Saturday, December 27, 2014

Eagles camp: Winners and losers

Who were the winners and losers at Eagles training camp the last three weeks? Here is my list.

Eagles camp: Winners and losers

Stewart Bradley, who missed last season with an ACL injury, is one of Sheil Kapadia´s training camp winners. (David Maialetti / Staff Photographer)
Stewart Bradley, who missed last season with an ACL injury, is one of Sheil Kapadia's training camp winners. (David Maialetti / Staff Photographer)

At around 9:30 a.m. this morning, Eagles players ran off the practice field, ending their time at Lehigh for the summer of 2010.

DeSean Jackson led the way, flashing a peace sign at cameras, and saying "Bye-bye Lehigh. See ya, wouldn't wanna be ya."

"I'm going, going, back, back to Philly, Philly," rapped Max Jean-Gilles.

And that was that.

More coverage
 
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Before jumping on the Northeast Extension myself, let's go over some camp winners and losers from the last three-plus weeks.

WINNERS

Stewart Bradley - No one was sure what we'd see from him after Bradley missed all of last year with a torn ACL. Would the team temper its expectations? Would the Eagles ease him in? Not really. During Sean McDermott's first press conference here, he talked about the difference Bradley would make, and how he'd be the quarterback and leader of the defense. On the field, Bradley looked great and appears to be a huge upgrade over the six players who rotated in and out of the middle linebacker position last year.

Ellis Hobbs - I criticized him last year and thought the Eagles were making a mistake entering camp with him as their starting right cornerback. I'm not ready to back off that stance, but I have a new-found respect for the way Hobbs takes each rep seriously and works to improve every time he puts a helmet on. Hobbs received pretty much no competition for the starting job and will be the right cornerback in Week 1. If he fails, it won't be because of lack of effort or preparation.

Brandon Graham - From his first practice, Graham made the Eagles look smart for trading up in the first round to acquire him. He's established himself as the left defensive end on the first-team nickel and just recently began to see reps inside. His role should increase as the season goes on, and look for Graham to become a fan favorite in his first season in Philly.

Riley Cooper - I didn't think he would be able to overtake Hank Baskett for the No. 4 wide receiver position, and I was wrong. With players going down left and right, I don't think Cooper missed a practice from the first day the rookies reported. He set the tone early, getting in a fight with Hobbs and showing his teammates he wasn't backing down from anyone. Cooper caught everything in sight and figures to provide a physical presence the Eagles do not have in this receiving corps.

Nate Allen - The free safety position was his to lose coming in, and that didn't happen. Allen impressed teammates with his nose for the ball and his ability to learn McDermott's defense. He still has to prove himself in games, but Allen's off to a good start.

Kurt Coleman - He was behind the other rookies since NCAA rules prevented Coleman from attending all the OTAs in the spring. But he showed right away that he's physical and worthy of a roster spot, despite being picked in the seventh round.

Clay Harbor - Marty Mornhinweg said yesterday that Harbor still has a long way to go, but he firmly established himself as the second-best tight end on the roster. The coaches love his work ethic, and Harbor has the size and strength to improve as a blocker.

Austin Howard - He was a no-name coming in, but now appears like a sure bet to make the roster as a backup tackle. Andy Reid said today that Howard probably went undrafted last season because of injuries, not because he lacked ability.

Trevor Laws - The Eagles need him to make a leap this season after getting little production from Laws in his first two seasons. He's had a good (not great) camp and looks like he'll stick on the roster.

LOSERS

Nick Cole - He began camp as the starting center, but struggled with the snap before going down with an injury. Cole hasn't practiced in a couple weeks, and with each day that passes, it seems more and more likely that he will lose the job to Mike McGlynn.

Moise Fokou - He ended last season and began camp as the starting SAM linebacker. Now, Fokou's role is unclear. Akeem Jordan has taken over the starting position, and Fokou has been practicing with the second team. He's also seen time at defensive end. Fokou should still make the roster, but his role figures to be far less prominent than I expected a few weeks ago.

Macho Harris - Like Fokou, he ended last season as a starter. At the time, he was at free safety, but the team decided to give him a shot at cornerback in the offseason. Harris struggled with injuries here and never really got a chance to prove himself. Will the Eagles move him back to safety? Is he the fourth cornerback? Harris' role is unclear going forward.

Mike Bell - Through really no fault of his own, Bell had a tough camp and couldn't stay healthy. He was visibly frustrated at times, and we really know nothing more about Bell now than we did a few weeks ago. That is concerning, considering how thin the Eagles are at running back behind LeSean McCoy.

Cornelius Ingram - It's tough to not be pulling for Ingram, given what he's been through the past couple seasons, but he just did not stand out during camp. The more I think about it, the less likely it seems that Ingram is going to make the opening 53-man roster.

Darryl Tapp - The Eagles acuired him in the offseason from Seattle, but Tapp has not been much of a factor in McDermott's defensive line rotation, serving primarily as Trent Cole's backup at right defensive end. The only problem there is that Cole never comes out of the game. I think Tapp still makes the roster, but like the others in this category, I'm not sure what his role is going to be.

Hank Baskett - Another guy who battled through injuries here (noticing a theme?). Baskett entered camp as the favorite to win the No. 4 wide receiver position. That's not happening. Now he has to hold off guys like Kelley Washington and Chad Hall just to make the roster.


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Sheil Kapadia Philly.com
About this blog
Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for philly.com. His earliest memories as a sports fan include several trips to Veterans Stadium with his Dad. He's not a beat writer or an Insider, but is here to discuss the NFL 365 days a year. E-mail him at skapadia@philly.com or by clicking here

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