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These 7 rookies have stood out for Philadelphia Eagles through first week of NFL training camp

Martin Frank
Delaware News Journal

PHILADELPHIA – The Eagles have several young players who might need to play major roles this season.

Many have gotten opportunities through the first week of training camp, representing their first on-field workouts as members of the Eagles.

But it's a difficult balance between giving them experience and making sure the starters and veterans get their reps, as well.

Typically, the preseason games would enable the coaches to evaluate the young players. But since those have been canceled, that will have to happen during the practice sessions.

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"There's a fine line, there's a balance between getting our starters prepared ... in the first couple of days here while also evaluating some of these young players," Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. "We've got to make sure that we're doing right by both groups."

Here's a look at some of those rookies who have stood out so far, and might warrant more opportunities as the season gets closer:

Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Shaun Bradley (54) warms up during an NFL football training camp practice in Philadelphia, Friday, Aug. 21, 2020. (Heather Khalifa/Pool Photo via AP)

Jack Driscoll, offensive line

Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham might not know Driscoll's name just yet, but he will soon enough.

Graham was asked recently about young players whom he has noticed on the offensive line:

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"You got 63, Jack, I forgot his last name," Graham said about Driscoll. "I like him a lot. He’s a younger guy. I love his attitude so far, just on how he tries to finish blocks and you really have to work the edge on him because he’s a big body."

Driscoll, who's 6-foot-5, 312 pounds, played both guard and tackle in college, but Graham said Driscoll has the size to be a tackle in the NFL.

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"I think he’s doing really good for us learning the technique," Graham added. "That’s going to be the biggest thing for him because he’s a big body, he’s aggressive." 

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jalen Reagor throws the football during an NFL football training camp practice in Philadelphia, Monday, Aug. 17, 2020.

Jalen Reagor, wide receiver

The first-round pick has impressed with his speed, his willingness to go across the middle and beat man coverage.

"Jalen Reagor, obviously, he gets in and out of breaks at a pretty special level," Eagles backup quarterback Nate Sudfeld said. "He’s got strong hands."

Reagor has that, and his 42-inch vertical leap on a Wentz pass that seemed hopelessly over his head until Reagor leaped and managed to get his fingers on it.

Reagor has been with the first unit of wide receivers since the first day of practice, with DeSean Jackson and Greg Ward. There's no reason to think that will change.

John Hightower, wide receiver

Hightower's speed has impressed the Eagles. That was evident on Friday when Wentz rolled out to his left to escape pressure, then motioned for Hightower to keep running deep down the sideline. 

Hightower did, getting behind his defender, and Wentz hit him in stride.

"I’ve had my ups and downs," Hightower said about his first week of practice. "Just the playing speed, everything is a lot faster, tempo is faster and then just knowing what you got ... Definitely a lot I can improve, maybe my down-field releases."

Quez Watkins, wide receiver

Like with Hightower, Watkins has the speed the Eagles sorely missed last season from their wide receivers.

They each are adjusting to NFL coverages, and that has included some dropped passes for both.

But the speed is enticing, and the Eagles plan on using it, whether it's at receiver or on special teams.

Shaun Bradley, linebacker

Bradley, the Temple product, has been active on defense in the middle. He has mostly worked with the second and third units. But Bradley, the Eagles' sixth-round pick, intercepted a pass Thursday and he broke up another pass Friday.

He has also laid a few hard hits on some teammates.

"The thing that impressed me about Shaun early, and this wasn’t necessarily the football aspect, but his leadership ability," linebackers coach Ken Flajole said. "We had some things with the rookies when they first came in before the vets, and how he took charge of getting the rookies organized in practices. That showed me a real leadership quality. Playing a (middle) linebacker, he’s kind of the quarterback of the defense."

He might be ready to contribute this season sooner than third-round pick Davion Taylor.

Michael Jacquet, cornerback

Jacquet signed as an undrafted free agent out of Louisiana, and was one of the young players Pederson singled out for having a strong start to training camp.

Jacquet has an uphill battle to make the 53-man roster. But if the Eagles decide to move on from either Sidney Jones or Rasul Douglas, there's a chance Jacquet, who's 6-foot-1 and 203 pounds, can get a roster spot.

Philadelphia Eagles tight end Noah Togiai heads out to the field during an NFL football practice, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola, Pool)

Noah Togiai, tight end

Togiai got plenty of reps Friday with both Zach Ertz (upper body) and Dallas Goedert (reportedly a thumb injury) sitting out of practice.

Togiai, an undrafted rookie free agent out of Oregon State, caught a touchdown pass from Wentz in a red-zone drill.

Ertz and Goedert will obviously be the top two tight ends on the roster. Togiai would have to beat out veteran Josh Perkins. It won't be easy for the 6-4, 247-pounder, but he's off to a good start.

Contact Martin Frank at mfrank@delawareonline.com. Follow on Twitter @Mfranknfl.