5 Philadelphia Eagles Players with Insanely Bright Futures
Nine games into the 2012 season, the Philadelphia Eagles have managed to win only three games. The team seems to be showing fewer signs of life by the week, so it's understandable that the fanbase has already started looking to the future.
All the talk revolves around what life will be like after Andy Reid, but what about the players?
Over the past five seasons, we've seen as much turnover of the Eagles' roster as ever before in the Reid era. Is that a trend that will continue as draft picks fail and fade into obscurity, or will the foundation of this team still be around by the team the country is electing a new president?
While that's a difficult question to answer during such a tumultuous time for the organization, it shouldn't be too difficult to pinpoint the guys on the roster who, whether in Philadelphia or elsewhere, have bright futures in the NFL.
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Often, paying a player with a history of a prima donna attitude can backfire in a team's face rather quickly. DeSean Jackson, however, was the complete opposite.
As evidenced by his poor showing in 2011, not having a long-term deal genuinely affected Jackson's play on the field and his demeanor away from the game. He was concerned about an injury that could effectively end his opportunity to cash in and played cautiously as a result.
With a deal in place and not a whole lot to worry about on the financial front, expect Jackson to continue to craft his game and become a more complete wide receiver as the years go on.
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Even in the rotation-heavy defense that the Eagles employ, Fletcher Cox finds ways to stand out. Specifically, his ability to shoot the gap and pressure the quarterback is very impressive and not often found in young defensive tackles.
Part of his effectiveness can surely be attributed to the Wide 9 defense, but there is an obvious talent in Cox that should have Eagles fans excited for the future—no matter what defensive scheme might be employed next.
Cox's progression must continue as he learns to play more under control and get better against the run, but with the right coaching, Cox is a guy who has the potential to become a household name.
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Halfway into his fourth NFL season, LeSean McCoy could already be the most talented running back in the history of the franchise.
When he was drafted in 2009, it was my personal prediction, on WIP Philly sports talk radio with Garry Cobb, that McCoy would quickly make people realize just how overrated Brian Westbrook was for much of his career.
Westbrook continues to get far too much credit as a runner, but watching McCoy makes it easy to see what exactly Westbrook was missing and why McCoy has endeared himself to not only Philadelphia, but the entire country.
McCoy's vision and balance is often compared to Barry Sanders, and I believe it's more than fair. While there will never be another Barry, McCoy's ability to bounce from one gap to the next and make himself small enough to get through any seam is sure to bring up past memories of No. 20.
That's especially the case if the offensive line in front of McCoy continues to be so poor.
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Mychal Kendricks' rookie campaign started off better than anyone could have hoped. He was flying out and playing fast, but staying within the scheme. He was making plays not only in pass coverage but in run support as well.
Then, like the rest of the team, his play dropped off, seemingly out of nowhere.
But even with the drop-off, he's having a solid rookie campaign. It just doesn't seem nearly as impressive anymore when compared to how he looked in the preseason and the early portion of the regular season.
Part of the problem would appear to be his nerves, something that will fix itself as he gets more experience. Kendricks has been missing a lot of tackles as of late, but it seems like he's missing because he's trying to play too fast and is getting into some bad habits because of it.
Kendricks has too much natural ability not to turn things around and, barring injury that would hurt his incredible sideline-to-sideline speed, Kendricks will enjoy many good NFL years.
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Call this one a hunch, but Nick Foles seems to have everything he needs to become a very successful NFL quarterback. The guy is smart, instinctive and boasts an NFL-worthy arm.
Despite a tough first outing recently in spot duty against the Dallas Cowboys, Foles seems like the kind of guy a franchise would love to build around in the near future. And if Michael Vick isn't cleared to play within the next day or so, that process could begin with Foles very shortly in Philadelphia.
There are too many unknowns with Foles to say just how good he can be, but it would be genuinely shocking for me if this kid does not turn into, at the very least, a quality starter.
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If he can get back to playing the way he did when he entered the league, the sky's the limit for Maclin as he boasts an even better skill-set than DeSean. He will, however, have to ditch the alligator arms.
In just his late 20s, Peters still has a lot of good years left in him. That is, of course, contingent upon his Achilles tendon ever returning to normal. If he recovers properly, Peters will be remembered as one of the dominant lineman of his era.
If he had any athleticism to speak of, Celek would be mentioned with Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski, Vernon Davis and the like. Even still, Celek's strong hands and gritty playing style could, and should, equal a very productive and impressive NFL career.
DRC is absolutely bursting with talent. If talent was something tangible inside the body, DRC would constantly look bloated because he's carrying a ton of it around, but seems hesitant to let all of it out.
Definitely a late bloomer, but Graham is starting to show the talent that made him the 13th overall pick only a few short years ago. The "bust" label has been attached to Graham by some, but I believe he will firmly shake that off when he is the full-time starter opposite Trent Cole by 2013 at the latest.