Philadelphia Eagles Training Camp: Riley Cooper Injury Means More Competition

Bob Cunningham@BCunningham215Senior Analyst IJuly 28, 2012

Rookie Marvin McNutt is now a guy to watch in training camp.
Rookie Marvin McNutt is now a guy to watch in training camp.Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE

The first real casualty of Philadelphia Eagles training camp is Riley Cooper, it would seem. The receiver hit the ground hard after going up for a pass and broke his collarbone.

Depending on the severity, my guess is Cooper misses four to six weeks, which puts him out for training camp, the preseason and could threaten real game time. Obviously, the Eagles must start looking elsewhere for his replacement.

But according to GM Howie Roseman, that search will start on the current 90-man roster, making sure to point that the team currently has 13 guys in camp, and no outside help will be sought just yet.

While Cooper is down, it's going to mean more reps for three other guys in particular.

Sixth-round draft choice Marvin McNutt is going to get every opportunity to show what he can do because he's a guy the team has already invested in. The little engine that could, Chad Hall, will also get his shot because of what he's shown over the past couple years. No matter how many times the fans, and seemingly even the coaching staff, count him out, he just refuses to give up his spot.

Undrafted rookie Damaris Johnson has had a buzz about him since the spring because of his speed and ability to return kicks. For as much as he can contribute on special teams, he's starting to get noticed on offense as well.

For the same reasons as Johnson, Mardy Gilyard could also see some extra reps. Odds are you're nodding your head and just now remembering he's even on the team, though, and my feeling is the coaching staff often does the same.

Cooper will not lose his roster spot entirely thanks to his production on special teams, but if McNutt in particular can step up and show some ability, Cooper could be relegated to the fifth—and likely final—spot for the receivers due to his inability to step up on offense.

Cooper is a guy who does not impress me as a receiver, and I would certainly feel more comfortable with someone else as the reserve should DeSean Jackson or Jeremy Maclin be forced to miss time. Whether or not that happens will be determined by the time Cooper spends watching from the sideline, and what the aforementioned guys do on the field.