The NFL preseason is coming to a close. Starting this coming Thursday, teams will be playing games that count.
By 6 pm today, each team has to reduce its roster to 53 players. While many players (whether they're proved commodities or first day draft picks) have secure their spots weeks ago, there are many decisions to be made regarding guys who weren't given much of a chance a month ago.
Who will the Philadelphia Eagles keep? Who has a good chance to go from being a long shot to a Pro Bowler?
At first there were four players I felt the Eagles couldn't afford to send packing, but now defensive end Jason Babin re-did his contract with the team I've reduced it to three.
Not only did Babin deserve a roster spot, he deserves a chance to start opposite Trent Cole. He's shown more of why he was once a first round pick rather than why he was available to sign with his fourth team.
There are three other players who not only have the ability to contribute immediately, but they have tremendous upsides and will only get better as they get further acclimated to playing at the NFL level.
1. Eldra Buckley-RB
With Brian Westbrook and LeSean McCoy in front of him, Buckley likely wouldn't get many touches. But, Buckley brings a different dimension in addition to showing he can fit into the Eagles style of offense. He's more of a power runner who has the ability to get those tough yards that cost the Birds a few games last season.
2. Brandon Gibson-WR
What caused Gibson to drop to the sixth round, I'll probably never know nor will I care. I'm just glad the Eagles had the chance to acquire him. He's a sharp route runner with a high football IQ and great hands. For those who question being a low round pick, remember that both T.J. Houshmandzadeh(Seattle) and Marques Colston(New Orleans) were seventh round picks.
3. Moise Fokou-LB
You can't judge Fokou for his play as a middle linebacker with the first team. He's a rookie who's never played the position before. What stands out is that he plays with a passion that can't be coached. What will be addressed is the mental mistakes he's committed. It won't be overnight, but once he fixes that he'll be dangerous for opposing offenses.