The Buffalo Bills 2017 rookie class gave us, and the coaches, more to evaluate in their second preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles than in their previous preseason matchup. A couple of the rookies, including Zay Jones and Nate Peterman, even managed to have stand out performances.
CB Tre’Davious White
The first rounder showed off his tackling skills in this game, finishing with four tackles, one of which was a tackle for a loss. In coverage, there was only one blemish. The Eagles ran what appeared to be a Hi-Lo concept and White hesitated too long in deciding which target to pick up, leading to a catch. Still, it was another decent showing for the rookie.
WR Zay Jones
The team’s newly anointed starting wide receiver began slowly but finished strong, eventually leading all wide receivers in yards (42). Tyrod again didn’t look his way much to begin the game but as soon as Nate Peterman took the field Jones became the beneficiary. He quickly made the best catch of the night: a beautiful sideline grab between two defenders. That play demonstrated both his strong hands and his elite body control. Jones had another acrobatic catch on a fade pass for a potential touchdown, unfortunately he failed to get both his feet down.
OT Dion Dawkins
Dawkins saw snaps both at right tackle with the second team and at left tackle with the third team. He largely had a night to forget, allowing several pressures on both sides of the line. He was particularly abused on a play by Eagles rookie Derek Barnett, who dipped under the tackle and flushed Nate Peterman. At this point, it looks like Dawkins will be unable to push Jordan Mills for a starting spot at right tackle.
LB Matt Milano
The Bills defensive line put the kibosh on the Eagles’ running game for most of the night, which again only allowed Milano to demonstrate his coverage chops. He performed decently in that regard, managing to drop down into a short zone which directly lead to an incompletion from Carson Wentz. He was not credited with a tackle.
QB Nathan Peterman
Peterman was impressive for his second straight preseason game. Against the Eagles backups, he was again both aggressive and accurate with his throws. He dropped the aforementioned dime to Zay Jones, but also found Nick O’Leary underneath for a couple decent gains. When nothing was open on one third down play he gutted out a run for ten yards. If Peterman can continue his strong play in the third preseason game he may be able to stake his claim as the primary backup to Taylor. His final stat number was 10 completions on 20 passing attempts for 167 yards and no touchdowns.
LB Tanner Vallejo
Coming back from an injured shoulder, Vallejo did not see much time on the field. He did miss tackling the running back on the edge, which led to a decent gain by the Eagles offense. He finished with two tackles, one of which was for a tackle for a loss.
Greg Mabin came up with an interception after ripping the ball away from the opposing wide out… Brandon Reilly led all receivers with 4 catches, including a 13-yard touchdown... Daikel Shorts added 2 catches for 22 yards... Austin Rehkow was 1-for-1 on extra points...