jr.

He didn’t do much in 27 offensive snaps last week, but Ward will get another shot at making an impact in Jacksonville. With conservative Kessler calling the shots, the intelligent possession-focused receiver may have a leg up over his competition. Although he has some speed to stretch the field, while playing in the AAF, most of Ward’s 22 receptions came relatively close to the line of scrimmage. Also aiding Kessler will be Ward’s deceptively long catch radius for a 5’11” receiver, as you may remember from the catch below. He’s also a special athlete after the catch and brings some return value should the Eagles give him a chance. He has become a very valuable practice squad player because of his ability to emulate opponents on the scout team. This year, however, the Eagles are especially deep at the receiver position and Ward’s scout team value may not be enough.

CB Ajene Harris

Spotty corner play against the Titans from the other backup CBs on the roster left the door wide open for Harris to make an impact in Jacksonville. Unsurprisingly, he didn’t get a whole lot of playing time in week one, just two days after being added to the roster. Still, in just 17 defensive snaps, the undrafted rookie registered three tackles including a sack. He should get more opportunity this week and will have to show up in coverage to earn a spot on the practice squad.

S Tre Sullivan

After cutting ties with the injured Blake Countess, the Eagles left the door wide open at the backup safety position. Many believe that this spot will go to the recently acquired Johnathan Cyprien, but don’t expect Sully to lay down without a fight. While he had his ups and downs against the Titans, many forget that Tre is only 24 years old and has played a grand total of 220 regular season defensive snaps before being thrust into a heavy role in the postseason. Making some splash plays in preseason is all he can do in an uphill battle to make the Eagles’ final cut.

Mandatory Photo Credit: Matt Patterson via AP

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