Welcome The New Eagles: Darryl Tapp, Marlin Jackson, Mike Bell and More

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Welcome The New Eagles: Darryl Tapp, Marlin Jackson, Mike Bell and More

The Eagles offseason has been marked by a salvo of clearing big contracts amongst aging veterans that play marginal roles. There has been a much greater volume of players on the way-out then players on the way-in.

But the Eagles have signed some interesting talent.

They may not be the list of the marquee names that topped the very thin pool of 2010 NFL free agency, but they do represent a youthful veteran presence with great potential and economical price tags.

So these new recruits don't exactly get your blood pumping with excitement yet, but there is a hint of a diamond in the rough quality with each of them and I'm sure Andy Reid is confident that at least one of them will step up and play a big role.

It's time to take a look at what these players have done, get an idea of what they can do and make an early prediction on what they will do.

To view the article with clean view player stats: CLICK HERE 

#91 | DE | Darryl Tapp | 6'1" 270 | 25 | Virginia Tech

 

 

 

 

Darryl Tapp was acquired by trade with the Seattle Seahawks. The Eagles surrendered Chris Clemons and a 2010 fourth round draft pick for his services.

Tapp fell out of favor and into a defensive end rotation, in Seattle, but saw plenty of playing time. A former second round draft pick, Tapp will have an opportunity to prove he earned that selection in 2010. 

Year Starts Tackles Sacks PassDfnsd Intercept ForceFum
2009
2008
2007
2006
5
11
16
0
49
55
49
33
2.5
5.5
7
3
3
0
8
0
0
0
1
1
0
4
3
1

Position(s) Played: Darryl Tapp started and rotated at right defensive end in Seattle. He's well recognized for the fire and energy he brings with his play.

The Eagles Plan: The Eagles acquired Tapp to compete for a three-down job at left defensive end. He's a player that should be hitting his prime right now and most importantly, he has a fairly clean injury history.

"Darryl is a very intense football player..." said Reid. "He plays very hard every snap. He's smart, he's a good person and he'll fit very well into our defensive scheme."

Outlook: The late Jimmy Johnson and newly appointed Sean McDermott have been rotating defensive ends and tackles to add pressure from the front four in passing situations.

The Eagles want Tapp or Victor Abiamiri to become the three-down defensive end that can collapse a pocket, contain the running game and get pressure on a quarterback.

"I'm an every-down defensive end," Tapp said. "Rushing the passer is fun, but you don't get the opportunity until you stop the run and that's something I pride myself on."

Tapp could be that guy. He could also be the undeniable handwriting on the wall for Abiamiri to recognize his career-need to have a break-out year. Either way, it should make for a great competition in camp and hopefully a two-deep situation at the position.

Could Chirs Gocong have an opportunity to compete at LDE?

Gocong has been viewed as a tweener, a little bit undersized to play defensive end in the NFL and Abiamiri hasn't been able to stay healthy, but don't rule them out.

Tapp is proven stout at defensive end, he's been healthy and he gets in the backfield. He needs to show that he can handle the position from the left side of the line.

Tapp Said, "I'm a high-effort guy. That's the way we were trained at Virginia Tech..." 

I have read about an obscure and unofficial statistic that puts Tapp at top five in the league in quarterback hits (I have seen him listed as high as second overall in that category). If he can take advantage of the double teams on Cole (also top five on the listas high as first) he could be poised for a break-out season.

"Darryl is an up-and-coming player in this league...", said Howie Roseman, "...we believe he'll be a good addition to our defensive line."

I think Tapp might be on a similar level as Ray Edwards. For Chris Clemons and Lito Sheppard (source of the fourth round pick traded) instead of a first round pick and an eight million dollar gambleI'm really starting to like this deal.

The Eagles gave Tapp a three year contract extension and have invested enough to secure him a position on the team in 2010.

#28 | DB | Marlin Jackson | 6'0" 195 | 26 | Michigan

 

 

 

 

Marlin Jackson was signed as an unrestricted free agent after not being tendered by the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts started two rookie cornerbacks in 2009 while Jackson, a former first round draft pick, missed most of the season with his second ACL injury.

Jackson has only managed one complete season since entering the league when he started at cornerback.

Year Starts Tackles Sacks PassDfnsd Intercept ForceFum
2009
2008
2007
2006
2005
0
7
16
8
1
10
47
87
82
58
0
0
.5
0
0
1
1
4
4
2
1
0
1
1
1
0
1
1
0
0

Position(s) Played: Marlin Jackson was drafted and began his career as a cornerback, but amidst his plague of injuries he filled-in and started as a safety.on occasion. 

"I started eight games at free safety for the Colts...", said Marlin, "...I've been a nickel back and I've always been a physical corner"

"... I feel that I bring a lot to the free safety position as far as being able to have some coverage ability and being able to blitz and being able to tackle well."

The Eagles Plan: The Eagles free safety and possibly nickel back duties are an open competition that Jackson appears to figure into.

Andy Reid offered the following statement, "He has shown an ability to play both the safety and the cornerback position.”

Outlook: With an ACL injury to each knee, Jackson must have lost something. The question is how much? He has recently been under the knife and the historic odds are against him.

Transitioning to safety will allow him to be productive if he has lost no more than half of a step from his cornerback quickness and speed.

Hopefully he's right there.

Still, every year medical procedures are improved upon and Jackson is young enough to be a quick healer. At the pinnacle of his game, he was a stand-out.

“We are happy to add a talented and versatile defensive back in Marlin Jackson,” said Andy Reid. “He played an important role with the Colts defense..."

It stands to reason that Jackson could do something with this team, but his contract is not such as to guarantee him a roster spot. His size suits a free safety and the Eagles have a need for competition at that positionperhaps more than any other.

But he's going to have to prove he can still play.

Roseman said this about Marlin, "...He is a big, physical defensive back who, I believe, will fit well into our aggressive defensive scheme."

Marlin Jackson may unofficially hold the top slot on the depth chart at free safety now, but until the season starts it means very little. He will have to battle with Macho Harris, Quintin Demps and possibly a rookie prospect to earn the job.

He is a physical player and could be versatile enough to transition or add depth and youth to the strong safety position as well.

#00 | RB | Mike Bell | 6'0" 225 | 26 | Arizona

 

 

 

 

Mike Bell is not yet officially an Eagle, but the Saints do not appear interested in matching the Eagles' offer sheet. 

He played a significant role in the early season exploits of the Saints win streak, filling in for an injured Pierre Thomas. He resumed his position in a stacked depth chart when Thomas returned.

Year Starts Rush Yrds Avg TD Rec Yrds TD
2009
2008
2007
2006
3
0
0
3
654
42
3
677
3.8
3.2
0.5
4.3
5
1
0
8
12
14
7
158
0
0
0
0

Position(s) Played: Mike Bell played running back for the Broncos in Mike Shanahan's system from 2006 to 2007. He joined the Saints in 2008 with the same capacity.

The Eagles Plan: The Eagles are looking for a change of pace back to complement McCoy and handle the ball in short yardage. The running backs can clearly benefit from veteran experience.

Outlook: The offer sheet to Mike Bell doesn't lead me to believe he is guaranteed a spot on this roster by any means. 

He's a big, tough runner that the Eagles could use in short yardage and as a change of pace back along with Leonard Weaver. Bell could also play a role on special teams.

Bell said when asked about his expectations in Philadelphia, "...whether that's as a power runner, a pass catcher, a special teamer, all of the above or more.

I think Bell can stay healthy and serve this team as a solid role player. I'm not as excited about his overall play as a running back, but he is serviceable at the least and could play big.

If the Eagles draft a running back, Bell will likely battle for a job with Eldra Buckley and Martel Mallet. Still, I could see the Eagles breaking their standard running back depth to accommodate the special teams contributions of both Bell and Buckley while Mallet's abilities in the NFL remain unknown.

#84 | WR | Hank Baskett | 6'4" 220 | 27 | New Mexico

 

 

 

 

Hank Baskett's return follows his least productive season. He was signed as a free agent after the Colts decided not to tender him. 

Despite having been a productive role player with the Eagles, the Colts found they had no shortage of talent at receiver and the muffed onside-kick in the Super Bowl may have sealed his walking papers from Indy.

Year Starts Rec Rec Yards TD Avg Long
2009
2008
2007
2006
0
6
0
5
5
33
16
22
34
440
142
464
0
3
1
2
6.7
13.3
8.9
21.1
9
90, 85
25
89

Position(s) Played: Baskett has been a low depth chart receiver throughout his career. He has also contributed in the special teams game.

Baskett says, "Special teams is something that's me, I'm always going to do that..."

The Eagles Plan: The Eagles will put Baskett in the mix for a job behind the trio of Jackson, Maclin and Avant. He will have a competitive edge over Jordan Norwood, Dobson Collins and Chris Hall because of his proven contributions on special teams and his advanced knowledge of the offensive system.

Outlook: Everyone knows what they are getting with Hank Baskett. Some fans thought he was stiff and clumsy, while others felt the Eagles needed to find more ways to get him the ball.

"There were a couple teams who had shown some interest but my agent and I had been in contact with the Eagles pretty much since day one...", said Baskett.

Like him or not, one would be hard pressed to find a receiver with a big play history and a working knowledge of the offensive system that can be both useful as a wide receiver and on special teams.

Baskett can go up and grab a pass in the end zone. He can also shrug off a defensive back and break a play.

He's faced his shared of righteous criticism, but he's challenging players like Jordan Norwood and Dobson Collins for a job as fourth or fifth on the wide receiver's depth chart.

Howie Roseman said, "Hank adds solid depth to our wide receiving group... He is a good teammate and obviously is a positive influence in the locker room and is a high-character person. We're excited about welcoming he and his family back to the Eagles."

He's certainly not assured a place on this roster, but I think Baskett will do good things for the Eagles in 2010.

#16 | WR | Chad Hall | 5'8" 180 | 24 | Air Force

Chad Hall

 

 

 

 

 

Chad Hall is a bit of a mystery to the arm chair GM, so I decided to dig into his history a bit. He played the 'Z' or slot receiver in college, but was primarily a half back for most of his career.

One has to admire the character of a young man from one of our nations great military academies.

I have provided his statistics from Air Force.

Year RushYards Avg TD Rec Rec Yards TD
2007
2005
2006
1479
784
344
6.4
5.1
5.2
15
5
1
50
11
16
524
117
139
1
1
1

Position(s) Played: Chad Hall was a running back and slot receiver at Air Force. He also excelled as a return man.

Hall said, "...I'm in better shape (than I was two years ago). Physically, I'm stronger. I weigh more and it's all good weight.

The Eagles Plan: The Eagles will look at Chad Hall as a return man to supplant Desean Jackson's overloaded duties and entertain the idea of a special integration with the offensive unit.

Outlook: Hall's dominant skill set is founded in excellent open field running and shifty quickness. He displayed good hands at Air Force and has been compared to Danny Amendola, although he is three inches shorter.

Hall took part in a pro-day workout at Utah while serving as a second lieutenant at Hill Air Force Base in Salt Lake City.

 "His three-cone drill time was probably one of the fastest I've ever timed (6.36)...", said Anthony Patch, the Eagles' assistant director of college scouting.

There were no comments on record about his 40-yard dash.

Chad Hall may never have been an official Heisman candidate, but his stand-out senior season prompted the Academy and several other coaches in his conference to make a push for his nomination.

When being announced, the fans at Air Force would rock the stadium with chants of, "Hall for Heisman... Hall for Heisman." (to the tune of Let's Go Flyers).

The Eagles are taking Hall very seriously.

"We would not bring anyone in here unless we thought he had a legitimate shot to make the roster and make us a better football team," said Roseman.

Academy stand-outs have an excellent track record of success in the NFL.

The Affect on the Eagles Draft and Further Free Agency Plans

I don't think the Eagles game plan changes with these acquisitions, but a better case could never be made for taking a linebacker in the first round. The Eagles have done almost enough to simply select the best player available in the first two rounds of the draft without flinching, but free safety, linebacker and offensive line still remain as areas of concern. 

If the Eagles get a chance to select Sean Weatherspoon or Earl Thomas in the draft they will probably take them. There are many good looking prospects at both safety and linebacker littered throughout the draft class.

I expect the front office to sign some short-term veteran insurance policies at linebacker and possibly safety from the best of the remaining free agent pool. They could very well wait until after the draft to do so.

Final Word to the Newest Eagles

Be sure to bring your best game to this town and prepare for scrutiny. Show laziness and ineptitude to get counted out quickly. Show passion and courage to win a place in the hearts of Eagles fans. 

Welcome to Philadelphia gentlemen.

 

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More Articles by Leo Pizzini: Read Now 

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