There is a lot of action going on during the Philadelphia Eagles first mini-camp. The defensive line was hard at work today, rookie Brandon Graham, who was partnered with Darryl Tapp, was having orders barked in his direction by line coach Rory Segrest.
As I've already covered in a previous article, which you can view here, http://bleacherreport.com/articles/385767-philadelphia-eagles-ranking-the-2010-training-camp-roster-battles , there will be massive battles for roster spots once camp is underway.
The departure of CB Sheldon Brown has created an opportunity for one young man to elevate his game into a starting role.
There are plenty of names in the mix, but who will prove to be above the rest?
Currently, looking at the roster I see three names that really stand out and a few sleepers that could open some eyes in training camp.
The three immediate players are as follows:
Ellis Hobbs: 5'9", 195 lbs
Hobbs was a third round draft choice of the New England Patriots in 2005 where he played in nickel and dime situations for most of his time with the AFC East powerhouse.
Ellis came to Philadelphia as a 2009 draft day trade and is a former teammate of starting CB Asante Samuel with the Patriots. As an Eagle, Hobbs has played primarily on special teams as the Eagles kickoff returner but has seen some action as a CB as well with the birds.
Coming from the New England Patriots, Hobbs brings veteran leadership and a winning mentality to the Eagles franchise, both are qualities that Andy Reid thrives on.
Does Hobbs have enough talent to be a legitimate starting CB in the NFL and further, will the chemistry built between he and Asante Samuel during their time as members of the Patriots become a benefit for him here in Philly?
It appears as though Ellis is the man to beat in training camp if anyone wants to become a starter but there is the man listed below who could prove me wrong.
Marlin Jackon: 6'0", 196 lbs
The Philadelphia Eagles acquired a 2005 first round draft choice of the Indianapolis Colts in Marlin Jackson.
He is listed as a safety on the Eagles website but Marlin has ample time playing at the CB position as well—he's a double threat talent for defensive coordinator Sean McDermott.
In 2007 Jackson started all 16 games for the Colts manning the right cornerback position. He posted career numbers in 2007 recording 112 tackles while also notching one forced fumble, fumble recovery, and INT and also posted a half of a sack.
If you can remember though, it was 2007 that the Colts ranked second in the NFL in pass defense allowing only 173 yards per game.
Marlin Jackson is another player who brings a winning mentality and vet experience to the Eagles as he was previously a member of the Indianapolis Colts.
If he has fully recovered from his knee injuries and can prove to remain durable, Jackson should be looked at as a top prospect to be a starter in 2010.
Victor "Macho" Harris: 6'0", 200 lbs
Macho Harris was a Philadelphia Eagle 2009 fifth round draft choice and was immediately brought in to compete with Quintin Demps for the starting safety job—and won!
He did split his time with Sean Jones, who was just released after only one season with the team, and Macho played adequately for a rookie CB being thrust into a safety position, which is quite possibly the hardest position to learn on defense.
He was also the first rookie to start at safety since 1983 when Wes Hopkins was the safety for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Not only that but he was coached by a rookie defensive coordinator Sean McDermott after he was catapolted into his job after the passing of the late (and great) Jim Johnson.
Victor was a 2008 All-America honoree by the Sporting News and a two time first team All-ACC member in the 2007-08 seasons.
He recorded 15 INTs, four of which he returned for six, registered 128 tackles, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery during his college career at Virginia Tech—he also defended 22 passes and notched a blocked kick.
Eagles fans should not judge Machos' abilities from his 2009 campaign. He was a CB by nature who has some minor details in his game to improve on but he too could really open some eyes in camp and prove worthy of a starting job as a cornerback.
Sleepers to watch:
There are a few players on the Eagles roster that even though they might not be starting along side of Asante Samuel, they could really push to see signifigant playing time in 2010.
The battle for the nickel and dime formation spots will also be an intruiging scenario to watch unfold. The following players are the sleepers in my opinion, I am not including Joselio Hanson because he is the man to beat in camp for these roster spots.
Four players jump out at me, one an Eagle veteran and three are rookies, one drafted and the others went undrafted.
Dimitri Patterson: 5'10", 190 lbs - 2005 rookie RFA of the Washing/acquired 2009 FA
Trevard Lindley: 5'11", 183 lbs - 2010 fourth round draft pick of the Eagles
Devin Ross: 5'10", 183 lbs - 2010 RFA
David Pender: 6'0", 180 lbs - 2010 RFA