When the Eagles drafted wide receiver Jeremy Maclin in the first round and running back LeSean McCoy in the second round this past April, they knew they were getting two players with the potential to add an explosive element to the offense.
What they were unsure of is how quick these rookies would adapt to the higher-paced NFL speed of play while learning a new, complex offensive scheme.
If mini-camp, training camp, and the first two preseason games are any indication, these two playmakers will make instant contributions on field this season.
McCoy, seemingly a Brian Westbrook clone, has shown a combination of shiftiness and power running styles as well as the pass-catching ability that makes Westbrook such a dual threat out of the backfield.
Perhaps most important, and seldom seen so quickly from a rookie, has been McCoy’s blitz-pickup and blocking ability. He has shown not only willingness, but a capability, of stonewalling opposing defenders attempting to get to the quarterback.
It is clear he will be the backup to Westbrook, and in the event of injury, he can capably step in as the starter.
Maclin, projected by some to be a top ten overall pick, fell to 19th overall. Much like sophomore wide-out DeSean Jackson, speed is Maclin’s game and he demonstrated it with several catch and run receptions in the first preseason game this summer.
While he remains a work in progress on special teams in terms of kickoff and punt returns, his field stretching ability gives the Eagles multiple down field threats that opposing teams have to worry about at all times.
How the Eagles implement Maclin in this offense is something that many Eagles fans are eager to find out.
Perhaps overshadowed by Maclin and McCoy has been the impressive preseasons being had by other rookies:
Rookie safety Macho Harris has been pushing Quintin Demps for the starting spot, even getting some first team reps in practice. It will be interesting to see how both play in the final two preseason games.
While wide receiver seems set with DeSean Jackson, Maclin, Jason Avant and Kevin Curtis locks plus Reggie Brown and Hank Baskett decent bets to make the squad, rookie sixth-round pick Brandon Gibson has impressed with his hands and special teams play and scored a touchdown already this preseason.
At the very least he will be a practice squad player barring any surprises or getting picked up by another team.
Tight ends Rob Myers and Eugene Bright are in contention for a roster spot, with Myers the heavy favorite at this point.
Linebacker Moises Fokou is in the picture for a backup linebacking spot after a strong preseason, competing with veteran Matt Wilhelm, formerly of the San Diego Chargers, as well as Tank Daniels and Tracy White.
Offensive lineman Fenuki Tupou and Paul Fanaika and safety Reshard Langford have worked hard on a deep and talented team and figure to be considered for the practice squad with the possibility of moving up with injury.