Over the past few months, the Philadelphia Eagles have shown a willingness to become a younger football team. Draft Capital became the name of the game and Howie Roseman was keen to flush out veterans and infuse the roster with athletic prospects with high upsides. The team now have over 50 players under the age of 25, giving them plenty of prospects to develop over time. But who are the potential wonderkids to watch over the next 12 months?
#25 CB Craig James
There are a few younger names left off of this list who may have higher upside than James, but the truth is that as things stand, he’s one of the few CB2 candidates providing that the team don’t make a big signing going into the Summer.
Injuries plagued James in 2020, who played just 15 defensive snaps for the Eagles last year. In 2019, he was targeted 9 times, giving up 5 completions (one of which for a TD) and amassed 15 tackles, playing in a total of 68 snaps.
Craig James may not be the favorite to land the CB2 role, but if he is given a decent shot, there’s a good chance he sees significant snaps this season which will only enhance his development.
#24 WR Trevon Grimes
The only reason Trevon Grimes is so low on this list is because of the lingering knee injury he’s dealing with. He recently underwent a procedure and although he should be back in time for the Summer, it’s bound to impact him. Grimes is a big-bodied target who, if he can secure a roster spot, can absolutely challenge Travis Fulgham and J.J Arcega-Whiteside for the title of leading red-zone weapon. He’s got great body control and a strong catch radius, which gives him enough intrigue to easily push him into the team’s top-25 young prospects.
#22 S Marcus Epps
Epps isn’t flashy, nor is he consistent. However, he appeared in 14 games last year and in 33% of snaps ended up breaking up 4 passes and intercepting two, which in that defense is actually pretty impressive.
He may not see the field all that often now that Anthony Harris is in town, but if Rodney McLeod is unable to start the season then we could be in line to see some more from a ballhawk-like safety in a defense that actually prioritizes the generation of turnovers in the secondary.
It will be intriguing to see how Marcus Epps looks in this new defense given that he won’t be tasked with open-field tackling anywhere near as much…(hopefully).
#24 DE Tarron Jackson
Don’t get it twisted, Tarron Jackson is a beast. In 2020, the Eagles draftee led his team to the top of the conference and tallied 54 total tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks (tied for 8th in the FBS), 18 QB hits, and 3 forced fumbles. If you’re a sucker for a pass-rusher with production, Jackson has it in buckets.
Ryan Kerrigan’s arrival may complicate the picture just a little in the short-term but the Eagles have clearly placed a lot of their chips on the long-term development of players like himself and Patrick Johnson, meaning we could one day see Jackson burst into that EDGE4 role or potentially one even higher.
#21 CB Michael Jacquet
One of the other players battling it out for the CB2 spot, Jacquet brings length to the table that is otherwise non-existent on this roster. At 6’2, 201 lbs, Michael Jacquet is a former receiver with a wingspan of 82 1/8 inches – 4 longer than any other DB recorded at last year’s combine, along with 33.5 inch arms. Not only is he rangy, but he’s fast. Jacquet ran a 4.42 40-yard dash at his pro day and that speed constantly showed up on tape last year.
Jacquet may not be the most polished corner on the roster, but he gave DeAndre Hopkins plenty of trouble at the line against the Cardinals and showed plenty of fight and intensity. With an eyebrow-raising athletic profile and the competitive nature needed to survive a gruelling training camp, Jacquet could easily be one of the names to watch on the outside this year.
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