One Burning Question for Every Member of the Philadelphia Eagles Roster

Randy JobstSenior Analyst IAugust 8, 2012

One Burning Question for Every Member of the Philadelphia Eagles Roster

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    The Philadelphia Eagles are going to contend for a Super Bowl this season, no doubt about it. There is too much talent and too much maturity on this team for them not to. They are loaded on the offense, they are loaded on the defense and they even have couple electric return men.

    Training camp has been really competitive so far at Lehigh. There have been daily fights and new plays stepping up each day. This is what happens when you have this much depth. Everyone has to go hard every single play because the majority of the players know that their jobs aren't safe if they don't.

    Every good player in the NFL knows that there is something you can always do to improve yourself. I don't care if you're Michael Vick or Emil Igwenagu.

    Here are five burning questions on every player on the Eagles' roster.


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    Michael Vick

    Will Michael Vick limit his turnovers in 2012?

    Vick threw 14 interceptions and lost four fumbles last season. A more patient Vick, who throws the ball away when the play is dead instead of trying to make a play that isn't there, should fix this problem. Eagles fans won't believe that Michael Vick-type exists until we see him on the field.

    Mike Kafka

    Is Mike Kafka a capable backup on a playoff-caliber team?

    I can talk about his improved arm strength and his confidence in the offense all day, but until he can help the Eagles win games as a backup, this will still be a huge question. The Eagles were 1-5 last season when the backup quarterbacks started or played significant time.

    Nick Foles

    Will Nick Foles develop into a starting NFL quarterback?

    This is really the only question Eagles fans have to think about with Foles right now. He is a project at quarterback and won't play a snap this season unless both Kafka and Vick get hurt. We won't fully understand his potential until 2013 at the earliest, but preseason should at least give us a sneak preview.

    Trent Edwards

    Does Trent Edwards have any shot of stealing the backup quarterback role from Mike Kafka?

    The easy answer to this question would be no, but we have to wait until we get through a couple preseason games before we really know the answer. A couple superb games from Edwards and a couple so-so games from Kafka and anything is possible.

Running Backs

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    LeSean McCoy

    Can LeSean McCoy actually improve upon his 20-touchdown season?

    It's hard to imagine that McCoy could actually put up bigger numbers in 2012, but with a more stable offensive line, a happier DeSean Jackson and a smarter Michael Vick, anything is possible.

    Dion Lewis

    Will Dion Lewis be a worthy complement to LeSean McCoy?

    Lewis has looked spectacular this summer. First-team defenders can't cover him in the passing game and can't bring him down in the open field. Lewis is right on track to become one of the better complementary running backs in the NFL.

    Bryce Brown

    Will Bryce Brown match the hype from training camp during the regular season?

    Brown has all the talent in the world, but not much experience. He looks like he is learning how to pick up the blitz for the first time—because he is. He only played one full season in college and has just three carries in the last two years. I believe he will live up to the hype, but I don't know if he will do it this season.

    Chris Polk

    Is Chris Polk too good to cut?

    Two weeks ago, I thought Polk had no chance of making the roster. The three running backs ahead of him were too talented to beat out, and there is no way the Eagles will keep four running backs. However, Polk is running really hard against some really good defensive players, and his blitz pickup has been outstanding. This could be a case of too good to cut.


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    Stanley Havili

    Will the Eagles best fullback actually make the roster?

    This isn't such a sure thing that the team passes the football a lot more than they run it. That ratio did even out a little bit more last season, but either way, the Eagles aren't a power-running team. A good camp can help Havili out a lot, but if he doesn't wow as a lead blocker, he won't be handed a roster spot just because the Eagles should keep one fullback.

    Jeremy Stewart

    Does Jeremy Stewart have more potential as a lead blocker than Havili?

    This is the only shot Stewart has of making either the 53-man roster or the practice squad. It's a long shot, but we can't count him out until we see him on play in preseason.

Wide Receivers

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    DeSean Jackson

    Will DeSean Jackson get back to being the most dangerous receiver in football?

    Jackson had his fewest receiving yards, touchdowns and plays of 40 yards or more since his rookie season in 2008. Obviously, his contract situation played a big part. He got his new deal, now, he has to deliver on the field.

    Jeremy Maclin

    Will Jeremy Maclin finally get over the 1,000-yard mark?

    Maclin has averaged 850 yards per season in his first three years in the league, but has not reached the 1,000-yard milestone yet. He was well on pace to pass that until shoulder and hamstring injuries derailed his second half. He should be able to answer this question if he can stay healthy.

    Jason Avant

    Will Jason Avant make a bigger impact in the red zone this season?

    Avant had just five catches and one touchdown last season inside the 20-yard line. Avant is the best route-runner and has the best hands of all the Eagles receivers. This is a small receiving core that needs its best route-runner to make more plays in critical situations.

    Riley Cooper

    Will Riley Cooper be a more physical receiver in 2012?

    Cooper is a great special teams player but has been up and down as a wide receiver. At times, he is far too soft when facing man coverage. He is big enough at 6'3", 220 to be able to shield any defensive back from the ball. It remains to be seen if he will actually learn to be more physical.

    Marvin McNutt

    Is Marvin McNutt a better possession receiver than Riley Cooper?

    The biggest difference between Cooper and McNutt is their aggression toward the football. Cooper tends to wait for the ball to come to him while McNutt will cuts his man off and go up and get the football. That sounds great, but until we see it in an actual game, we won't know the answer to this question.

    Damaris Johnson

    Will Damaris Johnson be the No. 1 punt returner during the regular season?

    Johnson is listed first on the Eagles depth chart on punt returns. This means very little until he impresses in an actual game. He has the quickness to be electric as a return man. He also has plenty of experience in college at this role.

    Chad Hall

    Will Chad Hall finally become a full-time member of the Eagles?

    Hall has been in and out of the Eagles' roster for the past two seasons. He has been having a pretty good camp so far, but his upside is significantly less than that of McNutt and Johnson. Preseason will make or break his future in Philly.

    Mardy Gilyard

    Is Mardy Gilyard a polished enough receiver to earn a roster spot?

    Gilyard is a good return man. The problem for him is that he is maybe the third-best return ace on this team behind Johnson and Brandon Boykin. He has to impress with his ability to get open as a receiver if he wants to make this team.

    Jamel Hamler

    What is Jamel Hamler's ceiling?

    Jamel Hamler isn't going to make this roster—at least not this season. He has done some good things during camp. The coaches are starting to get a feel for his upside. The more potential he shows, the better has chances are of earning a spot on the practice squad.

    Elvis Akpla

    Can Elvis Akpla contribute on special teams?

    Akpla is an exciting young receiver. He lays out for everything that comes his way. He has potential to make this roster next season. Special teams will be the difference for him. If he can contribute on Bobby Apri's unit, he has a shot.

    Tiger Jones

    Does Tiger Jones belong in the NFL?

    Jones was a standout in the Arena Football league. Now, he's trying to make it in the big leagues. He won't get a lot of opportunities to impress, but he has to take full advantage of the few he gets.

    McKay Jacobson

    Will McKay Jacobson make a name for himself during preseason?

    When most Eagles fans hear the name McKay Jacobson, their first thought is probably who is McKay Jacobson. He won't get many opportunities on the football field, so he has to make plays in his limited opportunities.

    Andrew Brewer

    Will Andrew Brewer benefit from being an ex-teammate of Mike Kafka in college?

    Brewer is only on the Eagles' roster because Ron Johnson dislocated his ankle. He has a small advantage of having some experience with backup quarterback Mike Kafka. Maybe Kafka brags him up and he gets a few more snaps than he should have.

Tight Ends

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    Brent Celek

    Will Brent Celek reach the 1,000-yard mark this season?

    This really depends on the offensive line more than anything. In the past, he has been relied upon more in pass protection because of poor pass protection. The less he stays in to block, the more opportunities he will have to make plays in the passing game.

    Clay Harbor

    Will Clay Harbor contribute more in the passing game?

    Harbor is one of the best blocking tight ends in the league. He doesn't physically dominate people, but he consistently keeps his man away from the play. He has just 22 receptions in his first two seasons. Ideally, the Eagles would like to see more from him this season.

    Brett Brackett

    Is Brett Brackett a good enough blocker to earn a roster spot?

    Brackett is plenty talented enough as a receiver to make the Eagles' roster. His blocking skills are a little more up in the air. The Eagles don't keep one-dimensional players on their roster. He has to show he can be an effective blocker over the next four weeks in order to earn a spot on the roster.

    Chase Ford

    Is Chase Ford the third-best tight end on the Eagles?

    Ford is a very smooth route-runner with the athletic ability to make plays in the passing game. Like Brackett, he has to prove himself as a blocker too.

    Emil Igwenagu

    Is Emil Igwenagu a fullback or a tight end?

    Igwenagu has played both so far at camp. He played both in college. He is an effective receiver at both positions. If he can block well enough at both positions, he might just earn himself a spot on the practice squad as an emergency fill in at both spots. If he blocks really well as a fullback, he might just earn himself a full-time gig.

Offensive Tackles

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    Demetress Bell

    Can Demetress Bell be a reliable left tackle for the Eagles?

    When Jason Peters tore his Achilles tendon, it left a huge hole at left tackle. Bell is trying to fill that void. He isn't the dominant player that Peters was but is athletic enough to handle edge rushers by himself in pass protection.

    Todd Herremans

    Does Todd Herremans make the jump in 2012 from border-line Pro Bowl player to a dominant right tackle?

    Herremans was really good in 2011. He made the switch to right tackle in a very short time and did so with relative ease. He is a Pro Bowl-caliber player who is great in pass protection and is athletic enough to get upfield in the screen game.

    He has the potential to be an All-Pro right tackle. The question is will he take that next step in year two under offensive line coach Howard Mudd?

    King Dunlap

    Is King Dunlap a starting-caliber player in this league?

    I thought for sure that some team would sign Dunlap in free agency and give him a shot to earn a starting role at either tackle position. He has started at both tackle spots and also started at left guard for Evan Mathis last season as well.

    Nobody signed him until Peters was lost for the season, and the Eagles decided to re-sign Dunlap. At some point this season, someone on the line will get hurt, and Dunlap will be the first guy off the bench.

    Dennis Kelly

    Can the Eagles trust Dennis Kelly as a backup tackle this season?

    This is an important question to answer. If the Eagles get a couple injuries at tackle, would Kelly be a liability in pass protection? The Eagles won't give him a roster spot if that's the case; I don't care how much potential he has.

    He has mostly played right tackle during camp and should play there in the first preseason game. If he gives up too many sacks, the Eagles could be giving his roster spot away to someone else.

    D.J. Jones

    Will D.J. Jones outplay Dennis Kelly at right tackle?

    That's the only way Jones makes the roster. He has to prove to be a better backup option at right tackle.

    Thomas Welch

    Will Thomas Welch outplay Kelly and Jones at tackle?

    Welch has to climb over players on the depth chart to have a shot at making the roster. He is a long shot, but this is why we have a preseason—to see what these players can do in an actual game.

Offensive Guards/Centers

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    Evan Mathis

    Will Evan Mathis play at an All-Pro level for a second season?

    Mathis was one of the best guards in football last season. He consistently got a great push in the running game and was outstanding in pass protection. Last season was his breakout season at the age of 30. Can he match his success from last season?

    Danny Watkins

    Will Danny Watkins take the next step in year two?

    Watkins has an up-and-down season. He didn't start until Week 5, and when he did, he really struggled with his blocking assignments at times. He did too much thinking on the field, as he was adjusting to a new position and a new blocking scheme.

    Despite all of that, he didn't give up a single sack. This summer, he has been a dominant linemen. We should see more of that in the upcoming season.

    Jason Kelce

    Will Jason Kelce be a better run blocker in year two?

    Last season, Kelce was a 280-pound center trying to grasp the complexities of the center position in a very short time. He did very well for himself and became one of the better starting centers in the league. He struggled to get as much of a push as he did in the running game, however. If he improves as a run blocker, he should become a complete center this season.

    Julian Vandervelde

    Can Julian Vandervelde handle the center position?

    The Eagles have been trying out Vandervelde as a center during camp. They want to see if he can be a top-notch backup guard and center. There's no point in keeping a three reserve for interior line positions if one of those guards can also play center.

    Mike Gibson

    Can Mike Gibson outplay Julian Vandervelde?

    The Eagles brought in Gibson because he has starting experience at both center and guard. They want a backup lineman who can play both. Now, Gibson has to prove he can play both positions better than the Eagles' top reserve guard Vandervelde.

    Brandon Washington

    Does Brandon Washington have enough potential to earn a roster spot?

    Washington has a lot of potential as a guard, but he is still raw coming out of college. He has to show enough progression to earn a roster spot.

    Alfred McCullough

    How much progression can Alfred McCullough show during camp?

    McCullough isn't going to beat out any of these guards for a roster, and he can't play center. He has to show enough potential to be worth keeping on the practice squad this season.

    Dallas Reynolds

    Can Dallas Reynolds finally crack the Eagles' 53-man roster?

    Reynolds has spent two seasons on the Eagles' practice squad. Right now, he is the No. 2 center on the depth chart and has decent shot of making the team. He has to play near perfect during preseason to make this roster. Every missed assignment and errand snap will bring him closer to being cut once again.

    Steve Vallos

    Can Steve Vallos climb up the depth chart at center?

    Vallos is another player who can play both center and guard. Right now, he is the No. 3 center. He is behind everyone but Alfred McCullough on the interior line. He has to have a near perfect summer from here on out to make the team.

Defensive Ends

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    Jason Babin

    Can Jason Babin improve on his 18-sack total from last season?

    It's hard to imagine that Babin could do even better this season, but with a better secondary and more help around him on the line, it isn't so crazy.

    Trent Cole

    Can Trent Cole compete with Jason Babin in sacks?

    Last season, Cole had 11 sacks while Babin had 18. Cole is more of a complete defensive end but is still plenty athletic enough to get around 15 sacks this season.

    Darryl Tapp

    Does Darryl Tapp actually make this roster?

    Unless the Eagles keep six defensive ends, either Tapp, Phillip Hunt or Vinny Curry isn't going to make this roster. Curry is pretty much a look. He has way too much potential, and it would be the height of stupidity to cut a player you just drafted in the second round.

    That means Tapp will have to beat out a player with a lot of upside in Hunt. Tapp is a really good run defender, and that will be his biggest case for making the team.

    Brandon Graham

    Does Brandon Graham shake off that bust label?

    No. I think he will lift it over his head and smash it into a million pieces off the ground. He has to do it in the regular season, but he has been a start in training camp thus far.

    Vinny Curry

    How much of an impact will Vinny Curry have this season?

    Defensive end is a competitive spot on the Eagles' roster. The best five will make the team, and the best four will be active on game day. That means Curry has to bring his best each day of practice if he wants to see the field on Sundays.

    Phillip Hunt

    Does Phillip Hunt's potential outweigh Darryl Tapp's experience and current ability?

    I like to think that Hunt earns a roster spot based on what he can do now and what he will become later. He showed flashed of greatness last season and looks visibly stronger and faster this season. As long as he keeps playing hard and getting better, the Eagles will keep him over Tapp.

    Monte Taylor

    Is Monte Taylor more than just an extra pass-rusher for preseason?

    Taylor isn't a complete defensive end. He is far from it. He is best served in obvious passing downs lined up wide. That's why the Eagles brought him here. He fits in well with the scheme. He won't earn a roster spot at this crowded position, but he could get on the practice squad if he shows more than just pass rushing potential.

    Xavier Brown

    What is Xavier Brown's potential?

    I am actually curious to find this out. He is a really good athlete who should fit in well with the Wide 9. It will be interesting to see what he can do during preseason.

Defensive Tackles

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    Mike Patterson

    When will Mike Patterson be able to resume all football activities?

    Patterson is still recovering from offseason brain surgery. This is a very delicate situation. Doctors won't clear him to play until the feel confident he could withstand a hit to the head without fear of serious consequences. They could clear him tomorrow, they could clear him in November. He probably gets cleared in early September, but nothing is for certain until gets the go ahead.

    Derek Landri

    Is Derek Landri a drop off at all from Mike Patterson?

    It doesn't look that way so far. Landri has been a monster in training camp. He is becoming a real fan favorite in Philadelphia. He isn't the biggest or the fastest, but he is really fundamentally sound and plays with maximum effort on each snap. He might end up being an upgrade over Patterson by the end of the season.

    Cullen Jenkins

    How good will Cullen Jenkins be in year two in the wide-9.

    Jenkins came from a 3-4 defense as a end to a 4-3 defense as a defensive tackle in the wide-9. He also played a lot of defensive end last season. He is a really versatile player who can play anywhere on the line. He had 5.5 sacks last season, but most of that came in the first month of the season. With more help around him this season, those numbers should go up.

    Fletcher Cox

    Will Fletcher Cox make a huge impact right away?

    Cox is really impressive. He is strong, quick and uses his hands incredibly well. He is going to be an elite pass rusher in the NFL. It may not be until year two or it might be by Week 2, but it will be exciting watching him blossom in the wide-9.

    Antonio Dixon

    Does Antonio Dixon even make the roster?

    The sooner Mike Patterson comes back the more likely it is that Dixon gets cut. He is really having a bad summer. He is slow off the line and really lacks power a the point of impact. Until Patterson comes back, Dixon will be on the roster. The Eagles just don't have another player who can play nose tackle in the wide-9 outside of Landri. They need a player on that line behind Landri who can take on double teams consistnelty.

    Cedric Thornton

    Does Cedric Thornton make the roster in his second attempt.

    Thornton was really impressive as a undrafted free agent last season. He didn't make the roster but he did make the practice squad which has really helped him going into this season. He has been even more impressive as an inside pass rusher this season. He could very well earn a roster spot as the fifth defensive tackle.

    Ollie Ogbu

    Can Ollie Ogbu play nose tackle?

    Ogbu is listed as the Eagles number four under tackle, behind Jenkins, Cox and Thornton. If he can play nose tackle he would have a better shot at making the roster. He has to prove he can command double teams and be able to gain some penetration at the same time. Right now he is just another camp body at the under tackle spot.

    Frank Trotter

    Is Frank Trotter more than just another camp body?

    Every team has around 10 guys on their roster who are really just camp bodies. They are long shots to make the roster, but they will get their shot to impress other teams during preseason.

Weak Side Linebackers

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    Brian Rolle

    Does Brian Rolle solidify himself as the Eagles long term answer at weak side linebacker?

    Rolle played really well in 13 starts at the position last season. He was a physical player against the run and covered running backs really well. Another year like last season and he should be the long term answer.

    Jamar Chaney

    What will Jamar Chaney's role be this season?

    Chaney is a valuable asset to this team despite his struggles last season. He has started at middle and strong side linebacker and is being worked in as a weak side linebacker this summer. He can fill in at all three linebacker spots. He has also been working with the first team nickel defense. The coaches probably just want to prepare him in case one of the starters gets hurt or struggles in pass coverage. Chaney won't be a starter this season, but could earn a very valuable role off the bench.

    Keenan Clayton

    Clayton fell behind this summer during OTAs as he was still recovering from a sports hernia surgery. Clayton needs all the practice squad time he can get. He is outstanding in pass coverage but has been mediocre against the run. He could be a valuable backup because of his coverage skills, but has to be better against the run during preseason.

Middle Linebackers

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    DeMeco Ryans

    Will DeMeco Ryans be the player everyone expects him to be?

    Ryans was brought in to be a leader and a run stuffer. Linebacker was such a bad position last season for the Eagles. Ryans has been a Pro Bowl player when he has been healthy and in the 4-3 defense.

    In 2010, he tore his Achilles tendon. In 2011, he was still recovering from his injury, and the Houston Texans switches to the 3-4 defense. A healthy Ryans in the 4-3 defense should be exactly what the Eagles need at middle linebacker.

    Casey Matthews

    Can Matthews player better than last season if injury strikes Ryans?

    Matthews was way out of his element last season as he was thrown into the fire at middle linebacker. He never really stood a chance. Now in 2012, he is up to 250 pounds and is much more comfortable in the defense. We won't know how he will handle filling in for Ryans until we see it on the field. Hopefully, we won't have to answer this question.

    Ryan Rau

    Does Ryan Rau make the practice squad at the emergency middle linebacker?

    The Eagles kept two middle linebackers last season on their 53-man roster and kept a third, Greg Lloyd, on the practice squad. Lloyd is now with the Colts, and Rau will have a good shot at making the practice squad.

Strong-Side Linebacker

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    Mychal Kendricks

    Will the lack of height be an issue for Mychal Kendricks this season?

    Mychal Kendricks is 5'11" with a 39.5-inch vertical. They almost even themselves out. Most 6'2" linebackers can't reach more than 33 or 34 inches on their verticals. Still, there aren't too many linebackers under six feet tall who are covering the league's best tight ends.

    Akeem Jordan

    Do the Eagles keep Akeem Jordan once again as a backup strong-side linebacker?

    Jordan is a solid player to have on your roster. He is an excellent special teams player who plays the run effectively on defense. He isn't a starting-caliber player, but he has always done a good job filling in as a starter. There is no guarantee that the Eagles will keep on the roster with a player like Jamar Chaney who can play all three linebacker spots.

    Monte Simmons

    Does Monte Simmons prove he is more than just a camp body?

    Simmons is another one of these camp bodies who doesn't have much of a shot of making the roster. As a third-string linebacker he will get plenty of chances to impress during preseason games.


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    Nnamdi Asomugha

    Will Nnamdi get back to taking away half the field in press coverage?

    When Nnamdi Asomugha was with the Raiders, he took away half the field. The Raiders ran a press man coverage, and he stayed on his half of the field and consistently shut down his half of the field. The Eagles will run a similar coverage this season which should lead to another Pro Bowl season.

    Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

    Will Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie get back to his Pro Bowl form in a press coverage?

    Rodgers-Cromartie is a special player. He is a 6'2' cornerback with elite closing speed. Just when you think you have five yards of separation from him, he makes up for that distance while the ball is in the air. He also possess excellent ball skills. With plenty of help around him, he should get back to his Pro Bowl form.

    Joselio Hanson

    Will Joselio Hanson stay on the roster as a slot corner once again?

    Hanson is one of the better slot corners in the NFL. The problem for Hanson is that the Eagles plan on using Nnamdi Asomugha in the slot on critical third downs in the nickel, and the Eagles drafted the best slot corners in his class. Hanson will have his toughest competition yet and will have to be exceptional to keep his roster spot.

    Brandon Boykin

    Will Brandon Boykin be the No. 1 slot corner and kickoff returner by the start of the regular season?

    The smart money would be yes. He is the best slot corner and kickoff return man coming out of the draft. He is first on the depth chart on kickoffs and No. 2 among slot corners, behind Joselio Hanson. The way he's playing, he should be atop both positions by the time we reach September.

    Curtis Marsh

    Will Curtis Marsh take on a bigger role this season?

    Marsh has been playing on the outside with the first-team nickel defense while Asomugha plays in the slot. He is also the starting outside corner with the No. 2 defense. With Asante Samuel being shipped off to Atlanta, Marsh takes on a bigger role as the top reserve outside corner. 

    Brandon Hughes

    Does Brandon Hughes make the team for a second season?

    Hughes will face more competition at cornerback this season with Brandon Boykin, Curtis Marsh, Cliff Harris and Kevin Thomas all battling for a couple reserve corner roles. Hughes was OK last season. He didn't wow anybody, but he wasn't terrible either. That won't cut it this season.

    Kevin Thomas

    Can Kevin Thomas be an effective press corner?

    This is what the Eagles will be looking for with their outside corners. If you can't press your man right at the line of scrimmage, you don't make the team. I like Thomas' chances. He has good size, he just has to get the job done in game situations.

    Cliff Harris

    Can Cliff Harris cover NFL wideouts?

    Harris was a good corner and a great return man in college. He was suspended for the 2011 season due to off-the-field issues. Now, he's buried deep in the depth chart at both corner and on punt returns. I like his potential, but he has to prove he can stay with NFL-caliber wide receivers during preseason.

    Trevard Lindley

    What is Trevard Lindley's actual potential?

    Remember when Lindley was supposed to be the future starting corner for the Eagles? He was drafted in the fourth round in 2010 for just that reason but was cut last summer. Now, he is back with the team trying to get back on the roster. At this point, he's really just another camp body, but it's hard to rule out a player who was a mid-round draft pick so recently.

Free Safeties

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    Nate Allen

    Does Nate Allen take that next step this season?

    Allen had a rough start last season. His knee wasn't 100 percent in the first month of the season as he watched Jarrad Page and Kurt Coleman start in the first few weeks last season.

    Once he got settled in and got healthy, he was a completely different player. He isn't a highlight reel safety. He isn't a freak-like athlete, and he isn't a big hitter either. He is a solid coverage free safety who is a textbook tackler. He should start to get noticed a little more this season.

    O.J. Atogwe

    Does O.J. Atogwe have enough speed to make an impact this season?

    Atogwe isn't the same player he was a couple years ago. Knee injuries have robbed him of some of his speed. He isn't a starting-caliber player anymore. That doesn't mean he can't serve as a reliable backup or a third safety in certain packages. He just can't be relied on in single coverage.

    Phillip Thomas

    Does Phillip Thomas have enough speed to make it as a safety in the NFL?

    That was the biggest concern for Thomas heading into the draft, and that is why he went undrafted. If he can show enough speed, he will get his shot on this roster.

    Wade Bonner

    Is Wade Bonner more than just another camp body? This was a similar story to fellow Eagles like Andrew Brewer and Ryan Rau. Players like these have limited opportunities but will get their chances to shine. A lot of the times they aren't playing to make their current team's roster, they are playing to make another team's roster.

Strong Safeties

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    Kurt Coleman

    Does Kurt Coleman solidify his status as the Eagles' long-term solution at strong safety?

    Coleman was solid last season as the starting strong safety once Nate Allen came back. Coleman isn't the fastest or the biggest guy out there, but he is always around the ball. That is, by far, the most underrated aspect of a safety.

    Jaiquawn Jarrett

    Does Jaiquawn Jarrett start to show his potential in year two?

    Jarrett was hurt really more than any other Eagles last summer with the brief offseason. He struggled adjusting to the speed of the game and struggled to grasp the defense.

    He has been a physical player all throughout training camp. That is the player the Eagles drafted—a physically strong safety. Now, if he can improve his coverage skills, the Eagles may have something special.

    Tom Nelson

    Can Tom Nelson duplicate what Colt Anderson meant for the special teams?

    Colt Anderson is currently on the Physically Unable to Perform List (PUP). That means he might not be back until Week 6 at the latest. You can't replace what Anderson means for the special teams unit. Nelson was brought in late last season after Anderson tore his ACL. There is always room for a good backup safety who can be an ace on special teams.


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    Alex Henery

    Will Alex Henery continue to be one of the league's most clutch kickers?

    Henery had one of best rookie seasons a kicker has ever had. He made 24 out of 27 field goals last season and didn't miss a single field goal under 50 yards after Week 4. It's difficult to replace a legend, even at kicker, but Henery did just that, making Eagles fans forget about David Akers in just one season.

    Chas Henry

    Can Chas Henry beat out Mat McBriar?

    Henry had an up-and-down season last year as the Eagles' rookie punter. His numbers weren't spectacular, and his delivery was slow. Now, he has to compete with a two-time Pro Bowler.

    Mat McBriar

    Is Mat McBriar healthy enough to beat out Chas Henry?

    McBriar is a two-time Pro Bowler but was unsigned just a week ago for a reason. He has nerve damage on his plant foot. If he's healthy, he should be the better player, but he will have to prove to be the better punter. The Eagles aren't going to hand the punting job over to an injury-prone veteran who was just signed off the street.

    Jon Dorenbos

    WIll Jon Dorenbos continue to be the league's least-known elite player?

    The true test of how good a team's long snapper is how often his name is called on during a broadcast. Usually when the announcer is talking about the long snapper, it is due to a penalty or botched snap. Dorenbos has been a perfect long snapper for the Eagles for a long time. I don't see that changing anytime soon.