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10 Players to Watch in Eagles' 2019 Preseason Opener

Football is here! 

The Eagles will kick off their 2019 preseason tonight against the Titans at Lincoln Financial Field. 

Next week, they'll be in Jacksonville to face off against Nick Foles and the Jaguars before coming home to play the Ravens. They'll finish the preseason on the road against the Jets. 

For now, here are 10 players to watch Thursday night: 

Miles Sanders

In the last couple of weeks, Sanders has started to show why the Eagles drafted him in the second round. The running back from Penn State has looked very impressive in training camp and if he keeps it up, he'll have a big role this season with Jordan Howard and eventually as a feature back. He's also the player named most by his teammates when asked who they were excited to watch (see story).

Andre Dillard

Because the 37-year-old future Hall of Famer Jason Peters doesn't really need a lot of work in the first preseason game, I expect to see Dillard an awful lot. The first-round pick and future left tackle has looked smooth during training camp but, like every rookie, has had ups and downs. The first chance to see him in game action should be exciting. 

JJ Arcega-Whiteside

Let's round out the first three with the other top draft pick. The second-round receiver has had somewhat of a quiet training camp, but getting into game action might help him. If the Eagles are in the red zone, I'd expect a ball or two to go his way. I'm thinking he gets a touchdown in this game. That's my prediction. 

Nate Sudfeld 

Expect to see a lot of Sudfeld in this game and throughout the preseason. The preseason is going to be a way to get as many reps for the backup quarterback as possible. After a slow start to his training camp, Sudfeld has looked much better over the last week. He has gotten into a little groove. If he looks good this preseason, it would do wonders to calm the fan base and maybe even some folks inside the NovaCare Complex. 

Halapoulivaati Vaitai 

The guy who started at left tackle in Super Bowl LII will play right guard exclusively in tonight's game. With Brandon Brooks (Achilles) still out, Big V will fill in as he has all spring and summer. Vaitai has looked good at guard; heck, it might end up being a better position for him. And if Brooks isn't ready for the opener, this is our chance to see what to expect from Vaitai. 

Malik Jackson

I don't think we're talking enough about the addition of this Jackson. We've talked a lot about the other one, but bringing in Malik Jackson and pairing him with Fletcher Cox could give the Eagles' defensive line a boost like we haven't seen before under Jim Schwartz. Cox isn't back yet, but Thursday will be our first chance to see Jackson in an Eagles uniform. 

Zach Brown 

With the injury to Kamu Grugier-Hill, Brown might be an important piece to this puzzle. He hasn't been very impressive during training camp, but he's a veteran and maybe he'll look better under the lights. 

Marken Michel 

Here's my pick for the Eagles' final receiver roster spot. Michel had an impressive spring and has looked good this summer too. Maybe he's still a long shot but a few good performances in the preseason and I think he can make the 53. 

Sidney Jones 

Jones has been my standout pick from training camp. It seems like he makes a big play every single day and he has been showing off that talent that would have made him a first-round pick in 2017 had it not been for his torn Achilles. The Eagles have shown patience with Jones and it looks like he might be rewarding them. 

Nathan Gerry 

Along the same lines as Brown, Gerry has a big opportunity now that Grugier-Hill is injured. It's also important to remember that Nigel Bradham isn't back yet after offseason surgery. During practice, Gerry was the long ‘backer on the field in the dime package, so it shows you what the coaching staff thinks of him. I'm not sure the fan base is sold yet. 

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