In our ongoing effort to get you to familiarize yourselves with the key players who will be counted upon to make an impact this season, we take a look today at defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley. The team's first-round pick in 2006 (No. 14 overall), Bunkley was a Pro Bowl alternate in 2009 after he finished tied for first on the team with six tackles-for-loss. The 6-2, 306-pound Bunkley had 58 tackles, four pass knockdowns, a sack and a fumble recovery last season.
1. After a rookie season in which he played in 15 games, but didn't make the impact that many expected - especially with the problems that the run defense had in 2006 - Bunkley has been reluctant to give media interviews. Instead, he's done his talking on the field. Since Bunkley has been a full-time starter (2007), the Eagles rush defense ranks fifth in the NFL allowing just 97.6 yards per game and 3.7 yards per rush. Between 1999-2006, the Eagles ranked 24th in rushing defense.
2. Bunkley was a teammate of new Eagles linebacker Ernie Sims at Florida State. Sims was selected just five spots before Bunkley in the 2006 NFL Draft. The two helped the Seminoles win a pair of ACC Championships. In fact, in 2001, Sims' high school - North Florida Christian in Tallahassee - won its fourth straight Florida state title for its size classification. That same year, Bunkley helped his high school - Chamberlain in Tampa - reach the Florida state finals for its size classification.
3. If you go around the Eagles locker room and ask, 'Who is the strongest player on the team,' the answer is virtually unanimous - Bunkley. Known as one of the strongest players in the entire NFL, Bunkley bench pressed 225 pounds 44 times at the 2006 NFL Combine. That is one of the top performances in the history of the Combine. Said Bunkley, "When I do my training, I really try to mentally focus on what I'm doing rather than just go through the motions. I read somewhere that you're supposed to do that and I had actually been doing it for as long as I can remember. It's been very effective. I try to see and feel every muscle fiber working throughout each rep. If I'm doing the bench press, I try to feel my chest and arm muscles pushing the bar away."
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 3:15 p.m., July 2