Philadelphia Eagles Training Camp Preview
The Philadelphia Eagles kick off their 18-day Training Camp on Tuesday, July 27.
The Eagles' roster going in to training camp is loaded with young, talented players at every position, so I have broken down every position to see who should make the team, and what players to look out for.
Kevin Kolb is going to partake in his first full training camp as the Philadelphia Eagles starting quarterback.
After three years on the bench, the mature and accurate field general has learned from one of the best in franchise history in Donovan McNabb. But, all good things must come to an end, and McNabb is now a Washington Redskin.
The quarterbacks on this year’s training camp roster are Kevin Kolb, the Eagles troubled backup Michael Vick, and fourth-round pick Mike Kafka.
Due to the fact that there are no other quarterbacks on the roster at this time, all three players appear to have security for their positions and know their roles for this upcoming season.
Continuing with the theme of youth, the Eagles released their longtime starting running back and Philadelphia icon, Brian Westbrook.
The ball will now fall into the hands of second year-player LeSean McCoy and recently signed Mike Bell. The tandem backs should get a handful of the carries this season, but you can’t leave out Leonard Weaver, the All-Pro fullback.
Behind McCoy, Bell, and Weaver, the competition is deep with many players fighting for spots. Last year’s third-string halfback, Eldra Buckley, will compete with sixth-round pick out of LSU Charles Scott, Canadian League Rookie of the Year, Martell Mallett, and FB Dwayne Wright.
In the end, my prediction is the Eagles hold onto the three obvious choices and Charles Scott.
The Philadelphia Eagles are giving first year quarterback Kevin Kolb some weapons, especially in the wide receiver category.
DeSean Jackson, the All-Pro wide out who is entering his third year in the NFL, is an exciting No. 1 option and a great deep ball threat. Second-year stud Jeremy Maclin is entering this season after finishing the previous season with a bang.
Those two, plus an extremely consistent Jason Avant, make for one of the strongest wide receiving core in the league. Add fifth-round draft pick Riley Cooper to that mix, you have a balanced four-prong attack.
The players expected to compete for the fifth spot on the depth chart are Hank Baskett, who was brought back by the Eagles after going to the Colts for a year, undrafted free agent Blue Cooper, and Penn State graduate Jordan Norwood, who spent most of last year on the Eagles' practice squad.
Another strong point of the Eagles roster is their wide variety of versatile tight ends.
The talented and underrated Brent Celek should build off his breakout season last year, especially since Celek is Kevin Kolb’s favorite target, as Kolb threw to Celek for 104 yards in both games that Kolb started, against the Saints and Chiefs respectively.
Cornelius Ingram, last year’s fifth-round pick, is coming off an ACL tear, and when healthy, can be very lethal as a receiver. Leading Florida in receiving yards his junior season, his draft stock fell after missing his entire senior season due to a knee injury.
Clay Harbor should add versatility to the depth chart as a third tight end. He led Missouri State in receiving yards in his final season, and at 6'3", 243 pounds, he has experience at both tight end and the fullback position.
The Eagles have at least three players on the offensive line that should should be just fine: Left guard Todd Herremans, left tackle All-Pro Jason Peters, and right tackle Winston Justice.
There are two huge question marks at right guard, where Stacey Andrews will most likely start. Andrews signed a monstrous six-year deal last season, but had it re-structured due to lack of production.
The other question mark is at center. Arguably the best player on the line, Jamaal Jackson, may miss some time in the beginning of the season, so Nick Cole will probably hold the spot. Nick Cole started the last two games of the year last season at center, and was demolished by Jay Ratliff and the rest of the Cowboys D-line.
At depth, there will be center/guard Mike McGlynn, massive guard Max Jean-Giles, and guard/tackle Fenuki Tupou, who is going into this season with a year of development under his belt and an attitude eager to prove he has what it takes to start, or even play, for that matter.
Center A.Q Shipley, guard Greg Isdaner, tackle King Dunlap, rookie guard Zipp Duncan, and Austin Howard will battle it out for the final spots on the roster.
The Eagles have many players going out for the D-line roster spots, so competition here will be heavy.
The starting D-line, as of now, looks the same as last season, with Trent Cole on the right, Mike Patterson and Broderick Bunkley in the middle, and Jaqua Parker on the left.
The depth seems outstanding, with seven legitimate options to make the team.
The obvious will make it: Backup DT Antonio Dixon, high draft picks Brandon Graham (13th overall) and Daniel T’eo-Nesheim (third round). Also, Ricky Sapp will make the squad for certain, whether it be on the end or at linebacker. Darryl Tapp, a DE acquired from the Seattle Seahawks this offseason, should make the team as well, considering that he is talented and is now in the correct system to suit his strengths.
The final spot will come down to a battle between sixth-round pick DT Jeff Owens and fourth-year DT Trevor Laws, who has been a disappointment since he was drafted as a highly-touted rookie.
Expect Laws to get the hammer here, as Owens makes the team.
The linebackers on this year’s squad should have a huge leg up on last year’s core.
Last season, the linebackers were highly ineffective, as there was a combination of career backups and inexperienced rookies.
This season, they have two real starters, one of them being Ernie Sims, the Lions ninth-overall pick in 2006 (and team captain), to start at the weak-side linebacker. Sims has yet to record a season with fewer than 100 tackles.
In the middle, there's a potential stud who missed last season with a knee injury in Stewart Bradley. He showed serious promise by anchoring the defense before getting seriously injured.
On the strong side, you will most likely have Moise Fokou, the second-year player who really put on a strong performance last season in a surprise starting role. The problem with Fokou is, at 6'1", 233 pounds, he is undersized to play the strong side. However, his determination and heart make up for that, as he showed us last season.
To back that core up, you will have quite a few talented players going out for a spot. Former starter and underrated player Akeem Jordan is probably the only lock on this team as a backup. Veterans Omar Gaither and Alex Hall, rookies Jamar Chaney and Keenan Clayton, and Joe Mays will have a serious competition for the right to play on the Philadelphia Eagles next season.
In my opinion, the secondary for this 2010 Philadelphia Eagles team is weak and lacks some true starting talent, especially at the right cornerback position.
After trading away Sheldon Brown, a true warrior and professional to the game, you have many nickel and dime corners, but no true starter. Ellis Hobbs will have the advantage in the race to start opposite All-Pro Asante Samuel, but don’t count out Joselio Hanson, or even my personal favorite, Dmitri Patterson.
Rookie Trevard Lindley, who has been compared to Asante Samuel in the sense of being a ball hawk but lacking tackling skills, should add depth along with second-year player Macho Harris, who is making the conversion from safety to corner. Those six players are the favorites to win jobs, as there is little competition behind them.
At safety, you have Quintin Mikell as you’re strong safety, and second-round pick Nate Allen is your leader for starting free safety.
Allen is best known as the “McNabb pick," and was a solid second-round draft choice who should make an impact right away. After Marlin Jackson went down with a knee injury, there is a lack of depth here with veteran disappointment Quintin Demps, rookie Kurt Coleman, and undrafted free agent Ryan Hamilton.
Not much going on here, but depend on the first four named to be the players to make it, with Macho Harris playing corner and safety.
Players To Watch
For each position, here is a list of players to watch who could be sleepers to make the team.
QB - Keep an eye on Michael Vick this camp. He is coming into camp in terrific shape, and according to some eagles personnel, he looks like the old Michael Vick. If so, he may take on a more critical role for this season.
RB - Look out for Canadian League Rookie of the Year Martell Mallett. Mallett led the Canadian league in rushing. He is a longshot to make it, but I wouldn’t count him out yet.
WR - At 5'8" and 187 pounds, Chad Hall doesn’t have the NFL body most teams are looking for. But if you want speed and a good return man, look no further. Chad Hall set every receiving record and returning record with the Air Force before going off for two years to serve our country. Not only can he possibly make this team, but he deserves everyone’s respect for giving up part of his career in football to serve this country.
TE - Cornelius Ingram, an athletic tight end, is due to make his return this season, and could make a huge impact. It will be interesting to see what kind of shape he’s in and if he is still that same player we saw in his junior season at Florida. However, two years away from football is a lot, so he may be rusty throughout training camp.
OL - The center competition will be heated, but I’m looking forward to watching Stacey Andrews this camp to see if he can really handle taking on the starting right guard role.
DL - Look for how Brandon Graham (assuming he signs his contract) progresses in an NFL system. Rookie defensive ends are notorious for a lack of impact in their rookie season, but Graham has a relentless motor and will do whatever he can to get to the QB.
LB - Moise Fokou will probably be the starting strong-side linebacker this year, so look for him in training camp to see what impact he can make against the run and covering the tight end.
Secondary - Second-round pick Nate Allen seems to be mature enough to take on the starting free safety role. Let’s see if he’s able to handle the pressure of starting for day one and if he can pick up the system quickly.