I Expect More From the 2008 Acquisitions in 2009
There have been quite a few topics regarding the Eagles this 2009 offseason.
There have been some good things and some bad things.
Regardless, the guys in green always dominate the sports headlines in Philadelphia.
The departures of Brian Dawkins and Tra Thomas.
The signings of Stacy Andrews and Leonard Weaver.
The trading away of Lito Shepard and Greg Lewis.
The trades for Jason Peters and Ellis Hobbs.
The drafting of Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy.
The Eagles offseason has seemed to generate as many headlines as the regular season has.
In the mist of all of this, one topic seems to have been forgotten. It may be just as much a key to the 2009 season as any of the above topics.
That topic would be the 2008 acquisitions.
Two guys that came in last year had a huge impact on the team from the beginning.
Veteran cornerback Asante Samuel showed why the Eagles paid top dollar to bring him in with a Pro Bowl season.
Rookie DeSean Jackson took advantage of early injuries to Kevin Curtis and Reggie Brown and ended up being one of the most productive rookies in Eagles history.
We know what Samuel and Jackson can do and hope they improve in their second year as Philadelphia Eagles. The bigger focus is on the other 10 guys who didn't have as much of an impact on the 2008 season.
The 2008 fourth round draft pick was productive last year as a kick returner, but, now that Dawkins is gone, the question is can he take over?
According to defensive coordinator Jim Johnson, Demps is currently the starter. He's going to have to work very hard to keep it, because Sean Jones could very well take it away.
If he plays like the ball hawk scouts say he is, Demps will likely start and help ease the continuous pain of Dawkins departure.
Last year's first pick (after trading out of the first round) wasn't a glaring disappointment.
But, I expect him to be a bigger part of the rotation with fellow tackles Broderick Bunkley and Mike Patterson. As a second round pick, I know he has talent.
There were a lot of questions about why the Eagles would draft a 230 lb defensive end out of a smaller school (McNeese St.).
Smith had a slow start in training camp and ended up not playing one down his rookie season. After a year of playbook reading and bulking up (I believe he's up to 245-250 lbs now), Smith should be ready to contribute.
A fourth round pick out of Pittsburgh, McGlynn played three games last year as a reserve. Known for his mean streak and versatility, McGlynn should be a very reliable backup on the offensive line.
The Eagles drafted Ikegwonu in the fourth round last year knowing he wasn't going to be available until 2009.
He suffered a new injury while preparing for the combine.
The Eagles took him because, before his injury, he was a first round prospect. We shall see what he can bring to the table in training camp.
Mays is a hard hitting backup at middle linebacker.
While he has good instincts and should contribute on special teams, there's no way this 2008 sixth rounder takes the starting spot from Stewart Bradley.
Gibson spent last year on injured reserve due to a listed shoulder injury.
This year, with 15 offensive linemen on roster going into training camp, Gibson is going to have his work cut out for him to make the final roster because the Eagles will only keep 10.
I doubt he'll be on IR two years in a row.
The seventh round pick from Auburn spent last year on IR with Gibson. Though Dunlap was said to have first round talent, he lost his starting spot his senior year...hurting his value.
It's up to him if he wants to make the team as Jason Peters' backup.
McBride spent last year on the practice squad and has shown plenty of potential. With this year's acquisitions, I doubt if he makes the team.
Clemons was the other big free agent pickup besides Samuel. After a rough start of training camp with dehydration, Clemons had trouble catching up and didn't get on the field much at the beginning of the season.
He started to pick things up toward the end and finished with that memorable fumble return against the Cowboys. Let's hope that translates into more production in 2009.
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