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Three Promising Young Stars For The Eagles Entering the 2022 NFL Season

The NFL Draft is the epitome of hope.

It allows for teams to fill holes on their roster, addressing deficiencies that have caused them to lose games in the previous season. It manufactures palpable excitement, as teams become enamored by prospects that have the potential of turning around their franchise.

The Philadelphia Eagles are on the rise. After a vastly successful 2022 NFL Offseason, the Eagles truly do stand an outside chance at Super Bowl contention.

In this context, we found it fitting to analyze three pieces that could be instrumental in this surprise contention. Three young players that will assist in catapulting the Eagles to the next level. Let’s get into it.

Jordan Davis: Defensive Tackle (Rookie)

Jordan Davis is a freak.

The Georgia Bulldog prospect is absolutely creating buzz. I mean, a 4.78 40-yard dash at 6’6″, 341 pounds will conjure some hype. Alternatively, if numbers don’t impress you, just put on the tape.

I know preseason is preseason. That being said, my goodness did Davis flash some dominant attributes. He commanded double (and one triple) teams throughout the first preseason game against the New York Jets and showed a fantastic blend of power and finesse to shed blocks with ease.

Two particular plays stood out. The incredible bull rush, disengage and pursuit of Zach Wilson on this play was incredible. Davis displays his raw power, as well as his above average speed for a player of his size to chase down the quarterback.

Secondly, the Bulldogs product shows his immensely underrated finesse in shedding budding star guard Alijah Vera Tucker. In this snap, Davis effectively uses the lineman’s momentum against him, utilising the swim move to get him swiftly upfield and getting an outstretched arm on the back, forcing him to redirect into Nakobe Dean.

Whilst many held skepticism of Davis’ effectiveness as an every down lineman in the NFL, the Eagles have the luxury of a deep rotation that should allow the big man to shine brightly and develop swiftly in his rotational role. Thus, look for the Eagles to leverage his pocket collapsing, run stuffing skillset to create an absolutely terrorising frontline for opposing offensive lines to fear for years to come.

Kenneth Gainwell: Running Back (2nd Year)

Kenneth Gainwell had an odd rookie season.

The fifth round selection out of Memphis was part of a stable of solid running backs in 2021. He had the privilege of rushing behind the NFL’s best run blocking offensive line, whilst simultaneously the unfortunate limitation of being buried deep within the depth chart. Perhaps his slighter frame, as the only Eagles back under 200 pounds, prevented him from having a heavy workload in a ground and pound attack.

Thus, the rookie season should be evaluated in the skill set shown in the eye test. Gainwell showed the ability to be a dual threat back that was very valuable in a pass balanced attack. He led all running backs with 253 receiving yards, despite playing just 29% of all offensive snaps. Furthermore, he contributed a solid 291 rushing yards from 68 attempts.

The Eagles acquired AJ Brown and Zach Pascal to bolster their offense into a more balanced attack. As a result, Gainwell should see a higher snap percentage with more passing attempts and thus more use, varied between targets and carries. He was targeted 50 times last season and given 68 carries. It is not unreasonable for him to significantly improve both numbers and have a productive second season.

Landon Dickerson: Interior Offensive Line (2nd Year)

Entering year two, Landon Dickerson is primed to become the next star of the offensive line.

Dickerson had a solid rookie season. The Alabama prospect was selected with the 37th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, and has not disappointed thus far. He was thrust into the action due to the injury of since retired Pro-Bowler Brandon Brooks, and showed the power, size and solid attributes necessary to develop into a long time NFL starting interior lineman. He made 13 starts and played well enough to be the incumbent starter entering year two.

Dickerson is my prediction to make the largest step in 2022. In 2021, the rookie was entering his first NFL preseason coming off an ACL injury sustained in the SEC title game at Alabama. Thus, with a more consistent offseason to be able to learn from the valued tutelage of offensive line coach extraordinaire Jeff Stoutland, as well as come in healthy, Dickerson is set up for success.

The starting left guard had a sound 2021 season, showing potential and promise with every snap. Whilst combing through tape, the consensus on Dickerson is that he has the physical attributes to be a Pro-Bowl interior lineman, but just needs time to develop. After moving from centre at Alabama to guard for the Eagles, amongst being thrust into the lineup due to injury, the rookie had a lot to adjust to. He did a very solid job doing so.

Statistically, Dickerson’s season was good, not great. In his 859 offensive snaps played, the rookie allowed just two sacks, 31 pressures and ended the season with a PFF overall blocking grade of 67.3. This was exceptionally promising. Furthermore, his 57.1 pass blocking grade, which was clearly his area of improvement, seemed to stem from a tendency to overset, as opposed to fundamentally broken pass protection technique. His hand usage remained sound, and he had some mighty good reps. His chemistry and tape with Jordan Mailata on the left side seemed really solid and is likely to take a huge step forward with his development in the upcoming season.

Let us know in the comments below if you agree with these three-breakout candidates. Check out our latest content and don’t forget to follow our Facebook and Twitter pages for more Eagles coverage.

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