Philadelphia Eagles News

Who Emerges From Nowhere?

At this point, prior to free agency and trades, it is just guesswork to predict who lines up where on the team's depth chart. But why not? What else do we have to do?

There are a slew of players you probably have counted out here. That may not be the case for the following ...

VICTOR ABIAMIRI, Defensive End

Injuries have stifled the development of Victor Abiamiri to the point where you really wonder if the guy can ever stay healthy for an entire season. A former second-round draft pick, Abiamiri is not often part of the conversation when discussing the defensive ends on the roster.

Abiamiri is healthy now, but he he remain that way once the labor differences are resolved and teams report for practices? It would be a great boost for the Eagles if Abiamiri played up to his draft status. He is a big, strong end who can slide inside and provide some pass rush from the tackle position. There is a lot of competition here.

JAMAR ADAMS, Safety

The name Jamar Adams isn't brought up a whole lot in the safety conversation, but maybe it should be. Adams has spent much of his brief career on practice squads in Seattle and here, but then he was activated for the regular-season finale last season and made seven tackles and two passes defensed.

The Eagles took notice. Adams is a strong 212-pounder and he showed against Dallas that he can get to the football. With uncertainty in the secondary -- Nate Allen is coming off an injury, Quintin Mikell is due to be an unrestricted free agent -- Adams will have an opportunity to show his stuff to the coaching staff.

KEENAN CLAYTON, Linebacker

The Eagles went out in April and used three draft picks on linebackers. What does that mean for a young player like Keenan Clayton? Well, it means that Clayton has his work cut out for him to win a starting spot and, perhaps, even a roster spot.

Clayton played a hybrid role for the Eagles last year and it remains to be seen how the Eagles view his role now. It is possible that he will stay put at WILL linebacker, where the Eagles hope his athletic ability will allow Clayton to cover backs and receivers in the short-area passing range.

Clayton would have really benefited from remaining in Philadelphia for the team's strength and conditioning program. He needs a pound or three and more strength. Let's hope he has applied himself on his own this offseason.

CORNELIUS INGRAM, Tight End

Will Cornelius Ingram ever get back to where he was physically before two knee surgeries sidelined a promising football career? How much would Ingram have gained by staying with the Eagles' strength program and the athletic training staff these last several months? Players like Ingram are hurt the most by the work stoppage.

The picture at tight end is pretty clear: Brent Celek starts and Clay Harbor is the backup who is going to push for time with his great athletic ability. Behind those two, a job opportunity is open should the Eagles keep three tight ends. Ingram and John Nalbone are the two options right now.

GERARD LAWSON, DEFENSIVE BACK/KICK RETURNER

I don't know much about Gerard Lawson as a cornerback, but he showed a little bit of spark late in the season as a kickoff return man. Is he the return man the Eagles would like to develop for 2011 with the new rules that seemingly de-value the kickoff return game?

Lawson got his shot last year and averaged 24 yards on kickoff returns against Dallas and then only 18.3 yards on three returns against Green Bay. But there was a burst in his game. If he can show that in the summer, Lawson has a chance to stick.

BRODRICK BUNKLEY, DT

Is Brodrick Bunkley one of the players most likely to blossom with new line coach Jim Washburn here? The Eagles think so. The Bunkley they drafted in 2006 was an up-the-field beast at Florida State who hasn't been as successful in a read-and-react scheme here.

That scheme is gone. The Eagles are expecting their linemen to pin back their ears and go. And that style should benefit Bunkley, who is going to have a great challenge from Antonio Dixon for the starting role next to Mike Patterson.

KING DUNLAP, OT

No doubt that King Dunlap proved last year that he can play and play well at this level. He filled in at both left tackle and right tackle in 2010 and more than held his own. What is next? Is Dunlap a career backup or a player ready to become a full-time player?

I think he is going to challenge for the right tackle job. He and Winston Justice will go head to head in front of new line coach Howard Mudd for the position that is so vital to the success of the Eagles' offense.

Dunlap's reach, the strength of his punch and his athletic feet are impressive. Dunlap has a chance to be a real factor in the big picture of the offensive line.

MARLIN JACKSON, DB

On the surface, yeah, this is absurd. Jackson's career, once so outstanding in Indianapolis, has been completely taken off the tracks by injuries. He is absolutely damaged goods. But Jackson also is a rare player who can line up at both cornerback and safety and, thus, he is going to have a chance to win a job in the Eagles' secondary.

Jackson was healthy by the time he left the NovaCare Complex early in the offseason. He is going to be on the field, competing, when the team reports for practice. Keep your fingers crossed that a talented player can stay healthy enough to make a legitimate bid here.

JORRICK CALVIN, KR

His hard-charging return game took a blow when a back injury sent him to Injured Reserve, but Jorrick Calvin will be in the mix for 2011. Calvin averaged 21.6 yards on kickoff returns and more than 10 yards on punt returns last year. Those aren't bad numbers for a rookie, and if the scheme is executed correctly this year the numbers should improve.

Do the Eagles want DeSean Jackson to remain on punt returns? I don't know the answer to that question. But Calvin provided a good alternative early in the 2010 season, something to think about for 2011.

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