Eagles Wake-Up Call: Ranking Them By Position

Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Trent ColeSo how are the Eagles looking coming out of training camp? What will they hang there hat on, and where will they be exposed? After three weeks of watching the 2012 Eagles, here is a quick ranking of the positions, from strongest to weakest:

Defensive line:  The Eagles look to be blessed with talent here. From Trent Cole to Fletcher Cox, Cullen Jenkins to the fast-rising Phillip Hunt, they are stacked with men who can track down the quarterback. Should be one of the top units in the league.

Wide receivers: DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin should play to their pedigree this season, and Damaris Johnson looks like he’ll  add an explosive element to the offense as well. Add in Riley Cooper and the always-reliable Jason Avant, and you have a solid corps.

Running backs: When you have LeSean McCoy, how far can you put running backs down on this list? Dion Lewis has come on stronger than expected in camp, and both rookies have the potential to make an impact.

Linebackers: That’s right, linebackers. The addition of DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks totally changes the way that this group is looked at. Suddenly, starters are quality reserves, creating depth. Lots to prove, but I feel pretty comfortable with the ‘backers for the first time in a long time.

Corners: Nnamdi Asomugha has not lived up to the billing yet, but logic suggests he’ll take a step forward now that he is settled in. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is in a contract year and already has a Pro Bowl under his belt. There are question marks in terms of depth, but Brandon Boykin looks like a good pick and can help in that regard.

Quarterbacks: Concerns about Michael Vick’s backup are justified but potentially a little overstated. Mike Kafka didn’t look good against Pittsburgh, but does that game define him? And you have to be happy what you’ve seen out of Nick Foles so far. A little troubling, but not necessarily a disaster.

Tight end: Not sold on Clay Harbor as a No. 2 option, and worried about Brent Celek’s health.

Offensive line: The left tackle position is a flat concern. King Dunlap holding down the second most important position in football is not how the Eagles drew it up. Otherwise the starters are fine, but who is behind them?

Safeties: Nate Allen is the surest thing here. Beyond him, it’s real murky. Is Kurt Coleman really a starter? Does O.J. Atogwe have anything left? Can Jaiquawn Jarrett play at this level? This will be a much-talked about position all season.


WHAT YOU MISSED

The McManus-Kapadia showdown continues with the second round of 53-man projections. This time, I am up first (and totally nail it.)

Sheil hands out his three winners and losers from training camp. His love for Johnson is spinning wildly out of control.

Vick praised Jackson for his approach to training camp before the team broke from Lehigh. One teammate says that the receiver is different towards him now.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

The Cowboys got a scare when it was learned that standout defensive end Jason Witten suffered an injured spleen following a big hit by Raiders linebacker Rolando McClain Monday. He will sit out the remainder of the preseason and his availability for the opener is in doubt.

According to the most recent report, Witten will not need surgery.

The latest round of tests have confirmed that while blood did spill into Witten’s abdomen after the hit he the took in the preseason opener, the spleen was not ruptured. Spleen injuries are rated on a scale of 1 to 5, and Witten’s injury does not rank at the high end of the scale.

Fox Sports did a list of 10 predictions that will have an impact on the upcoming fantasy football season. One of them was about Vick.

Vick’s legs will be unleashed, vaulting his fantasy merit through the roof. Make no mistake, the jeopardy is very much present, but he also has a mind-blowing volume of upside.

COMING UP

Training camp has shifted to NovaCare. Andy Reid addressed the media at 10:45. Tra Thomas, who will retire as an Eagle, will talk at 11. Practice is at 2:10.

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  • Drew

    Witten = Tight End…

  • Mike

    Actually RT and Herremans would be the 2nd most important position on the Eagles because Vick is lefty – if you believe Michael Lewis and Sandra Bullock. LT is still a concern – just not as monumental.

  • http://twitter.com/pjcostello Paul Costello

    Left tackle is not the “second-most important position in football” when your QB is left-handed. The LT is not protecting the QB’s blindside, the RT is… Having a quality starter there is a concern for the Eagles, but let’s not use too much hyperbole in overstating the issue. Heck, with Peters there last year the Eagles even ran the ball more often, and more successfully, to the right side than the left side.

  • JTR

    Paul and Mike: Have to disagree with you there. A lefty QB makes the RT more important than normal, but LT is still more important than RT for one simple reason: LT’s are always going up against the opposing team’s best pass rusher.

  • Peat

    JTR hit the nail on the head, opposing teams will not flop their DEs. Since the vast majority of QBs are rights handed, the opposing team’s better best pass rushing DE will be on the offenses left facing off against the LT.