What to Expect from the Eagles' 2012 Rookie Class in 2013
The Eagles brought in University of Oregon coach Chip Kelly, who will be looking to implement a brand-new style of offense. Kelly’s system predicates on explosiveness, speed and a hurry-up offense. The talent to succeed is there in LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin.
Kelly also inherits a strong draft class from last year. The Eagles got fine performances from a lot of their rookies, and that should bode well for the future. The expectations were minimal for the rookies last year, but each will likely play an increased role in 2013.
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It’s almost a certainty that Fletcher Cox enters the 2013 season as a starter at defensive tackle. The Philadelphia Eagles have flirted with the idea of moving to a 3-4 defense, which means Cox would either play nose tackle (doubtful) or 3-4 end (more likely).
Cox is a terrific pass-rusher, and he was already the team’s best defensive tackle as a rookie. The Eagles will likely release either Cullen Jenkins or Mike Patterson, which only leads to an increased role for Cox.
Cox is the type of player that could get double-digit sacks from the interior tackle position. He’s going to be a force for the next decade, and it’s not unreasonable to expect a Pro Bowl spot by next season.
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The Philadelphia Eagles had a need for linebackers, but Mychal Kendricks played well enough in 2012 to show he has a future.
Kendricks played both strong side and weak side. He had some growing pains, but that’s to be expected for a young linebacker. Kendricks will undoubtedly enter ’13 as an unquestioned starter. If the team switches to a 3-4, it’s probably likely that he moves inside. Either way, he should be an integral part of the future.
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The Philadelphia Eagles will have a vastly different defensive line in 2013 than they did in 2012. Jason Babin has already been released. Trent Cole and Brandon Graham will take the snaps as the starters with Vinny Curry doing most of the work off the bench.
Darryl Tapp and Phillip Hunt shouldn’t be back next year. That means Curry will be the primary backup behind Cole and Graham.
Curry wasn’t stellar in ’12 as he saw just limited snaps. But he should be an effective pass-rusher, considering the team spent a second-round pick on him.
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The future of Nick Foles is still very much in doubt. He played fairly well at the end of 2012, showing the confidence and poise of a veteran.
His stats weren’t stellar (six touchdowns, five interceptions), but he came up huge at times. His game-winning touchdown pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the closing seconds was a tremendous play.
The problem, though, is that Foles can’t run Chip Kelly’s offense. Foles is extremely immobile, and Kelly all but requires his quarterbacks to be able to move a little. Foles may spend the 2013 season with the team, but it’s doubtful he’s the long-term guy.
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Brandon Boykin will very likely see an increased role in 2013. The team’s nickel corner in ’12 could be forced into a starting spot next year.
The Philadelphia Eagles have difficult decisions to make about both Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha. DRC is set to hit free agency, and Asomugha is due to make a ridiculous $15 million in 2013.
The Eagles will likely bring back one of the two. That means Boykin could be a starter by his second NFL season. Then again, the Eagles may draft a player like Dee Milliner and start him immediately. Either way though, Boykin’s role in 2013 will be important.
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Dennis Kelly probably doesn’t have much of a future with the Philadelphia Eagles. He’s not one of the more athletic offensive tackles in the game.
Kelly played OK in extended action in 2013. He filled in at left tackle for Jason Peters and then for Demetress Bell, right tackle, when Todd Herremans got injured, and even right guard for Danny Watkins. Kelly will be fighting for a spot in training camp, though. He was just a fifth-round pick, and backup offensive linemen are replaceable.
Marvin McNutt was a vast disappointment in 2012. He went in the sixth round after projecting as a mid-round draft pick.
McNutt didn’t even make the team as a rookie. He was eventually re-signed to the practice squad, but it’s doubtful he will make the 53-man roster next season.
The Philadelphia Eagles thought they had a solid backup guard in Brandon Washington. But Washington never made the team after going in the sixth round.
It’s highly unlikely he finds himself back on the team in 2013.
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The future of Bryce Brown got a whole lot better with the addition of Chip Kelly. Brown has a lot of tools that can’t be taught to running backs.
He’s strong, powerful and fast. He turned in two phenomenal games in 2012 before struggling for the remainder of the season. Brown’s fumbling problems will continue to plague him until he solves the issue.
But if anyone can bring out the best in Brown, it’s Kelly. Look for Brown to get upward of 100 carries in ’13. And if he makes the most of them, his playing time will continue to increase.