First in a series looking at how the guys the Eagles drafted affect the depth chart at each position.
- Asante Samuel -- Clearly the number one guy here, and paid like it. With 4 interceptions during the season and 2 more when it counted most in the playoffs, he's going to be a starter for awhile.
Sheldon Brown -- Until proven otherwise, his name is #2 on this list. However, he's going to drop fast if he decides not to show up to camp, which is looking more and more like a possibility. The Eagles really have all the leverage though, with plenty of depth, arguably more than last year. There aren't going to be many teams banging down the door for his 30 year-old services, especially after the draft. He knows what happened to Lito when he dogged it, so here's hoping he realizes his position and plays it out.
Ellis Hobbs -- Starter in all but name right now, and any more brouhaha from Sheldon and he jumps right into the number two spot -- reuniting the former Patriots DBs. Only 26 years old so might be a candidate for a long term contract if he plays well (his runs out at the end of the year, but an uncapped 2010 makes him another restricted free agent). He's been solid if not spectacular with the Patriots and is about the same build as the next guy, Joselio (plus maybe 10 pounds). Would be strange for the Eagles to send two beloved 5th rounders for him for just a year rental. In any case, his arrival is clearly a shot across the bow for Sheldon. Should also see action in as kickoff returner, where he was #1 in the AFC last year.
Joselio Hanson -- The Eagles obviously like Hanson, better than many fans do perhaps. He's been a solid nickel guy and has filled in admirably when Lito and others have gotten hurt over the last three years, despite not having ideal height (5'9"). I find it rather interesting that the Eagles paid him a nice 5-year, $15 million contract when they've been so willing to let other nickel backs like Rod Hood and Al Harris go, but maybe the fact that he can be an established 3rd or 4th guy without complaint is an added benefit these days. I bet neither he nor the Eagles expect him to be a starter in the next few years.
Jack Ikegwuonu -- The 4th round pick last year never got on the field, as expected, after blowing out his knee preparing for the NFL Combine. He was projected higher going in, and the Eagles had little to lose drafting him. He's had a year to rehab and some time to learn the playbook so he could be a pleasant surprise this year. However, the 5'10" Wisconsin product has had off-the-field problems so it is unlikely that the Eagles will be counting on him as anything higher than a 5th or maybe 4th best corner. Still, he'll get the first chance to show what he can do as the Eagles evaluate what they have on their hands.
- Victor "Macho" Harris -- Our second 5th round pick is (in theory/on the interwebs) the tallest guy on this list at 5'11" and thrived at a hybrid safety-cornerback position at Va Tech. Seems like a natural playmaker - had 15 interceptions, 4 returned for TDs - and a nickname to go along with it. While many guys like himself (see: productive corner with mediocre 40 time) have been labeled possible safeties in the NFL, his play in a zone and lining up way off of receivers may make him uniquely suited for a switch. It also may help him to get on the roster, as the Eagles are unlikely to keep 6 pure corners (moot if Sheldon gets moved). But he will undoubtably compete with pseudo-rookie Ikegwuonu for playing time. Finally, he has some experience returning punts and kicks, so will probably get some looks on special teams
Trae Williams -- Practice squader last year after being drafted in the 5th and released by the Jags. Unlikely to make the final roster unless there are injuries.
- Dimitri Patterson -- Free agent signee after playing 7 games for the Chiefs last year, mostly on special teams. Likely to compete with Trae for award of "guy Spadaro likes the most who has no shot of making the team."
What do you think?