Eagles Rookies Flashing Potential, 1 UDFA Wowing Doug Pederson

Michael Jacquet

Getty Undrafted rookie free agent Michael Jacquet is trying to earn a roster spot in Philadelphia.

Hope springs eternal this time of year and NFL daydreams can quickly turn into roster spots.

Or sometimes they can turn into an unwelcomed place on the waiver wire. For the Eagles, there have been several surprising names impressing so far in padded practices at training camp. Eagles head coach Doug Pederson called out five impressive young players earlier this week, including Jalen Reagor, Quez Watkins, John Hightower, Michael Jacquet and Jack Driscoll.

The latter has been holding his own against the team’s top pass rushers, guys like Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry and Josh Sweat. Friday marked the most intense practice to date, with the Eagles’ defense flashing their potential with 10 total sacks.

“I think there’s really several guys,” Pederson said about guys who have stood out. “We’ve talked about Jalen [Reagor] just a little bit. Quez Watkins is another one that has stood out as a receiver, John Hightower, these guys are improving every single day. Jacquet as a corner has done some really, really nice things for us. I think about even some of our young linemen, I think of Jack Driscoll off the top of my head who’s come in and we’ve put him in positions to go against Brandon Graham, go against Vinny Curry, Josh Sweat, some of our starting D-ends and done a nice job there.”

Meanwhile, defensive tackle Malik Jackson had his own list ready to share. He pointed to offensive linemen Sua Opeta, Nate Herbig and “that boy Prince” Tega Wanogho. He also complimented second-year left tackle Andre Dillard for his growth and development.

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Undrafted Free Agent Impressive in Camp

Jacquet was arguably the most surprising name to come out of Pederson’s mouth. The Eagles do have an intriguing group of undrafted rookie free agents and there was considerable hype around some of them, namely Raequan Williams and Michael Warren II and Grayland Arnold.

Jacquet? Well, you can never have too many promising young cornerbacks.

He spent five years at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette after red-shirting his freshman year. The former high school quarterback played wide receiver in his first two seasons before flipping over to defensive back. He finished his college career with four interceptions and 14 passes defensed in 44 games.

“I didn’t feel like I was actually a corner until Week 9, Week 10 into the season,” Jacquet said in 2019, via the Daily Advertiser. “I felt like I just playing off of athleticism, and being a football player, the first couple weeks. “I just continue to work on the small things, because if you work to get the small things it will end up being one big product.”

That “one big product” is now a chance at a spot on the Eagles’ 53-man roster. The biggest question mark has been over his size since Jacquet stands at 6-foot-1 and 203 pounds. Scouts were worried he might struggle against bigger, more physical receivers at the next level. That hasn’t been an issue early in camp.

Here is a scouting report on Jacquet from Pro Football Network:

Positives: Nice-sized cornerback who flashes ball skills. Physical, mixes it up throughout the route and shows good awareness. Keeps the action in front of him, breaks down well and uses his hands to protect himself. Quick up the field and gives effort against the run. Strong open-field tackler.

Negatives: One-speed cornerback with limited burst. Must improve his footwork in reverse.

Analysis: Jacquet was rarely challenged by opponents and comes with next-level size. He comes with scheme limitations, but Jacquet should be able to line up in a zone system.

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