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Eagles vs. Jaguars 2013: Players with most to gain

A few rookies will have an opportunity to prove themselves on Saturday and potentially bump themselves up the depth chart.

Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

The third preseason game is widely considered the most important of the four exhibition games that each team plays. Of the four, the third preseason game is the most likely to reflect a regular season game as the first-team units usually get an extended amount of time to play before resting during the fourth game of the preseason.

While players on the bubble will have one final game to perform next week against the Atlanta Falcons, Saturday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles could matter more for battles on the depth chart. Three rookies in particular have the opportunity to make a statement on Saturday:

Lonnie Pryor - The starting lineups on offense and defense are essentially set at this point of the preseason. If any battle still exists it's the one between Lonnie Pryor and Will Ta'ufo'ou for the starting fullback spot. To put it plainly, Pryor has been losing the battle, as Ta'ufo'ou has been a far more effective run blocker thus far.

Still, Pryor provides the Jaguars with more options than Ta'ufo'ou does as an offensive weapon and that could matter more for a team that will look to use a high tempo, quick passing offense. If Pryor can show himself as an effective run blocker as well he could overtake Ta'ufo'ou for the starting role at fullback.

Demetrius McCray - A seventh-round selection in the 2013 NFL Draft, McCray is currently listed as a fourth-string cornerback for the Jaguars which would seem to indicate he could be on the cut list soon. However, he hasn't played too poorly in preseason, albeit against the lesser players of opposing rosters.

With both Jeremy Harris and Kevin Rutland already ruled out for Saturday's game, McCray could get a look against some of the better receivers on the Eagles roster and prove his potential is worth keeping on the roster rather than the practice squad.

Tobais Palmer - The preseason hasn't been too great for the rookie wide receiver who has recorded exactly zero receptions and managed to muff a punt in each of the first two games. In his defense, Palmer never once returned a punt in college and isn't expected to be the starting punt returner for the Jaguars during the regular season, but still it hasn't been a good sign either.

A star during OTAs, Palmer clearly has a lot of talent to work with and just needs to prove to the coaches that he can make use of it during a game. A solid outing on Saturday could be enough to keep Palmer on the roster.

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