The Philadelphia Eagles lost their preseason opener 20-19 on Saturday night. Despite some late-game heroics — courtesy of a 31-yard interception return for a touchdown by Eli Ricks — they couldn’t stop the Baltimore Ravens from stretching their preseason winning streak to 24 consecutive games.
Ho-hum. No one cares. The preseason isn’t about winning and losing. The exhibition slate is more about evaluating players, mainly those bubble guys deep down on the depth chart. Rookie quarterback Tanner McKee stole the show (10-of-20 for 148 yards) while showing off great chemistry with Tyrie Cleveland and Joseph Ngata. Meanwhile, the Eagles’ revamped backfield accounted for 94 yards, including a team-high 34 yards on nine carries from Rashaad Penny.
D’Andre Swift was arguably the biggest standout out of the running backs. Kenny Gainwell had the night off as he was lumped in with the starters. Here are a few under-the-radar players who stood out to me
5 Eagles standouts from preseason clash with Ravens
The Eagles rolled out a starting offensive line featuring Tyler Steen at left tackle, Josh Sills at left guard, Sua Opeta at right guard, Jack Driscoll at right tackle, and Andrews at center. They were all solid in protecting Marcus Mariota to start the game.
I had my eye on Andrews, who has been generating considerable buzz during training camp practices. He held his own in pass protection and blitz pickup, bailing out Sua Opeta on the right side multiple times. It was nice to see him look so comfortable at center. He’ll be the backup center behind Jason Kelce this season after Cam Jurgens transitioned to right guard.
While Tyrie Cleveland (5 catches for 68 yards) and Greg Ward Jr. (5 catches for 53 yards) shined brightest, I couldn’t help but keep my eye on the undrafted rookie out of Arkansas. The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder displayed impressive physicality including one rep where he ran over two Baltimore defenders for extra yardage. He has flashed at times in camp, showing reliable hands and good route-running, while gelling with Tanner McKee and Ian Book. He finished with two catches for 30 yards against Baltimore.
A first-team All-ACC selection at Clemson in 2021, Goodrich has always been uber talented but concerns about his speed and swivel caused him to go undrafted. He was flying all over the field and recorded a pair of pass breakups in the Eagles’ first preseason game of 2023, including a beautiful swat over the middle to stall a Ravens’ drive. Goodrich is currently the third-string nickel cornerback but he narrowed the gap a bit between himself and Zech McPhearson on Saturday night.
The term “freak athlete” gets bandied around quite a bit these days in professional sports but this guy fits the bill. Following a mind-blowing pro day at Michigan State, the 6-foot-2, 231-pounder was poached by the Eagles and proved himself to be tackling machine versus the Ravens. He covered more ground than a bull on parade and finished with six total tackles.
The other four guys on this list were standouts for positive reasons … not Book. The winningest quarterback in the history of Notre Dame football looked lost and unprepared to run the Eagles offense all night. He was already a long shot to make the 53-man roster, especially with Tanner McKee tearing it up, but the former fourth-round pick sealed his fate. He couldn’t make the correct reads, held on to the football too long, and took unnecessary sacks.
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