Next up in our Nuggets series, where we give you three tidbits about some of the players expected to make significant contributions in 2009, is safety Quintin Mikell, who notched his first Pro Bowl appearance last season. Mikell, 29, is one of the leaders of the Eagles defense and will be looking for his third consecutive season with over 100 tackles (he had 169 in 2008, 122 in 2009). And, for the second year in a row, Mikell will likely be partnering with a rookie safety as second-round pick Nate Allen is expected to start alongside Mikell.
- Mikell joined the Eagles as a rookie free agent following the 2003 draft and made his mark early on as a standout on special teams. Mikell says he never forgot the feeling of going undrafted, and he uses it as a motivational tactic to this day. "It's a feeling that never goes away," Mikell said. "Every team passed on me. I'm grateful that the Eagles gave me a chance, but I always feel that there's something every team didn't like about me and I'm out to prove every day that I am the player they didn't think I'd become."
- After excelling on special teams for years (he was named special teams MVP in 2005 and 2006), Mikell eventually rose up to grab a starting role on defense alongside Brian Dawkins before Dawkins left for Denver and Mikell became the elder statesman on defense. In fact, Mikell has played more games for the Eagles than everyone on the current roster aside from David Akers, with 108.
- Mikell's career hasn't just been a benchmark for the Eagles, he's also been one of the most prolific professionals in Boise State football history. If he plays in 15 games this season, Mikell will surpass John Rade and trail only Kimo von Oelhoffen (198) and Dave Wilcox (153) in games started in the NFL among Boise State products.
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 8:23 p.m., July 19