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Spadaro: Eagles Rookie Class has immediate, positive impact 

Jalen Carter
Jalen Carter

By now, they are hardly rookies.

They've gone through a full Training Camp, three preseason games, and nine weeks of the regular season. This is the week to catch a breath, get in some great workouts, and come back strong and ready for the stretch run.

This Eagles Rookie Class extends beyond what has been an immediate-impact 2023 NFL Draft, and it's one that has been integral to the team's 8-1 start. Taking a look now at how these eight players on the active roster have contributed to date.

DT Jalen Carter, first-round draft pick

The ninth overall draft pick has been a key piece in the defensive tackle rotation, a contributor right off the bat. Carter has four quarterback sacks, more than two dozen quarterback pressures, and has been disruptive in all phases of the game. He has played in a rotation and on Sunday against Dallas logged 51 snaps and required the Cowboys to double-team him.

Edge Nolan Smith, first-round draft pick

There aren't a lot of reps to go around with Haason Reddick in front of him on the depth chart, but Smith is playing a handful of snaps each game and gaining the trust of the coaching staff more and more. He has a great first step, bends the edge, and plays relentless, physical football both on defense and on special teams. His continued improvement will be vital in the second half of the season.

OL Tyler Steen, third-round draft pick

The Eagles have cross-trained Steen at both right guard and left tackle from the time he arrived in South Philadelphia. On Sunday against Dallas, Steen gained his first start at right guard and played a solid game against a premier defensive line. The Eagles have some options at right guard when Cam Jurgens returns to full health, and Steen is one of those options. The reps he has gained now will benefit him later in the season.

S Sydney Brown, third-round draft pick

Healthy now after a hamstring injury sidelined him for three games, Brown is a versatile defender who can play at the safety positions and as a slot cover cornerback. His snap count has been high the last three games – 46 against Miami, 40 at Washington, and 25 when Dallas came to town. Brown also contributes on special teams and figures to be in a key role the rest of the season at multiple positions on defense.

CB Kelee Ringo, fourth-round draft pick

A long, rangy cornerback, Ringo is learning the ropes from the experienced Eagles' cornerback room, but that hasn't stopped him from making a positive contribution on special teams.

QB Tanner McKee, sixth-round draft pick

McKee has been the team's emergency third quarterback during the regular season, but he opened eyes in the preseason by completing 39 of 72 passes for 453 yards and a touchdown. He displayed poise, confidence, accuracy, and a strong arm in his time on the field, so every bit of improvement he is making now is on the practice field and in the classroom.

DL Moro Ojomo, seventh-round draft pick

Ojomo has been active for only two games, with nine defensive snaps under his belt, so the sample size is way too small to draw any conclusions. He showed versatility and playmaking skills in the preseason and the Eagles are making sure he is ready to go if needed in that ultra-deep defensive line room.

CB Eli Ricks, undrafted free agent

A standout in the preseason, Ricks made the 53-man roster and has been able to contribute in a secondary that has needed him to step up. Ricks has played both inside cornerback and outside, not an easy task for any player, much less a rookie. He has made plays – he ended Miami's last-minute hopes with a pass breakup on a fourth-down pass a few games ago – and has had plays he would like to have back. That's the nature of the NFL life, and that is what to expect at a position with such a small margin for error.

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