Philadelphia Eagles: Five Wounded Players Who Will Be Ready in 2011
The NFC East Champion Philadelphia Eagles had 10 players on Injured Reserve this season, but that did not stop them from posting an impressive 10-win season.
Some players on the IR-list will come back strong and help the Eagles become a Super Bowl contender...hopefully.
Out of the 10 on IR, five were opening day starters. The Eagles had to show off their "depth" this season, which ultimately cost them.
So, here are five injured players that can impact the Eagles next season:
5. Marlin Jackson
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Man, what a career Marlin Jackson could have had if he just stayed healthy.
Jackson is big at 6' 200 pounds, but can fly over the field. He can hit like a safety and cover like a cornerback.
I personally loved the Eagles signing of Jackson last offseason. As long as he stayed healthy, I knew he would be a difference-maker on defense.
Of course, Jackson got injured. If he does return to the Eagles and remains healthy, maybe he could assume the role of Right Cornerback across from Asante Samuel.
4. Ricky Sapp
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Many draft experts thought Sapp could make a difference rushing the passer.
Most even had him going in Round 2, but he struggled during his final season at Clemson, dramatically killing his draft stock.
The Eagles got a steal with Sapp as a fifth-round pick.
Now, with the accomplished defensive line coach, Jim Washburn, on the staff, look for Sapp to become a force as a situational pass-rusher. Washburn may be the perfect guy to motivate Sapp to play up-to-par like he did in his junior year.
Coming out of the draft, I though Sapp would be a third or fourth-round pick, and I would not have been bothered even if the Eagles selected him in the third round, instead of Daniel Teo-Nesheim, a.k.a. Chris Gocong.
At 6'5" and 250 lbs, he is still able to run the 40-yard-dash in 4.65 seconds.
3. Jamaal Jackson
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I always though Jammal Jackson at center was a little bit overrated.
WOW, was I wrong.
Since Jamaal Jackson's injury against the Broncos last year, this Eagles offensive line has played poorly. Though Mike McGlynn performed admirably at Center this season, he may be best suited to play Guard.
Jackson showed he completed and led this offensive line.
If the Eagles miss out on Logan Mankins or a couple of other guards in free agency, they can still move McGlynn out to guard, and put Jamaal Jackson where he belongs.
2. Nate Allen
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Nate Allen is a rangy player that has good enough speed to cover the whole field.
Though he did have three interceptions in his short rookie season, two balls were thrown directly at him. Allen might lack exceptional ballhawking and playmaking abilities, but his third interception showed why he was drafted so highly by the Eagles.
Allen also struggled defending the running game, however. He was bulldozed a couple of times and was sometimes even caught out of position.
For the Eagles defense to do well next season, Allen must begin to fulfill his obvious potential.
1. Brandon Graham
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Hopefully, Defensive End Brandon Graham can make a full recovery from his torn ACL.
Graham has to fight to win a starting job though, something he did not do last season when he was pretty much given the position.
Initially, Graham performed like an undersized DE, outmatched by the offensive lineman. Later in the year, Graham began to show why he was the 13th overall pick in the draft.
When he played well, he provided a good pass-rush and was a perfect complement to Trent Cole.
Without Graham Graham in the lineup, Cole struggled mightily.
If healthy, Graham could improve with the guidance of Jim Washburn, and help to mold the Eagles into legitimate Super Bowl contenders.