When the 2010 NFL Draft dust cleared, and the anticipation of what team would pick what player was gone, the Philadelphia Eagles went on to add 14 more players to the squad as undrafted free agents (UFAs).
Players who were overlooked in the draft for any number of reasons such as injuries, personality, or simply this draft was loaded with talent—and there are only so many picks in a draft.
None of that matters anymore, sure the higher drafted players are getting paid better money, but at this point in time—everyone has the same chance to land a job with the Eagles, even if it is on the practice squad.
It is up to the individual to show he can play at this level regardless of where he was drafted!
With the list of injuries the Eagles have faced during the teams OTAs, some of these undrafted players will have a better shot of making the team, but the job won't just be handed over, they'll have to work their tails off!
Below is my list of UFAs that I think have a real shot of becoming a member of the Philadelphia Eagles 2010 squad:
David Pender, CB, Purdue ; Devin Ross, CB, Arizona
Both Pender and Ross should be drooling over Jacksons injury, while still remaining respectful and feeling Jacksons pain at the same time. After all, nobody wants to see anyone get hurt, but injuries are how stars are born in the NFL.
There was already chatter about both players having a really good chance at making the team before Jackson got injured.
As long as they both show up to training camp feeling like they still have something to prove, which they do, they should be able to land roster spots. They are both very close in stature, Pender is 6'0", 180 pounds, and Ross is 5'10", 183 pounds, so it will be interesting to see which one shows more heart in camp.
Pender seems to have the upper hand, as he is the more polished of the two players.
He was a three-year starter at Purdue, and ranks second all-time in school history with 33 pass breakups during his college career.
To round out his time as a college player, Pender registered 129 tackles, three INTs, and 33 pass breakups—which could have easily ended up as an interception.
With defensive backs Dick Jauron as his mentor, Pender could become a phenomenal weapon in a Sean McDermott defense.
Austin Howard, T, Northern Iowa
Howard is massive at 6'7" and 333 pounds. To put that in perspective, Jason Peters is 6'4", 340 pounds, but size isn't everything for an NFL tackle.
In 2007 Howard was a TE, recording 38 yards on five receptions and one TD reception, but for the most part he was a blocking tight end, which made his transition to tackle that much easier.
He started 10 games in 2009 at left tackle, anchoring a squad that ranked seventh in the nation in sacks allowed (10 sacks in 11 games).
Howard should prove to be a solid backup should Jason Peters go down for an extended period of time
Pat Simonds, WR, Colgate
All Simonds has to do is show the Eagles coaching staff that all the scouting reports that say he runs lazy routes are incorrect, and he should make the team. He has great hands and is a huge target at 6'5", 229 pounds, for QB Kevin Kolb to lob the ball to inside the 20.
He possesses good jumping skills, which comes from playing basketball, so a jump ball should be no problem for him to handle a DB with his size and strength.
In 2009, Simonds broke the 1,000 yard barrier recording 66 catches for 1,012 yards and 14 TDs. His entire college career consists of 171 receptions for 2,797 yards and 29 TDs—holy red zone threat, if he can translate those skills to his professional career.
Like I said, Simonds has a real good shot at making the team.
Ryan Hamilton, S, Vanderbilt
Hamilton is the third player out of the UFAs that will benefit from Marlin Jackson's season ending injury. He has a nice frame at 6'2", 210 pounds, and was a defensive leader with the Commodores.
In 2009, Hamilton served as a defensive co-captain after his season was cut short due to an upper chest injury. He did start the first two games of the season which extended his start streak to 34.
He traveled with his team for the remainder of the season to continue with his captain duties, and also played a coach role to the less experienced players in the unit.
Hamilton ended his college career with a total of 222 tackles (139 solo), and five INTs in 36 starts.
If he can stay healthy, this overlooked leader could very well turn out to be one of those very special undrafted players to have a successful career as an NFL athlete who could learn a lot from Jauron.
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