Philadelphia Eagles: Stock watch versus the Pittsburgh Steelers

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
3 of 3
Philadelphia Eagles
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Stock up: Linebacker Depth

In 2020, the Philadelphia Eagles’ linebacker corps was about as green as their home jersey.

With only, well, actually zero players on second contracts, the unit largely underperformed save Alex Singleton‘s second-half emergence and is a big reason why Nathan Gerry isn’t employed heading into the 2021 regular season.

So, with only two new additions – Eric Wilson and Patrick Johnson – on the books, fans shouldn’t expect too much from the middle of Jonathan Gannon’s unit, right?

Whoa, whoa, whoa, not so fast, my friend. As it turns out, the Eagles’ linebacking corps actually showed out fairly well against the Pittsburgh Steelers and may just surprise some people this fall.

With Davion Taylor and Jacoby Stevens out, fans got a front-row seat to the Wilson, Singleton, Johnson, and Shaun Bradley show, and all four made strong cases to not only make the 53 man roster but provide a viable rotation depending on the situation.

Really, the only linebacker who didn’t look good in the contest with a legitimate chance to make the roster was Genard Avery, who really didn’t flash in his first-team action and may not remain in the starting lineup once Taylor returns.

Then again, considering Jonathan Gannon’s defense didn’t exactly present many exotic pass-rushing looks, maybe Avery’s potential is being saved for primetime?

Stock down: Jason Huntley

For much of the summer, Jason Huntley has been the under-the-radar player to watch for the Philadelphia Eagles.

A surprise release by the Detroit Lions after his first preseason with the team, Howie Roseman swooped in and secured Huntley’s services off of the waiver wire to hopefully eek some value out of the 172nd overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

In 2020, that didn’t really happen. But what about in 2021?

If the Eagles’ first preseason game of the summer is of any indication, things might not be as exciting as some initially expected.

Logging snaps after Boston Scott, Kenneth Gainwell, Kerryon Johnson, and Jordan Howard, Huntley ran the ball four times for 15 yards, while picking up four more yards on the ground on three total targets. Huntley was also able to record 79 more yards on three kick returns, but critically, it was Quez Watkins who recorded the first kick return of the contest to start out the game.

Was that simply an opportunity for Watkins to open the game in style, or is he genuinely in the running to be the Eagles’ starting kick returner this fall? That decision could be crucial to Huntley’s chances of making the 53 man roster coming out of camp.

Philadelphia Eagles #ToTheMooner: Quez Watkins

Is there any doubt? Quez Watkins was the name to watch coming into the preseason, he was the high-man in the game with 79 receiving yards, and he recorded the Eagles’ only touchdown off of a screen thrown by Joe Flacco.

If there’s a player to keep an eye on over the next two games, it is unquestionably Watkins, who, unfortunately, isn’t going to be a secret for much longer, as Jalen Hurts pointed out after the game.

Next. Jalen Hurts shines in his preseason reintroduction. dark

Who did you think saw their stock rise or fall in the Philadelphia Eagles’ preseason debut? Let us know!