Who are the Eagles' 'blue-chip' players?

Is Eagles tight end Brent Celek a blue-chip player? ( Ron Cortes / Staff Photographer )

Several links to get to today.

Let's start with a column by Michael Lombardi on NFL.com. Lombardi breaks down every NFC roster, identifying blue-chip players (those among the top 10 at their position) and red-chip players (those among the top 15). Lombardi gives the Eagles three blue-chippers: DeSean Jackson, Trent Cole and Leonard Weaver.

He gives the Birds four red-chip players: Brent Celek, Jason Peters, Asante Samuel and Winston Justice.

The three blue-chippers do not surprise me. I broke down the numbers last month, and I have a hard time believing there are 10 tight ends better than Celek. I'd be pretty surprised if Lombardi doesn't give Celek the blue-chip nod next season.

Samuel certainly has his flaws, but the guy has 19 interceptions over the last three seasons. I'd have to take a look at which 10 guys Lombardi would take over him.

How about both tackles making the red-chip list? Writes Lombardi:

Justice played well last year and surely will surprise everyone by being on this list, but he is deserving of a spot. However, Peters, a perennial Pro Bowler, barely made it. He improved late in the season, but was far from being the dominating tackle the Eagles need.

To be clear, Lombardi does offensive tackle as the criteria. He doesn't break it down to left tackle and right tackle. That's some pretty high praise for Justice.

Is Lombardi missing anyone on the Eagles' roster? I think you could certainly make a case for Jamaal Jackson if he's healthy. And David Akers too, although it doesn't appear the list includes kickers. The Eagles are certainly hoping Stewart Bradley will be considered a red-chipper at least this time next season.

Other links:

* Adrian Hasenmayer of FoxSports.com is out with his pre-camp power rankings. Hasemayer has the Eagles at No. 13:

You may think they are rebuilding, but talk to anyone associated to the team and 100% will respond with how much they all believe in their new young QB Kevin Kolb. Many thought he was ready for full-time action last season, and some whisper that he could be a better fit in Andy Reid’s offense than Donovan McNabb himself. Words are great and all, but the true reveal begins at camp.

* J.J. Halsell of Football Outsiders takes a look at NFC East salaries. Per Halsell, the Eagles have the third-lowest team salary in the division for 2010. Here are the numbers:

1. Redskins ($189,475,961)
2. Cowboys ($154,087,871)
3. Eagles ($127,444,934)
4. Giants ($124,657,048)

* The Eagles put in a claim for guard Paul Fanaika, according to Adam Caplan of FoxSports.com, but the Browns ended up with him. Fanaika was a seventh-round pick by the Birds in 2009.

* Pretty much every story about the NFL's top storylines enter training camp includes an item on the Eagles and Kevin Kolb. Vic Carucci's piece on NFL.com is no exception. He has Life without McNabb as the league's second-biggest storyline:

It will be a strange feeling at the Philadelphia Eagles' camp. Of course, there will be a noticeable void now that Donovan McNabb is a Washington Redskin. Also, the transition to new starter Kevin Kolb will likely take some time before it begins to make the Eagles' decision-makers look smart for parting ways with the greatest quarterback in team history. Every practice will be closely scrutinized by the ultra-critical Philly fans and media.

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