5 Unheralded Players Poised to Break out for Eagles in 2013
This Eagles team actually has far more depth than they have been given credit for. And with a new coaching staff bringing in a new scheme, some players could be given opportunities to stand out and thrive.
Here are five unheralded players who are poised to break out in 2013, despite the lack of media attention.
1. Jason Avant
Jason Avant has quietly had a dominant training camp and has done nothing but make plays this offseason.
In camp, he showed himself to be a reliable target for any of the quarterbacks throwing towards him, according to Philly.com's Jimmy Kempski, and has consistently come down with miraculous catches. His performance in the preseason has also been solid.
With the injury to Jeremy Maclin, Avant could see more opportunities in the passing game. He is still one of the better slot receivers in the game and has hands as good as anyone's. Don't be surprised if he has a breakout season.
2. Chris Polk
While LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown both look poised to have outstanding 2013 seasons, don't count out Chris Polk.
Polk has always been an excellent option in short-yardage situations, but he has shown improved quickness and explosiveness in training camp, according to the Star Ledger's Jordan Raanan, and in the preseason.
McCoy and Brown will still dominate the carries, but Polk could be useful as a situational player, perhaps in the red zone or in short-yardage situations.
3. Bradley Fletcher
Even though Bradley Fletcher has not caught much media attention through his training camp play so far, he has looked excellent in the preseason. And given his history in St. Louis, expect Fletcher to soon become one of the most consistent players on the Eagles defense.
Fletcher has shown himself to be a reliable tackler and excellent in coverage. He's not a shutdown corner, but he doesn't make many mistakes and will rarely blow assignments.
Expect Fletcher to have an excellent 2013 season and significantly improve the Eagles passing defense.
4. Mychal Kendricks
Last season, the best linebacker on the team was DeMeco Ryans. This year, it could be Kendricks' time to shine.
The second-year inside linebacker has played remarkably so far, showing impressive blitzing ability and good coverage, according to Jimmy Kempski of Philly.com.
If used correctly, a player like Kendricks, possessing that much speed, could be a star in the making.
5. Zach Ertz
With how poorly Brent Celek has played this offseason—being a dropping machine in training camp from my personal observations there—it would not be too surprising if Ertz was named the starting tight end.
But Ertz hasn't just stood out simply due to comparison. He has so far lived up to the hype created when Kelly selected him in the second round.
He has shown himself to be a reliable receiving target with solid route running and hands. Additionally, Ertz's blocking will likely improve as Eagles tight end coach Ted Williams believes that he has excellent talent to be a blocker, according to the Eagles' official website.
He may very well pass Celek on the depth chart, especially if Celek's struggles continue.
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