5 Philadelphia Eagles Poised for Breakout Season in 2014
In 2013, a breakout season by Riley Cooper made up for the loss of Jeremy Maclin. Nick Foles' breakout season led the Eagles to a postseason berth in what was supposed to be a rebuilding season. Who will break out in 2014?
The Eagles have no shortage of breakout candidates this coming season. The team contains talented rookies, such as Jordan Matthews, and young players who are still improving, like Brandon Boykin. Which among them have the best chance of being the next star Eagles player?
Here's a list of five breakout candidates for the Eagles in 2014.
1. Jordan Matthews
Jordan Matthews continues to impress at practice. According to Jimmy Kempski of Philly.com, he has exhibited incredible body control and football IQ for a player of his inexperience.
He will be an interesting player to watch during training camp. If he continues to play well, he will absolutely be considered for an outside receiver position.
If Matthews is legit, he will give the Eagles one of the most complete receivers they have had since Terrell Owens in 2005. A 6'3" receiver with great hands, body control and route running is invaluable in a pass-happy NFL.
2. Nolan Carroll
Nolan Carroll is one of the most overlooked signings of the 2014 offseason. He is a solid corner who was overshadowed by Brent Grimes in Miami.
So far he has been running with the second team, but he has been impressive in practice so far. Jeff McLane of Philly.com believes he can compete for a starting corner spot come training camp.
Cary Williams was a bit of a streaky player in 2013, playing well in some games and horribly in others. Bradley Fletcher has been OK, but not great. The Eagles could use as much help at corner as possible, and competition never hurts.
3. Brandon Boykin
No list about Eagles breakout candidates is complete without Brandon Boykin. As one of the team's most athletic players, he could be given minutes at outside corner. This is especially true due to Bradley Fletcher's experience playing the slot.
Chip Kelly remarked that Boykin has stood out so far this offseason. In 2013, he nabbed six picks, all from the nickel corner spot. Imagine how many plays he could make playing outside.
The Eagles have lacked a playmaker in the secondary ever since the departure of Asante Samuel after the 2011 season. Boykin could be the man to step up this season.
4. Zach Ertz
Zach Ertz did not have the immediate rookie impact many fans expected, but he finished the season strong. In his final eight games, he recorded four touchdowns, along with a touchdown in the playoff loss against New Orleans.
He has emerged as an effective red-zone weapon. If he can improve as a blocker, he will likely take the starting tight end spot away from Brent Celek.
Kelly gushed about Ertz's versatility last offseason. 2014 could be the year he finally lives up to his hype.
5. Mychal Kendricks
Mychal Kendricks already had a bit of a breakout season in 2013. He went from 75 tackles his rookie season to 106 as a sophomore.
But somehow it just seems like Kendricks isn't done improving yet. He is too talented to be merely a role player in the NFL.
Kendricks is excellent in space, but he still struggles to get off blocks on his own. He must improve at shedding blocks if he is to take the next step toward becoming a Pro Bowl-caliber player.