Yesterday it was made official that the 2020 NFL preseason will be canceled. While it seemed written on the walls for some time, the final conclusion that the league would forgo these games came as a disheartening blow for many roster hopefuls. As a fan and a writer, while preseason games may not count towards the final record, it was always a time rife with storylines and excitement. Preseason games turned lesser-known players such as Paul Turner into folklore and caused mouthwatering hype for the next big deal to step on the scene.
Many fringe players hoping for their opportunity to get a shot at the final roster, or increase their value on the open market will have to find other avenues to market their talent. With the Eagles in the midst of a youth movement on both sides of the football, there are a handful of tantalizing players that may fall by the wayside.
C/ IOL | Jack Driscoll
Driscoll will seemingly be asked to make the move to center after starting at tackle for Auburn. Already facing a mountainous transition to the pros, a shortened offseason and no preseason will make it incredibly difficult for him to prepare himself for the backup role. As a fourth-round selection, he certainly has the upper hand over UDFA Luke Juriga, however, while Driscoll may ultimately be the better prospect, he faces a steep learning curve adjusting to the interior.
The Eagles also have two guards on the roster, Isaac Seumalo and Nate Herbig that can step in at center in a pinch. After spending some steep draft capital on Driscoll, he will likely still make the roster, but his foothold is not as sure as it would be with time spent in-game. Perhaps the Eagles will wait a season before forcing the full-time move to the centre and keep Jack on the roster as a position-less backup.
G | Sua Opeta
While welcome news to Philadelphia, the return of Jason Peters spelled bad news for Opeta’s shot at sneaking onto the roster. Peters’ track record of staying healthy may force the Eagles into taking more interior lineman than usual. However, with Matt Pryor waiting in the wings as the de facto backup guard, the second-year small school recruit will be on the outside looking in barring a massive change in heart from the coaches. Fellow second-year player Nate Herbig offers some versatility as a backup center that Opeta cannot offer and even saw the field for a brief moment on special teams last season.
OT | Casey Tucker
In a similar position to that of Opeta, additions to the roster will have a trickle-down effect on Tucker. Already facing the difficult task of beating OL coach Jeff Stoutland’s favorite project Jordan Mailita for a roster spot, Tucker now also faces highly touted 6th round pick Prince Tega Wanogho. The second-year man has more experience in the offense than the rookie, but there’s a good chance neither make the final roster. With Tega Wanogho being a draft pick, he has more sticking power than Tucker.
RB | Mike Warren
Following the trend of recent success the Eagles have had with undrafted running backs, Warren was hoping to leave his stamp on Philadelphia. Odds were in his favor in terms of fit, as his physical play style fills a role the Eagles RB rotation is in need of. However, he still had last year’s addition Elijah Holyfield to contend with. With Holyfield’s extra time spent in midnight green, he will likely have the upper hand heading into September.
QB | Kyle Lauletta
It was always a small one, but the canceled preseason has essentially put an end to Lauletta’s chance of squeezing on to the roster. He faced an uphill battle to beat out crowd favorite Nate Sudfield, but the preseason is often a telling time for quarterbacks. Even if he only had a slim chance to make the Eagles’ roster, the forgone games — and subsequent lack of game tape — will make it difficult for the former fourth-round pick to sell himself to another team. If nothing else, his pedigree should assure him a spot on a practice squad.
TE | Noah Togiai
Rookie Noah Togiai was in a position to be a roster surprise before everything went south. He was the third highest-paid undrafted rookie free agent on the roster which is telling as the Eagles certainly value the third tight end on the roster. Veteran Josh Perkins has shown his value as a pass-catcher but has also demonstrated his shortcomings as an inline blocker. Togiai’s chances of playing spoiler are quickly closing, as without in-game film it will be tough to prove himself against a practiced veteran.
WR | Quez Watkins
The stage was set for an intriguing camp battle between 5th round selection John Hightower and 6th round pick Watkins. Both are speed merchants with question marks surrounding consistency and polish. Simply by the order of selections it would seem that Hightower has the edge. Nevertheless, there is a reason that our own Liam Jenkins has been so smitten with Watkins as a prospect. With all things being equal, the battle would have likely come down to preseason performance and ability to pick up the playbook. Now without the preseason to show his stuff, Watkins will have to hope he can impress in camp.
Defensive players are listed on the page below.