Philadelphia Eagles News

Which Newcomer Can Make An Impact In 2011?

Not every player on the roster is going to be acquired in the draft, through a trade or even during unrestricted free agency. Teams are busy tweaking the roster throughout the calendar year and some of these additions are made immediately after the season is over. Players who were not on an NFL roster at the end of a season or not re-signed as a practice squad player could prove to be a valued addition for a team willing to take a chance.

In recent years, the Eagles have been able to get contributions from such players. Cornerback Dimitri Patterson was signed by the Eagles during the run to the NFC Championship Game in 2008, but wasn't expected to make any sort of difference until the following season. Well, over the past two seasons Patterson has played in 27 games (nine starts) and made 69 tackles, 17 special teams tackles and this past season registered a career-high four interceptions.

Chad Hall was signed last March by the Eagles after he fulfilled a two-year service commitment to the Air Force. A versatile offensive weapon, Hall received touches as a running back, wide receiver, kickoff returner and punt returner last season. Running back Eldra Buckley was claimed off waivers from the Chargers in 2009 and has played in every game over the past two seasons accumulating 36 carries for 111 yards and a touchdown while primarily making his living on special teams.

The Eagles have added five players to the roster since the end of last season who were not on the team's roster in any capacity last year. Let's look at those five players and see who might have a chance to make their mark with the Eagles when the games count next season.

DE Phillip Hunt - Signed after two successful seasons in the Canadian Football League, Hunt was the CFL's league leader in sacks with 16 in 2010. The 6-0, 248-pound Hunt is the type of speed rusher who could succeed in new defensive line coach Jim Washburn's system. Hunt played with quarterback Kevin Kolb at Houston and in his four seasons with the Cougars he finished as the school's all-time leader with 34 sacks. Hunt was the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year as a senior after leading the league in sacks with 14.0 and tackles for loss with 18.5.

LB Rashad Jeanty - Declared by special teams coordinator Bobby April as the best special teams player on the free agent market last year, Jeanty missed the entire 2010 campaign as he recovered from a broken leg suffered in his last game with the Bengals - the AFC Wild Card loss to the Jets at the end of the '09 season. Jeanty has played in 53 career games with 32 starts at strongside linebacker. He has 204 career tackles on defense and an additional 44 on special teams. Jeanty had 29 special teams tackles in his last two seasons (2008-09).

WR Sinorice Moss - A former second round pick of the Giants in 2006, the Eagles are certainly familiar with the speedy Moss who played his next-to-last game against Philadelphia back in 2009. A sports hernia kept him out of football in 2010, but if he is healthy Moss can also make an impact as a kickoff return specialist. Moss has 39 career catches for 421 yards and three touchdowns. In fact, his only catch of the 2009 campaign was an 18-yard score. His best season came in the Super Bowl year of 2007 when Moss had 21 catches for 225 yards.

TE John Nalbone - Nalbone played his college football at nearby Monmouth (N.J.) and after earning all-conference honors as a senior he was a fifth-round pick of the Dolphins in 2009. He played in two games for Miami last season prior to being released. He spent two weeks on the Minnesota practice squad (where the Eagles picked up special teams ace Colt Anderson) before finishing the year on Denver's practice squad. An athletic, pass-catching tight end, Nalbone had 101 catches for 1,079 yards and nine touchdowns during his college career.

CB Isaiah Trufant - Claimed off waivers from the New York Jets following the 2010 season, the Eagles acquired the United Football League's Defensive Player of the Year after Trufant led the league with four interceptions. Following the UFL season, Trufant was signed to the Jets practice squad and eventually was promoted to the active roster. Trufant played in the regular season finale against the Bills and the divisional round win over the Patriots before being released. The 5-8, 170-pound Trufant had 11 career interceptions at Eastern Washington. As a senior in college, Trufant played in just six games but still earned first-team all-conference honors.

-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 4:00 p.m., March 5

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