Stock Up, Stock Down for Every Philadelphia Eagles Positional Unit in Preseason

Cody SwartzSenior Writer IAugust 22, 2012

Stock Up, Stock Down for Every Philadelphia Eagles Positional Unit in Preseason

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    It’s never smart to put too much stock in preseason football, but the Philadelphia Eagles are 2-0 and giving the team a good glimpse at many of the players battling for key spots on the team.

    The roster still consists of nearly 90 players, and there are two games remaining for the Eagles to cut their roster to the mandatory 53 players. What the backups have done is give management a look at the depth on each positional unit heading into the 2012 season.

Quarterbacks

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    Preseason has shown a lot about the Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterbacks thus far. Some of them are obvious—Michael Vick can’t stay healthy to save his life. Others have been a pleasant surprise, particularly the play of third-round rookie quarterback Nick Foles, who has excelled in both of his outings thus far.

    Foles has played well enough that he may earn the top backup spot behind Vick even when third-year man Mike Kafka returns from his broken hand. And Trent Edwards has played better than expected, which gets this unit a "stock up" for the preseason.

    Grade: Stock Up

Running Backs

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    LeSean McCoy is an absolute stud, and everyone knows that, but I was hoping for more production from some of the backup running backs.

    Dion Lewis is penciled in to win the top backup job, but I don’t have a ton of confidence in him should McCoy go down with an injury. And I was hoping either Bryce Brown or Chris Polk would step up a little more than either one has so far in camp.

    Grade: Stock Down

Wide Receivers

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    DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant are a terrific one-two-three wide receiver trio that could rival nearly any group in the league.

    After that, though, the positional group is in shambles. Marvin McNutt hasn’t stepped up as many hoped the sixth-round pick would do. Riley Cooper has a broken collarbone. Chad Hall is a great story, but he’s just not good enough to make an impact. And while Damaris Johnson has had a stellar camp, the fourth receiver spot may be pushing it for even him.

    Grade: Stock Down

Tight Ends

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    Brent Celek is a reliable rock who can pass block, run block and catch passes, and he’s a future Pro Bowler. After him, though, Clay Harbor is merely an adequate tight end who hasn’t made quite the impact as a backup that the Philadelphia Eagles had hoped he would.

    Brett Brackett and Chase Ford may fight their way onto the team, but neither will make much of an impact.

    Grade: Stock Down

Offensive Line

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    The Jason Peters injury is monumental, and there’s a good chance the Philadelphia Eagles will never recover from it. The team has tried both Demetress Bell and King Dunlap at left tackle, and it sounds like Dunlap is the odds-on favorite to win the starting job now.

    Other than the left tackle spot, all four starters return. Jason Kelce especially seems much improved. The offensive line rates as the best in the division and one of the top 10 units in the game, but the team just may never be able to recover from Peters’ devastating injury.

    Grade: Stock Down

Defensive Line

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    Before the season, I thought the Philadelphia Eagles defensive line might get 60 sacks. Now I think that figure may be too low.

    The defensive line is unparalleled across the league. Trent Cole and Jason Babin are the best defensive end combination in the game, while Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry, Phillip Hunt and Darryl Tapp make up a stellar second and third team.

    On the interior line, the team should be fine, even without Mike Patterson. Fletcher Cox was a first-round pick, and he should be a pass-rushing stud. Cullen Jenkins is a borderline Pro Bowl player, and Derek Landri is one of the best backups in the business. Antonio Dixon and Cedric Thornton are also terrific role players, and defensive line coach Jim Washburn will be able to rotate his players as much as he chooses.

    Grade: Stock Up

Linebackers

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    When the Philadelphia Eagles traded for DeMeco Ryans and drafted Mychal Kendricks, they greatly upgraded a unit that had been the weak spot of the team during 2011.

    After watching Ryans and Kendricks play during preseason, I am extremely excited to see what these guys can do when the regular season starts. Ryan is a natural-born leader at a position that was lacking a leader in ’11, and Kendricks can go sideline to sideline with the best in the game.

    Grade: Stock Up

Defensive Backs

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    The Philadelphia Eagles were expected to have one of the NFL’s best defensive backfields in 2011 when they signed free-agent cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and traded for big playmaker Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

    Both largely disappointed during the regular season—although neither was used the way they should have been used. Each looks significantly better in preseason, especially DRC who looks like he could return to his Pro Bowl form in 2012.

    Brandon Boykin and Joselio Hanson have a strong fight going on for the nickel spot, which means whichever player is at the dime spot becomes one of the league’s best at that role. Meanwhile, the safeties are a solid group with Nate Allen, Kurt Coleman and O.J. Atogwe leading the way.

    Grade: Stock Up

Special Teams

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    Alex Henery has looked good after an underrated rookie campaign, and he drilled a last-second, game-winning 51-yard field goal in the first preseason game. Punter Mat McBriar has looked good enough that the Philadelphia Eagles can part ways with Chas Henry, who was brutal in his rookie campaign last year.

    Jon Dorenbos is one of the league’s best long snappers, and rookie Brandon Boykin is set to make a big impact in the return game.

    Grade: Stock Up