4 Eagles rookies who are already showcasing the ability to be NFL starters

The roster is taking shape. The cream is rising to the top, and a few Eagles rookies look like they could start if a game needed to be played immediately.
Sydney Brown, Philadelphia Eagles
Sydney Brown, Philadelphia Eagles / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

Depending on who you're having this discussion with, the following statement can lead to one of three different responses. 'The Philadelphia Eagles are an impressive-looking team on paper'. Did you notice a smile crossed your face and a few accompanying thoughts crossed your mind when you read that? Yep. That's typically how that works.

Typically when those words are uttered, the mind drifts to thoughts that agree with the following theory. Games aren't won on paper, and regardless of how great your team looks, the players and coaches still have to get the job done. On any given Sunday (or Monday or Thursday), any team can suit up and beat another.

Being good 'on paper' evokes other responses. On one hand, there's always the chances of disappointing performances. On the other, there's the temptation to begin booking flights for Super Bowl Sunday. The one-game-at-a-time approach is always needed.

One preseason game remains, a Thursday night affair versus the Indianapolis Colts. The roster is beginning to take shape. The proverbial cream is rising to the top, and a few of the Eagles' first-year prospects already look like stars.

Here are a few Eagles rookies who could start if Philadelphia had a game to play immediately.

1. Jalen Carter, interior defensive lineman

Jalen Carter, Philadelphia Eagles
Jalen Carter, Philadelphia Eagles / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

We're running out of superlatives to describe Jalen Carter. He's as close as prospects come to being a sure thing. If this is Fletcher Cox's swan song in Philly, the Eagles have found a worthy successor.

2. Nolan Smith, EDGE/outside linebacker

Nolan Smith, Philadelphia Eagles
Nolan Smith, Philadelphia Eagles / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

We have successfully avoided a crisis. Nolan Smith's preseason injury scare shook us all for a moment, especially seeing as how we already have knowledge that he had to work his way back from a torn pectoral muscle in the past.

Smith won't start in 2023, but that isn't because of ability. It's because the Eagles are loaded with pass rushers, but when Number 3 is called upon, he'll be ready.

3. Sydney Brown, safety

Sydney Brown, Philadelphia Eagles
Sydney Brown, Philadelphia Eagles / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

Sydney Brown plays with his hair on fire, and he has gone from scrimmaging with the third team to earning starting reps in a little under two weeks.

The former Illinois Fighting Illini standout wants to be feared. Those are his words, and with his style of play, he will be. While he continues to learn, his aggressive style of play will lead to both big plays and head-scratching moments, but when he and the game slows down, he's going to be fun to watch.

4. Tyler Steen, offensive lineman

Tyler Steen, Philadelphia Eagles
Tyler Steen, Philadelphia Eagles / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

We have seen enough. Tyler Steen has the tools. He won't start at right guard. The job is Cam Jurgens' to lose, and there's no chance of that happening, so in the meantime, this young man figures to continue paving his lane, a road that leads to reserve duty at both right guard and offensive tackle.

Let's talk about a few of the other Eagles rookies as well.

The Eagles have some other young standouts that we have to mention before we close this one. Kelee Ringo, Eli Ricks, and Mekhi Garner are a nice trio at cornerback; however, Ringo, a fourth-round draft choice might be the only one who makes the initial 53-man roster. Ricks and Garner may fall victim to the numbers game and land on Philly's practice squad.

Joseph Ngata and Jadon Haselwood are two promising young receivers that figure to land practice squad jobs of their own. We'll see what happens with Johnny King. Brady Russell is a young tight end that has our attention. That brings us to Tanner McKee.

There's no need to rush the six-foot-six, 231-pound signal-caller onto the field, but Philly may have found their QB2 of the future. He is already outplaying Marcus Mariota.

Linebacker Ben VanSumeren is also in the mix, as are defensive tackle Moro Ojomo and two other interior defensive linemen, the new guys, Caleb Sanders and Robert Cooper. Let's make long stories short. Howie Roseman and his staff continue to get the job done, but that shouldn't surprise anyone. The future looks bright in Philly.

Check out these other Eagles stories as well.