They came in among the least-ballyhooed of the Eagles' draft picks. But sixth-round pick Brandon Gibson and seventh-round pick Moise Fokou have certainly made strong cases to make Philadelphia's 53-man roster, which will be set this weekend.
The 6-1, 210-pound Gibson, who finished his four-year career at Washington State as the school's all-time leading receiver, has made the most of his opportunities both in practice and in the preseason. He benefited from the nine-day holdout of top pick Jeremy Maclin in training camp and carried that over into the games.
Against the Patriots, he caught a 6-yard pass from Donovan McNabb. A week later in Indy, he made a terrific play on a 21-yard touchdown pass from Adam DiMichele. In the win over the Jags, Gibson demonstrated some nice footwork on a 6-yard pass from Kevin Kolb on a third-and-3 play from the Jags' 23. Three plays later, David Akers drilled the game-winning field goal.
"I think I showed I'm able to make plays and go out there and can be a good receiver in this system," Gibson said. "All I can really do is just control what I do when the ball's in the air, and that's make plays."
Gibson has good hands, decent size and strength and a ton of upside. All told, Gibson has racked up 78 yards on 8 catches in the preseason.
"He's been impressive in many things," offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said.
No question Gibson is pushing for a roster spot, battling veterans Hank Baskett and Reggie Brown. All three players figure to see significant playing time in Thursday's preseason finale.
Gibson refuses to dwell on what may and may not happen.
"I don't even really think about it," Gibson said. "The only thing I can control is the things I do when I get in, so I'm just going to try to be assignment sound and do everything correct. The rest I think will just take care of itself."
Fokou, meanwhile, earned some reps as the first-team middle linebacker Thursday night against Jacksonville. The 230th selection overall, Fokou had been working as the backup at strongside linebacker. But the coaches decided to give him a look.
"He's around the football during games," defensive coordinator Sean McDermott said. "I think if you looked at linebackers over the years, you want those natural instincts. As you watch games, you see No. 53 around the football quite a bit."
Fokou, who never played middle linebacker in college at Maryland, acknowledged that it was quite an adjustment and said the coaches simplified the scheme for him against the Jaguars.
"It's a hard position to learn in just one week," Fokou said. "It was different for me."
The 6-1, 233-pound Fokou, who led the Eagles defense with six tackles against the Jaguars, said he was rattled at first but then settled in as he worked in the middle.
"It makes you feel the more you can do the better," Fokou said of his one-game experience in the middle. "It make me feel a little versatile."
A former walk-on at Maryland, Fokou earned All-ACC honors as a senior in 2008, when he was the only player in the conference to finish with at least 75 tackles (77) and at least five sacks (5.0).
"The thing is, you just have to be confident in yourself. That's one thing I think they see in me," he said. "I'm just here to make this football team and help this football team win."
-- By Bob Kent, 11:37 a.m., Sept. 1