Eagles training camp 2022: 10 non-starters to watch in preseason opener

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The Eagles kick off their 2022 preseason when they host the New York Jets at 7:30 p.m. on Friday night at the Linc.

All eyes will obviously be on Jalen Hurts and the starters after Nick Sirianni revealed the plan to play them for one or two series in this game. But let’s look at 10 non-starters we’ll be watching closely on Friday night:

WR Deon Cain: The 26-year-old receiver is probably still buried on the depth chart but he’s caught a ton of passes in the first 10 training camp practices. Cain was once a sixth-round pick out of Clemson back in 2018. The Colts drafted Cain when Sirianni was their OC, so there’s a level of familiarity there. Cain and backup Gardner Minshew have built quite an on-field rapport. Even if Cain can’t crack the roster, he’s a candidate for the practice squad and could help the Eagles this season.

WR Britain Covey: The 5-foot-8, 173-pound undrafted rookie from Utah has made plays just about every single day in practice. He’s obviously undersized but Covey is quick and agile playing from the slot. But it’s more than his skills as a receiver. If Covey makes the 53-man roster, it’ll be because of his ability as a returner. He’s been working as a kickoff and punt returner throughout camp. He’s looked very smooth in those areas but it’s also something we want to see in real game action. If he breaks off a couple of big returns in preseason, I think Covey makes the roster.

 

DT Jordan Davis: It would be hard to not watch the 6-6, 340-pound nose tackle, but we’ll include him anyway. The first-round pick from Georgia has been having a very impressive summer and is already way more polished as a pass rusher than I expected. The thing that really stands out about Davis is his combination of size and athleticism; it’s special. During training camp, Davis is focusing on his technique to get everything out of his natural gifts. Based on what we’ve seen in training camp, Davis is going to be a problem for offensive lines.

LB Nakobe Dean: It has been a quiet training camp for the third-round pick from Georgia. Not only that, but the Eagles’ other linebackers have been flashing. T.J. Edwards, Kyzir White, Davion Taylor and even Shaun Bradley have all made more plays. It’s not that Dean has been bad — he hasn’t — but he hasn’t flashed either. But Dean was also one of the best players on an incredible college defense. Wouldn’t surprise me to see him come out and have a good preseason showing. He’s a gamer.

RB Jason Huntley: With injuries to Boston Scott (concussion) and Kenny Gainwell (hip), Huntley has been getting more snaps the last week of practices and he’s starting to flash again like he did last summer. Huntley is a burner and has the ability to break off a big run anytime he touches the ball. The one thing that’s impressed me by him this summer is the edge he’s been running with. Known as a speedy back, Huntley has been more physical than I’ve ever seen him the last week or so.

LB Kyron Johnson: The sixth-round pick from Kansas had a quiet start to his first training camp but has clearly become more comfortable recently. He’s starting to make some plays off the edge in team drills and in 1-on-1s. He’s still a work in progress, but he can help himself earn a roster spot as the backup SAM linebacker with a few good preseason performances.

C Cam Jurgens: I’m cheating a little bit on this one because Jurgens will be the starter at center in place of Jason Kelce in this game as Kelce comes back from an elbow cleanout. But there’s a chance that Jurgens plays even after starters are pulled. Basically, you just want to see Jurgens look like he belongs on an offensive line that is arguably the best in the NFL. Because that job will likely be his in 2023.

DB Josiah Scott: The Eagles have nine cornerbacks fighting for just a few jobs, but Scott is one of the more intriguing names. He came into this camp as the backup nickel cornerback behind Avonte Maddox, but recently he’s been taking second-team reps as a safety. Versatility is a key element for any backup and now Scott can play nickel, safety and is a really good gunner on the punt team. All that gives him an inside track to make the roster. But I’m excited to see him at safety in game action.

 

QB Reid Sinnett: While he was still with Miami last summer, Sinnett had a very good preseason, which is what really put him on the Eagles’ radar. In three preseason games last season, Sinnett completed 30 of 45 passes for 401 yards with 3 touchdowns and 1 interception and a passer rating of 107.7. This summer, Sinnett is clearly ahead of UDFA Carson Strong for that third quarterback position and is pushing for the Eagles to keep him on their 53-man roster.

TE Noah Togiai: Rookie Grant Calcaterra has missed several days with a hamstring injury and Tyree Jackson is still on the PUP list as he comes back from an ACL tear. With those injuries, third-year TE Togiai has started to flash. He’s stacked a few impressive days in a row and is worth watching in this game. The Eagles are going to keep Dallas Goedert and Jack Stoll but that third tight end job is still up for grabs.

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