Philadelphia Eagles News

The Position Battles To Watch Tonight

Think there's nothing interesting about the fourth preseason game? You're wrong. This is the final chance for the second- and third-team players to impress the coaches and win a spot on the final 53-man roster. As you watch tonight's preseason finale with the Jets (7 PM, 6abc/ETN), here are some of the positions to keep an eye on ...

Wide Receiver

Rookie sixth-round draft pick Brandon Gibson has impressed the last two games with a touchdown against the Colts and an amazing sideline grab vs. the Jaguars. Reggie Brown has stepped up his game in the preseason after an injury-plagued 2008 which eventually resulted in him being benched for the NFC title game. Hank Baskett is the tallest receiver on the roster (6-4) and was the Special Teams MVP in 2007. The Eagles have a surplus at wide receiver and it is likely a starting-caliber wideout could be left off the final 53-man roster. That's why reports have surfaced that the Jets, of all teams, have been looking at Brown and Baskett. Well, the Jets will have a front-row seat to watch them in action on Thursday.

Defensive End

Jason Babin was a street free agent pickup who has looked like a find for the Eagles. Never comfortable in a 3-4 scheme as an outside linebacker, it's obvious that in a rotational setting with his hand down is the best fit for Babin. Chris Clemons was absolutely amazing in training camp, even though he's been relatively quiet in the preseason. Bryan Smith notched his first-ever (at any level) interception last week. The third-round pick from last season seems to show up on tape in the preseason. Last year, in the preseason finale, he notched double-digit tackles. This is another spot that could be a tough call for the coaches.

Running Back

After Brian Westbrook and LeSean McCoy, it's either Lorenzo Booker or Eldra Buckley. Buckley has played with the second-team in the recent preseason games and special teams coordinator Ted Daisher praised his work on special teams. Booker is more of a fit for this offense because of his speed and ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.

Linebacker

Chris Gocong and Akeem Jordan are set as the starters at outside linebacker. Joe Mays and Omar Gaither are battling it out for the middle linebacker spot. Moise Fokou, a seventh-round pick, has been extremely impressive. Tracy White is a noted special teams player, but made a signature play on defense earlier in the preseason with an interception. Matt Wilhelm has progressed nicely since being added during training camp. It will be tough for the Eagles to keep all seven here. What will the Eagles look for ... Who can impress now on special teams? or Who has the biggest upside on defense?

-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 2:12 p.m., September 3

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