Philadelphia Eagles: Deon Cain stakes his claim against the Browns

Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports /

When Philadelphia Eagles fans think back on the second preseason game of the 2022 NFL season, it will forever be remembered as “The Devon Allen Game.”

For all of the snaps, four-yard runs, missed tackles for losses, and fourth down attempts, watching the Oregon Duck-turned-Olympic hurdler-turned-wide receiver once more rip off a massive 55-yard touchdown catch down the middle of the field with two cornerbacks in hot pursuit was a legendary moment that cements his legacy with other summer standouts like Henry Josey and Ifeanyi Momah.

And yet, Allen didn’t finish out the game with the most receiving yards on the Eagles or in the game as a whole. No, that honor belonged to none other than Deon Cain, a player you probably hadn’t heard of before today but would not get into an ECW-style Philly Street Fight to defend his honor. Despite playing alongside Allen, Britain Covey, Jalen Reagor, and Quez Watkins, Allen led the team in targets, receptions, and yards, and hauled in some pretty impressive sideline-skirting back shoulder passes from Gardner Minshew.

Does Cain actually have a chance to make the Eagles’ roster? Or is he just another flash-in-the-pan summer star who never again reaches the same heights? The answer might surprise you.

Deon Cain and the Philadelphia Eagles head coach have history.

Before Cain was a member of the Eagles, a member of the Baltimore Ravens, or even a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the collegiate Clemson Tiger called Indianapolis home, where he was drafted in the sixth round by the Colts.

Despite recording a pair of 700-yard seasons in South Carolina, turning in decent enough athletic testing numbers headlined by a 4.43 40 time at the combine, and earning a Day 2 grade from’s Lance Zierlein, Cain shockingly fell all the way to the sixth round because of “off-field concerns and questions about his production” and thus scared off every team multiple times.

Still, Cain spent the better part of his first two seasons in Indy, and had he not suffered a torn ACL during his rookie training camp, maybe he’d still be there right now. Maybe he wouldn’t have been waived in 2019, played seven games in Pittsburgh, played zero more in Baltimore, and then been making plays for the Eagles dating all the way back in June.

Fortunately, it’s not always about the journey, but the destination, and Cain looks pretty happy to be in Philadelphia right now making plays for Minshew, Reid Sinnett, and Jalen Hurts. He currently leads the team in passing yards at 80 and, against all odds, is locked in a battle with Reagor, Covey, Allen, and Greg Ward for the final spot on the 53-man roster.

If Cain can prove himself a solid blocker and maybe even make a play or two on special teams, who knows, maybe he’ll finally have a consistent spot in an NFL offense for the first time in his NFL career.

Next. Watch Devon Allen’s ‘Welcome to the NFL’ moment. dark

In the NFL, there’s a time-honored tradition of giving a bit too much weight to preseason play. Fans, for the most part, can’t watch practices, and since only the most astute observers know exactly what each play is supposed to do on any given snap, it’s hard to really judge performances accurately. Still, it is telling that both the Eagles quarterbacks and Sirianni feel confident enough in Cain to target him on 11 occasions through two games. If that workload continues and the Clemson product rises to the occasion, it can only mean good things for his future.