Breaking Down Eagles' Depth Chart at the Start of Training Camp
Training camp is a time when veterans fine tune their skills and young, hungry players fresh out of college try to make the team.
It's no different for the Eagles. Ultimately, what is taken out of camp can determine roster spots and—maybe more importantly—who will start and who will not.
One of the most unpredictable men in the business, Kelly could promote rookie Matt Barkley to starter by the end of camp, and some wouldn't even be surprised.
That speaks volumes about what kind of training camp the Eagles are in store for: One filled with fiery players, close evaluations by coaches and the fans' ability to sit back and watch everything unfold.
And even though Kelly has yet to release a depth chart, let's take a look at guys from both ends of the spectrum—those who have starting roles all but locked up, and players who will take any advantage they can grasp.
Unlike many teams around the league, the starting role under center isn't shored up.
And don't expect a starter to be named for quite some time.
Kelly said there's virtually no reason to make a quarterback decision this early, and that he'll utilize all of training camp if necessary.
Based on upside and more polished decision-making, a safer pick would likely be Foles. However, Vick has a boatload of experience that the former-Arizona quarterback can't quite match.
It would be an injustice to pick a starter under center without seeing them work out with pads and contact, so the two are listed as co-starters here.
This one is the biggest no-brainer on the squad.
Bryce Brown filled in nicely last year if fumbles don't matter. Felix Jones and Chris Polk are interesting backups, but in no way should they be contending for starting time.
Why? Because LeSean McCoy is still in the fold. And coming off a down year, "Shady" is expecting to be "dominant" in Kelly's new offense.
That's a scary thought.
It'll be intriguing to see how the fullback position plays out in Kelly's offensive scheme.
If the position gains some importance, the only guy listed at fullback on the Eagles' roster is Emil Igwenagu, a second-year player out of UMass.
Igwenagu signed on with the Eagles last year after going undrafted, didn't make the team out of camp and stuck around as a practice-squad presence for the majority of the 2012 campaign.
Assuming Kelly does use a fullback in sets, Igwenagu is the one who'll get looks—simply because he's the only person at the position at this point.
Whether it's rapping or talking about a new contract, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin have both made headlines this offseason.
Regardless of what's going on off the field, these two are still major playmakers who should thrive in Kelly's new system.
In Maclin's case, he expects a bigger role in the offense this year compared to last.
In terms of guys to watch, Damaris Johnson and Ifeanyi Momah are two names to keep logged.
Johnson is a speedy guy who produced after the catch—which should bode well with Kelly. Momah is a 6'7" tree who didn't fulfill his potential because of injuries.
Expect these two—if healthy and gelling well—to make waves and get some looks in 2013.
Kelly will likely use his stable of tight ends for different situational play, so a depth chart might not even do this group justice.
James Casey is a Swiss Army knife of an offensive player, Brent Celek provides reliability and Zach Ertz is the prospect everyone wants to see go to work.
Heck, Ertz is a rookie that told CSNPhilly.com he hopes to make the Pro-Bowl this year.
That considered, going into training camp, Celek probably has a leg up just because he's been tenured here for a while.
But as it goes on and the season approaches, the guys who Kelly chose to be here—Casey and Ertz—should emerge as primary targets.
Considering the shifting that's gone on, it's no surprise that the offensive line has been a subject of discussion this offseason.
Pro-Bowl tackle Jason Peters returns, the Eagles used their No. 4-overall pick in April's draft on Lane Johnson and Evan Mathis is rolling after a fantastic 2012 season.
The look up front should be—barring injury or poor play—as follows: Peters and Johnson at tackle, Todd Herremans and Mathis at guard and Jason Kelce at center.
Out with the wide-nine and in with a three-man front.
The Eagles switched to a 3-4 defensive set this offseason, and that means less initial pressure without a fourth lineman up on the ball.
But, it could be good to switch things up on defense considering the level of play in the past few years has fluctuated between unbearable to watch and serviceable.
Also, the 3-4 focuses on big plays (i.e. sacks) which is obviously a good thing.
Trent Cole struggled mightily last year in what was by far his worst NFL campaign.
But, he looks to bounce back and prove his worth while a lot of versatility surrounds him on the line.
Look for Fletcher Cox and Isaac Sopoaga to start initially, but Bennie Logan is a guy to watch.
A rookie out of LSU, Logan has shown his versatility on the defensive front and could be used both at end and tackle.
Among the linebackers on Philadelphia's roster, guys like DeMeco Ryans and newbie Connor Barwin (both experienced and talented vets) are almost a sure thing when it comes to starters.
Outside of them, the Eagles have two more spots to fill in the 3-4 scheme: one inside and one outside.
Mychal Kendricks, in his second year after recording 75 combined tackles in his 2012 rookie campaign, is moving inside this upcoming year and should start.
As for the other spot on the right wing, expect either Cole or Brandon Graham to drop back and fill that slot.
One name to watch is Casey Matthews. After landing himself among those outside the starting rotation under Andy Reid, Matthews could flourish under his old coach (he played for Kelly at Oregon).
Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie are out of the picture now with a bevy of hungry, undervalued players waiting in the wings to take over starting-corner duties.
Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher—considering their experience in the league and how Kelly went out to sign them—should have the inside track to the primary roles.
However, don't be shocked to see Jordan Poyer compete for legitimate playing time.
Poyer was an All-American in college at Oregon State and probably would have been selected higher than the second round had it not been for off-the-field issues.
He has his eyes set on the Eagles' nickel-corner spot, and it's within his grasp.
The safety situation seems like it's being overlooked despite some serious intrigue that comes with the group Philadelphia has assembled.
Will the group have a guy able to finally replace what Brian Dawkins brought to the table? Eh, probably not.
That's tough of anyone to ask, but Nate Allen really hasn't been cutting it the past couple of years.
The Eagles brought in Patrick Chung, Kenny Phillips and rookie Earl Wolff to shore up the position, and it should help.
Chung and Phillips (when healthy) are vets with valuable knowledge of the pro game and quarterbacks' tendencies, while Wolff is a project that could pay off.
If Phillips' injuries nag at all during training camp, expect Chung and Wolff to start at safety for Philly.
With regards to the kicking game, no one is competing with Alex Henery for his starting place-kicker position.
In Henery's second year in the league, his field-goal percentage dropped slightly (88.9 percent in 2011 to 87.1 percent in 2012).
But, the number of field goals from 40 yards or longer were significantly more last season compared to the year prior (13 to six), so expect him to be rock-solid in 2013.
In terms of punting, the signing of undrafted free agent Brad Wing was a noteworthy move by Kelly, but it doesn't seem as if it'll pan out.
That's not a good start, and if he doesn't pass the test and make the team, it appears fellow former-LSU Tiger booter Donnie Jones will own the starting role.
Wing was activated from the non-football injury list according to Reuben Frank of CSNPhilly.com.