Eagles' Players With Most to Prove in Preseason Week 1
The top of the Philadelphia Eagles' wide receiver depth chart is already set.
Nick Sirianni and his coaching staff will spend the next few weeks figuring out which players will join A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith on the 53-man roster at the position.
Philadelphia carries a ton of intriguing candidates on its training camp roster, and the first preseason game against the New York Jets should help the team sort out the pecking order at the position.
Jalen Reagor, a 2020 first-round pick, is under the most scrutiny because he has not lived up to the expectations of a Day 1 NFL draft pick.
The Eagles could fill out their depth chart without Reagor because they have Greg Ward, Zach Pascal and Quez Watkins also fighting for the No. 3 slot.
Wide receiver will not be the only offensive position that goes under the microscope on Friday.
Second-round pick Cam Jurgens may be thrust into a larger role than expected as Jason Kelce deals with an elbow injury. The Eagles need to see what the rookie out of Nebraska can do on the interior in gameplay to see if he could replace Kelce in the regular season if needed.
Jalen Reagor has been trying to prove his worth for every snap of his three-year NFL career.
The 2020 first-round pick has 695 receiving yards and three touchdowns from his first two NFL seasons.
Reagor's unreliability led to the Eagles taking DeVonta Smith in the first round of the 2021 NFL draft and to the 2022 draft night trade for A.J. Brown.
Reagor is competing for the No. 3 wide receiver spot at best, and he may not get to that point if he fails to show off in preseason games.
He is competing with Greg Ward and Quez Watkins and free-agent signing Zach Pascal. Watkins was third on the Eagles receiving-yard chart in 2021, Ward has been around for quite some time and adds depth to the return game and Pascal worked with Nick Sirianni previously in Indianapolis.
The worst-case scenario for Reagor is that he is the odd man out in the wide receiver room and finds himself with a new team through a trade before Week 1.
Reagor could avoid that possibility by performing well in the three preseason games, starting with Friday's clash against the New York Jets.
Reagor does not need a massive stat line, although that would help, but he needs to do all the little things right and avoid mistakes, like drops or bad routes run, to gain confidence from the coaching staff.
Britain Covey is on the outside looking in at the Eagles' 53-man roster right now, but his explosivity could move him up the pecking order.
Covey spent five seasons at Utah as an all-purpose player that caught plenty of passes, was utilized in the running game and was the primary returner.
Covey's return skills could help him overtake Reagor, who returned punts in 2021, throughout the three preseason games.
The NFL rookie had four punt return touchdowns and a kick return score in his collegiate career. He never had more than 700 receiving yards in a single season, and that may not change as he gets going at the professional level.
The Eagles do not need Covey to be a 1,000-yard wide out, they have two of them already, but they could use his return skills right away and that skill set should come under the most focus in the preseason games.
A combination of strong returns and plays from Covey and a struggling Reagor could lead to him being the fifth wide receiver on the roster.
Cam Jurgens was always going to be under the preseason microscope because of the expected reps with the second-team offense.
Now the second-round pick out of Nebraska will have more attention paid to him because Jason Kelce is sitting out with an elbow injury.
Kelce underwent an arthroscopic procedure on his elbow on Tuesday, per NBC Sports Philadelphia's Reuben Frank.
Kelce could return to the Eagles starting lineup, but the team needs to have contingency plans in place in case the longtime center is unable to work through his ongoing elbow discomfort.
Jurgens will be on the first-team offensive line at center while Kelce is sidelined. That means he will get a chance to prove himself along the starters on Friday.
A steady performance alongside the first-team offensive linemen could go a long way for Jurgens, who has a massive hole to fill since Kelce has been a part of the Eagles offensive line since 2011.
If Jurgens holds his own at center, that would help ease some concerns about replacing the heart of the offensive line in case Kelce can't return in time for the regular-season opener.