Philadelphia Eagles Defense: Will Any Birds Fly To The 2010 Pro Bowl?
Earlier this week, I wrote a piece along the same lines as this one, where I made my predictions as to which player on the Philadelphia Eagles offense would make the trip to the 2010 Pro Bowl.
This piece will be about the defense, which is going to be a little bit tougher due to the amount of question marks surrounding them and all the new faces to the team.
As in the last article, I will cover every position but will include the entire defensive line in one slide rather than dedicating a spot for each position there, and will also only be for a starting position in the Pro Bowl.
If all the players who I think will have the best chance to make the 2010 Pro Bowl roster can make it through the season without sustaining a serious injury, the Eagles have a few players who should make the trip!
Lets begin and I hope you all enjoy!
In an attempt to aid two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Trent Cole, the Philadelphia Eagles have invested a sound amount of time acquiring talent across the line.
It is highly anticipated that first-round draft pick DE Brandon Graham has the potential of becoming a solid complement to Cole and depending on how good he is — it could have a ripple effect across the entire line.
There are also the other players the Eagles picked up like Darryl Tapp and Daniel Teo-Nesheim who are also strong candidates for a good amount of playing time this season.
The key for the defensive line is increased production from the Defensive tackle position.
The Eagles need more of a push from both Brodrick Bunkley and Mike Patterson, who played admirably in 2009 compared to prior years.
If the front four can get in the backfield on a consistant basis, the defense will benefit.
Potential for Pro Bowl: DE Trent Cole
The Eagles cornerback position also has a couple of questions heading into training camp .
Three-time Pro Bowl nominee Asante Samuel has the left cornerback position on lockdown and also leads the league in INTs since 2006 with 29.
However, his tackling (or lack of) during the 2009 season has been severely scrutinized this past offseason.
Still, Samuel has been a perennial Pro Bowler since 2006 more for his ability to ramsack a play in the air rather than his tackling.
The second question mark comes on the opposite side of Samuel. Actually, there are a couple of questions we will all find answers to in the coming weeks.
First, who will win the starting RCB job?
Many expect Ellis Hobbs will win the job and be reaquinted with Samuel, and rightfully so, as he is a proven talent but he will be forced to prove he has fully recovered from his 2009 neck injury.
He'll also have a player who is looking to make his mark in the NFL at CB in Macho Harris.
Harris has been openly vocal this past offseason about relishing the possibility of returning to his natural position.
Potential for Pro Bowl: Asante Samuel (fourth consecutive season)
The Eagles saw their share of bumps and bruises in 2009, however, Stewart Bradley's injury prior to the start of the season may have been the biggest blow.
If Eagles fans are looking for a replacement to safety Brian Dawkins vocal leadership and tenacity, look no further than Bradley.
To say having Bradley not in the mix in 2009 is why the Eagles defense struggled during run plays is an accurate assessment — Bradley has a keen sense of knowing where the ball is.
Having him back on the field means the Birds' defensive has their captain back in uniform and has been forced to wait an entire season to hit someone.
The coaches have like what they've seen in the teams OTAs and based off some recent Facebook comments, he's ready for the 2010 season to start now!
With that said, I would expect nothing less than a fiery mentality from him once he hits his playground every Sunday.
He'll be joined by newly acquired Ernie Sims at the weakside LB WILL and second-year man Moise Fokou manning the strongside.
The Eagles made the smart move to acquire another hard nosed linebacker before the start of the season rather than see what they have and then pull a repeat of 2009 and wait for the trade deadline.
I do believe though that the Eagles are going to test their depth, and test Fokou during training camp to make sure the best talent is on the field once the season gets underway.
Overall, the Eagles look to be in a pretty solid situation at LB heading into training camp, and if the they can remain healthy they could be a destructive trio.
Potential for Pro Bowl: Stewart Bradley
One of new DB coach Dick Jauron's first priorities in training camp is to get second-round draft pick, safety Nate Allen, is caught up to speed to ensure he is ready for the start of the season.
Allen is expected to become the starter at free safety to finally seal the wound left by Brian Dawkins after the 2008 season.
Many fans argue that the Eagles should have moved up in the draft like they did to acquire a top tier rookie safety named Earl Thomas, who was still available when the Eagles were on the clock.
However, Allen was a very sound player during his college tenure, and if he can translate those skills, combined with what coach Jauron will teach him, he could very well become the next feared safety in the NFL.
Opposite at the strong safety, the Eagles have Quintin Mikell returning from a fantastic 2009 campaign.
I sincerely believe that Mikell was close to becoming a 2009 Pro Bowl nominee, but there was more glamorous names out there like Adrian Wilson.
Mikell's destiny is in his own hands right now and if he can come and prove he has developed an ability to consistently be around the ball, he could find his way to the promise land.
Unfortunately, I'm a realist and I don't see the Birds sending a safety to the 2010 Pro Bowl.
In Conclusion: More of the Same!
The 2010 Philadelphia Eagles will hopefully return to be a dominating one, like the days of Brian Dawkins, Lito Sheppard, and Sheldon Brown, and they will be tested every week that is for sure.
However, when it comes to who I think will make the Pro Bowl, I believe us Philadelphia fans will see three of their defensive players sent: DE Trent Cole, CB Asante Samuel, and MLB Stewart Bradley.
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