5 Observations of Philadelphia Eagles Roster in Loss to Dallas
While the Eagles game turned out to be a glorified preseason game in January, there were a few things i had my eye on throughout the night.
Dallas played their starters and the Eagles went the other route, giving second and third (and in some cases, forth team) guys a chance to show what they could do.
Here are a few observations from the Eagles game on Saturday night in the season finale vs Dallas.
1. Milton Williams can play.
The Eagles draft class continues to impress with DeVonta Smith breaking the teams rookie receiving record, Landon Dickerson becoming a force at left guard and Williams showing he belongs.
The team selected the Louisiana Tech product in the third-round, with the No. 73 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft with a little bit of controversy.
If you remember on draft night, there was a video of Howie Roseman fist-bumping with members of the front office and Eagles senior scout, Tom Donahoe, didn't seem to be on the same page.
Later Roseman admitted that Donahoe wasn't thrilled with the pick, saying there is a lot of emotions in the draft room on draft day.
Well Williams can play, showing in the game against Dallas that he can be a force moving forward. He had three tackles, two for loss and batted down a pass at the line of scrimmage in the game.
“To be a difference-maker everytime I come on the field," Williams said when asked about the stand he set for himself this season. "Be a player that the coaches trust to play any position on the defensive line and make plays when plays come to me. That’s really it. Just go out there and be a playmaker, do my job, and come out with a win.”
There were reports that Donahue wanted to take NC State DT, Alim McNeill, who ended up in Detroit. The Eagles found themselves a player with Williams, who ends the season with 30 tackles, six for loss and two sacks this season in limited snaps.
2. Eagles will get offers this offseason for Andre Dillard
Andre Dillard was a first-round pick, and mostly looked at as a bust, which isn't really fair. Dillard has played well when give the opportunity, but just got beat out by a better player in Jordan Mailata. Is it frustrating that he was a first-round pick, who really doesn't contribute much? Sure. But most teams don't get Pro Bowl production from seventh rounders.
Dillard was impressive enough in his five starts this season that he should garner plenty of interest in a league starving for offensive line talent.
I would imagine the bidding starts with fourth-round pick, but if they play their cards right, they could get a third.
Is Dillard great? No. But offensive line play in the NFL is awful, and he is a starter on probably 20 of the 32 teams at left tackle.
3. Kenneth Gainwell is a weapon.
We talked about the Eagles first three draft picks, but Gainwell was another hit in the draft by Roseman, who was drafted in Round 4 in the 2021 draft.
“When we first came in here, we came in here with a full head of steam to be great, to be the best rookie class that came through," Gainwell said when asked about the rookie class. "We just try to work hard to be the best. We came in here and did our thing.”
With Miles Sanders, Boston Scott and Jordan Howard out, Gainwell rushed 12 times for 78 yards and a touchdown, he also added four catches in the game. While he has shown the ability to catch the ball most of the season, with 33 catches this season, he displayed the ability to run the ball, hit the hole and give the Eagles more in the run game in the future.
"This is what I’ve been waiting on – to get the chance to show a lot of things and just be myself and go out there and attack everything I’ve learned during the week and just go out there and attack".
4. Quez Watkins can be a No. 3
Watkins was a sixth-round pick last season and barely got on the field under Doug Pederson. However, he showed this season he belonged, working his way up to the No. 2 spot on the Eagles depth chart. While he likely isn't a No. 2 on a Super Bowl contender, he showed me enough that he could be a solid No. 3.
Watkins has great speed and can catch the ball and make things happen after the catch.
He ended the regular season with 43 catches for 647 yards, including five for 84 yards in the season finale against Dallas.
The Eagles can use him in a variety of ways and if they can find a better No. 2, it will allow them to use him in more creative ways, like jet sweeps, bubble screens, curls and more.
Jalen Reagor and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside have been major busts, so expect to see another wide receiver added, but expect to see Watkins remain a part of the offense in 2022.
5. Jack Anderson looked solid at both guard and center
The Eagles depth on the offensive line is incredible. Regardless of its finding talent or developing talent, they are the best in the league. With Jason Kelce's future always in doubt, the team will need to figure out what they are going to do at center at some point in the near future.
They have some options, Landon Dickerson can play center, Isaac Seumalo, Nate Herbig and Brett Toth can each play center.
Anderson was forced into action there and looked solid as both a guard and center.
He was a seventh-round pick by Buffalo, but was a talented player coming out of high school and the Eagles may be getting his full potential pulled out with Jeff Stoutland. He could be another solid contributor as a depth piece moving forward or a possible candidate to replace Kelce, should he decide to retire.