Kurt Coleman need look no further for a career blueprint than the man he's backing up.
Quintin Mikell was undrafted out of college. Coleman was a late seventh-round pick, the last of the Eagles' 13 selections in this year's draft. Mikell fought his way onto the team by opening eyes in the preseason and spent his first four years as an Eagle as a special teams ace. Coleman will also have to impress on special teams to make his way onto the 53-man roster. Eventually, Mikell worked his way up to the starting strong safety and became a Pro Bowl player. What the future holds for Coleman remains to be seen, of course, but the 5-foot-11, 195-pound rookie from Ohio State knows what he needs to do.
"I think the team puts a high emphasis on special teams and so do I," Coleman said. "I think that's really how you make your mark coming in as a rookie. Your first couple years in the league, you have to be able to play special teams and be good at it, so I'll just continue to go out there and continue to do what the coaches tell me to do.
"Right now I'm just biding my time, doing what the team needs me to do as far as special teams and second team and I'm enjoying my time out here. I'm learning a lot from Quintin Mikell, Quintin Demps and the other safeties so I just have to continue to work hard and everything will work in its place."
Coleman said he's been working exclusively as the second-team strong safety of late, where he backs up Mikell.
"I love strong (safety)," Coleman said. "They allow us to make a lot of plays close to the line of scrimmage and cover and I feel like I'm a cover safety, so it's very fun and it's nothing new to me. I'm enjoying my time out there."
Coleman said he's been picking the brains of Mikell, Demps and his position coaches non-stop in order to pick up the defense. And for a guy who had to miss all of the Organized Team Activities in the spring because of Ohio State's late graduation date, Coleman's grasp of the scheme is pretty advanced.
"It's second nature to me now," Coleman said. "We keep installing more and more plays, which you have to review during the install, but as far as what we've put in so far, I feel very natural and comfortable out there."
Coleman is also comfortable playing special teams - he lauded the techniques of special teams coordinator Bobby April -- but he won't be able to prove himself there until the lights go on for the preseason. And that's why Coleman is counting the days until Friday night at Lincoln Financial Field when Coleman and his teammates can finally go up against some new competition.
"I'm very excited," Coleman said. "I'm going to have to be able to control my emotions when I'm out there because it's going to be very electric, especially with the crowd judging from what I experienced from Flight Night! So it's going to be an exciting time for me and I'm going to go out there and showcase my skills."
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 4:36 p.m., August 8