Eagles vs. Ravens Preseason Opener: 5 Players to Watch

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DETROIT, MI – OCTOBER 02: Seattle Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny (20) runs with the ball during the third quarter of an NFL football game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Detroit Lions on October 2, 2022 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire)

No one knows for sure if the Philadelphia Eagles are planning to play their starters during Saturday night’s preseason opener in Baltimore. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t players to keep an eye on.

5 Eagles Players to Watch During Eagles vs. Ravens

Tanner McKee

The rookie quarterback out of Stanford has caught my eye both times I visited Eagles’ camp this season. He consistently hit guys in stride while showcasing a big, accurate arm in individual drills on July 30, then guided an 11-play touchdown drive with virtual ease at Wednesday’s practice. McKee should get at least one full quarter against the Ravens – maybe a quarter and a half – and the 6-foot-6, 231-pounder has a chance to be a chokehold on the third-string job (over Ian Book) with a strong performance. I’ll be looking specifically at his footwork in the pocket which has been shaky at times this summer. Outside of that, McKee definitely has all the physical tools and intangibles.

Justin Evans

The starting safety job opposite Reed Blankenship remains up in the air, with Terrell Edmunds and K’Von Wallace battling hard for it. Keep an eye on Justin Evans, though. The 27-year-old – a player who basically missed three entire seasons due to injury – has quietly stood out. He had two pass breakups at Wednesday’s practice, including a highlight-reel play where he went up and over the top to swat the ball away from Britain Covey, plus another one later in the day on Trey Sermon. Evans also intercepted Jalen Hurts during a four-safety look from Sean Desai earlier in camp.

Rashaad Penny

The Eagles have been rotating the reps between all five running backs as Nick Sirianni promised he would. Penny has seen his share of first-team reps, but something feels a bit off. He was back returning kicks at a recent practice, something he openly lobbied to do, and that dual-threat ability might be what lands him a roster spot. He’s not the pass-catcher that D’Andre Swift is. He’s not the bowling ball that Boston Scott is. And he’s not as quick as Kenny Gainwell or Trey Sermon. I would expect the coaching staff to run him into the ground against Baltimore.

Josh Sills

The Eagles have been cross-training him at guard and tackle ever since the 325-pounder was acquitted of rape and kidnapping charges. Sills needs time to get up to speed as evidenced by the false start penalty I witnessed on him the other day. However, Howie Roseman was very high on the former undrafted rookie when the Eagles first signed him in 2022. He’s going to see a ton of snaps on Saturday night. He’s listed as the third-string left guard on the initial depth chart, but don’t be surprised to see him at left tackle. Tyler Steen will likely start there versus Baltimore.

Joseph Ngata

The undrafted rookie receiver out of Clemson has caught everything in camp. Literally. I saw him show great chemistry with Tanner McKee and Ian Book in individual drills, then flashed during 11-on-11 reps with Marcus Mariota throwing him the ball. And Ngata was last seen getting first-team reps with Jalen Hurts. He’s not going to snake a starting spot, but he’s flashed enough to get the coaching staff’s attention. Now he gets a chance to prove it on the big stage, under the bright lights in Baltimore.

Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire